Period 3
Chemistry
May 19, 2013

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

On April 26, 1986 a disastrous nuclear power plant exploded, causing a volcano of deadly radioactivity that rose into the atmosphere and rained upon the nearby cities, towns, and farms of Pripyat, Ukraine. This resulted to become the largest nuclear energy disaster to have ever occurred in the history of mankind. The horrors of this catastrophe lead many people at risk of receiving severe radiation at an instant as the days went on. This major accident then initiated people to be evacuated almost immediately. But as the years pass by, the city of Pripyat continued to deteriorate and became ghost town. This tragedy altered not only the lives of the people that lived around the area, but tons of different things surrounding the city.
Chernobyl suffered a massive amount of radioactive substances that were shot up into the sky. After what seemed to be just a minor situation, it turned out to become very dangerous. But on a beautiful Saturday afternoon of April 26, 1986 a potentially life threating incident occurred which is now known as the Chernobyl disaster. At about 1:23 in the afternoon, the Number Four RBMK (Reaktor Bolshoy Moshchnosty Kanalny) reactor at the nuclear power plant unexpectedly went out of control during a test procedure at their lowest power. Therefore, it provoked an uncontrollable power surge and lead to an immense violent explosion that nearly demolished the entire reactor building releasing the radiation out from the site and into the atmosphere. The uranium fuel in the reactor melted and overheated the protective barriers. The moderating material in the RBMK also caught fire at a high temperature just as the air entered the reactor core, all of which contributed to the emission of plutonium, strontium, iodine, caesium and hundreds of other elements that were scattered throughout the area of the blast. These reactors lacked with what is known now as a containment structure, which is a steel and concrete dome designed to keep radiation inside incase of such a tragic accident.
These deadly radioactive substances initially traveled in a northwest direction toward, Finland, Sweden, and Eastern Europe. It then exposed the population to levels up of up to 100 times that of normal background radiation. Thirty-six hours after the horrific incident occurred, the entire town of Pripyat with a population of about 49,360 was immediately evacuated due to safety procedures for the protection of the lives of the infants, children, adults and senior citizens of that city. Almost 200,000 people that were at a range of 30 km, were believed to have evacuated after weeks and months as a result. But after the initial explosion of the fourth reactor of RMBK it resulted to an immediate death of two workers. About twenty-eight fireman and emergency clean up employees that were rushed onto the scene not knowing what happened past away three months after the blast occurred due to Acute Radiation Sickness and one fatality to cardiac arrest. Other parts of the world were all affected from the radioactive releases from Chernobyl but the level of radiation in the atmosphere in several areas of the world was not normal, they then began to quickly and completely recede away.
After the initial nuclear plant explosion, mutations did begin to occur to the surrounding environment. Plants and animals were affected. Rare species of animals are now returning in large numbers such as moose, wolves, wild boar, birds, and even beavers. Leaves were then changing their shapes and the animals born came with physical deformities due to the blast. Decades after, tourists go to Chernobyl to find more of an experience and see the city and areas of what is now deserted from what happened years ago. The country did change its nuclear policies and lessons have been learned from this accident. Countries now have made the effort to identify the weaknesses and started to improve the design safety for the nuclear reactors so that such a tragedy won’t happen again. Cleaning up after the accident wasn’t an easy task to do, but individuals that helped received special benefits from their involvement with their involvement of the aftermath. They specifically worked on major construction projects as well as decontamination to the areas and also built waste repositories, water filtration systems, dams and