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Chernobyl nuclear disaster

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Chernobyl-4 and the Memorial 2009-001.jpg

In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, creating what has been described as the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. This explosion caused radiation and chemicals to spread throughout the Ukraine, Sweden, Italy and some of Russia affecting the humans, animals, and even plants that lived there and causing sickness like cancer and leukemia and mutations that go as far as to give animals two heads and people extra limbs. A large amount of fire released radioactive contamination into the atmosphere and spread across Russia and Europe. Between 1986 and 2004, 985,000 people were killed as a result of radioactive contamination and the ones who survived after the explosion were evacuated. The animals slowly left after the disaster and a few years late began slowly coming back and trying to repopulate but it was extremely difficult to. Thirty-two people died and dozens more suffered radiation burns in the opening days of the crisis. To this day the radiation and chemical left over from the explosion remain deadly in some areas.

The Explosion

Chernobyl power plant control room

This disaster was a accident that affected hundreds and the only recorded accident in the history of commercial nuclear power where radiation-related fatalities occurred. On April 25th before a routine shutdown of the site the reactor staff at Chernobyl 4 started preparing for a test to determine how long turbines would spin and supply power to the main circulating pumps after the loss of the main power source and this same test was ran the year before but the power from the turbines fell to low and new voltage regulator designs needed to be made were to be retested on this day. On April 26th the tests proceeded and they disabled the automatic shutdown mechanisms but by that time when the worker went to shut down the reactor it was in extremely unstable condition something unusual in the design of the control rods caused a dramatic power surge as they were inserted into the reactor. The mixing of very hot fuel with the cooling water led to fuel fragmentation along with mild steam production and an increase in pressure. The design characteristics of the reactor were so bad that even a little damage to even three or four fuel assemblies led in the explosion of the reactor. About two to three seconds after the first explosion a second explosion threw out fragments from the fuel channels and hot graphite.[1]There is some disagreement between experts about the situation of this second explosion but it is likely to have been caused by the production of hydrogen from zirconium-steam reactions. The graphite and fuel became heated and started to spark and started a number of fires, and burned uncontrolled for two weeks spreading deadly, long-lived radioactive isotopes.[2]About 200-300 tons of water per hour was dumped into the intact half of the reactor using the auxiliary feedwater pumps but this was stopped after half a day knowing to the danger of it flowing into units 1 and 2. From the second to tenth day after the accident, some 5000 ton of boron, dolomite, sand, clay and lead were dropped on to the center by helicopter in an effort to extinguish the blaze and limit the release of radioactive particles.

Harm to People and Animals

Chernobyl radiation affected catfish compared to nonaffected catfish

This disaster caused many mutations and health issues for both people and animals, some short term and some long term, and affected more than one generation in some cases. This was all caused by the radiation and the chemicals released into the air after the explosion. The contamination spread all the way to Italy and Sweden and Italy actually took so many precautions as to ban certain foods for a certain amount of time to keep the contamination out. Since the contamination was far reaching, the damage was not spaced out evenly among the surrounding areas so some areas got it worse the others and it caused many people to suffer people began going to the hospital for a variety of issues as small as respiratory problems all the way to cancer There were also many patients who were treated for leukemia and even children suffering from deformities. Much of the contamination was dealt to Belarus and it was an estimated sixty percent of it. Soviet Union, Bryansk and Ukraine were all greatly affected and many areas, especially in the Soviet Union where they were evacuated. Thirty-one died after the explosion in chernobyl because they did not realized how dangerous it was to be exposed to that much radiation.[3] The inhalation of the smoke also contributed to the deaths. It is also believed that even seventy years after the fact, there will be an increase in people who have cancer even children. At the time of the disaster Reactor 4 had 180 metric tons of uranium dioxide, out of which anywhere from six to thirty percent was released into the air and the surrounding environment. The fuel that was in the reactor vaporized and flew into the surrounding air and It spread quickly through the atmosphere. Many years after the Chernobyl accident, there were people who still had health issues, the radiation that leaked after the explosion still harmed people and animals as well as plants There were many patients who were treated for diseases such as thyroid cancer, leukemia and also respiratory illnesses. The high radiation levels made the residents prone to life-threatening illnesses in which some people could not afford medical attention, a fact that contributed to an increased death toll. After the accident and due to the radiation, healthy foods were not available since crops could not be grown on the land. This led to malnutrition which also contributed to mutations and also health problems.[4]

A lot of the animals travelled back to chernobyl because of the absence of people. The reproduction of these animals that did return was very difficult but the ones that did manage to reproduce birthed animals which extreme birth defects and mutations. Even though the area is considered dangerous for life, the animals such as deer and elk still stayed in the radiation polluted city. The population is very high with many mutated animals. Reproduction was limited but this was just a temporary effect; the population continued to increase but not without health effects. Without people around, they thrived on the plants since they were not removed or destroyed to be used for other purposes such as building and farming, because of the stress and the lack of antioxidants many wildlife mutations included an under-developed nervous system and smaller brains which led to them not being able to think properly. The birds that called the radiation area home were affected by animals mutations since they had much smaller brains compared to those that were not in radiation areas. Some of the swallows found in the area have physical mutations and physical abnormalities such as deformed tails, discolored feathers and improperly shaped air sacks.[5]


Chernobyl disaster facts


  1. Executive Summary Nuclear Energy Agency. Web. updated 2002. author unknown.
  2. accident and its consequences Nuclear Energy Institute. Web. Accesed on October 14, 2017. author unknown.
  3. health effects of the chernobyl accident World Health Organization. web. accessed April 2006. author unknown.
  4. chernobyl effects on humans Green Facts. web. published 22 july 2017. author unknown.
  5. Vinocor, Nick animals worse affected than thought UK Reuters. web. published march 17, 2009.