What actually has happened?
There are numerous researches on this topic, but if you want to have a brief overview of the situation you can watch the short video. Therefore, 33 years ago number 4 nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine) exploded due to the flawed reactor design and human error, in particular, the staff was running the test with serious mistakes and violation the rules. The experiment was planned to test the viability of a potential safety emergency core cooling feature, which required a normal reactor shutdown procedure, but the reactor was already unstable. An explosion has happened and subsequent open-air fire that lasted for about nine days took place.
The Chernobyl plant did not have the fortified containment structure common to most nuclear power plants elsewhere in the world. Without this protection, radioactive material escaped into the environment and spread by the wind all around Europe (mainly polluting Belarus, Ukraine and Russia). 36 hours after the accident, Soviet officials enacted a 10-kilometre exclusion zone, which resulted in the rapid evacuation of approximately 50 000 people mainly from Pripyat, the nearest large population centre. The next day's each community within a 30km radius of the plant was evacuated and no-one was allowed to return back.
The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere. Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident, and a further 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning.
The accident caused the largest uncontrolled radioactive release into the environment ever recorded for any civilian operation, and large quantities of radioactive substances were released into the air for about 10 days. This caused serious social and economic disruption for large populations in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Besides, people are still suffering from health disorders as it is conclusive that the cases of thyroid cancer were caused by the contamination.
Not a unique case
Obviously, after such horrible consequences, it seems that humanity will do everything to prevent the same situation. However, on the 11th of March 2011, the meltdown of the Fukushima reactor occurred as a result of natural disasters - earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Experts were raising the issue of potential risks of large tsunamis, but these precautions were ignored.
In fact, mistakes in the construction of reactors and negligence were the causes of this accident as well. It is considered that the aftermaths for the other countries were not that massive and terrible as in Chernobyl, but the radiation continues to fall into the ocean through sewage.
Officials shut down reactor 2 after a building fire in 1991 and closed Chernobyl 1 and 3 in 1996 and 2000, respectively. After the accident, the deformed 4th reactor was originally enclosed in a mammoth concrete structure that was growing weaker over time. In November 2016, it was covered with a huge steel and concrete shelter which is built to confine the remains and expected to last next 100 years.
The territory of more than 4,000 square kilometres (roughly 1.5 sizes of Luxembourg) has been abandoned. Nowadays, nature took over there and counties to flourish. Nevertheless, despite the forbid some people returned back to their homes and still living within the 30 km zone.
In 2011 Chernobyl has officially declared a tourist attraction. Currently, everyone who is willing to visit the “special” tours to Pripyat (20th Century ghost city) or power plant can do that only for 80-100 Euros! It is estimated that in 2018 around 60 000 people visited the exclusion zone.
Notwithstanding, in all these facts, investigations and horrible consequences we are forgetting about people’s stories who were and are maintaining the plant. Thus, the screenwriter Craig Mazin depicted that Chernobyl was a global problem, and thousands of people who worked on disaster relief have in fact saved Europe from radioactive contamination. Hopefully, after watching the five-hour mini-series “Chernobyl” that is realizing in USA and UK today, the witnesses and their descendants will feel great pride for themselves and the role they played in the history of the whole world.
It is so sad to admit that people all around the world know about Ukraine only because of this frightful accident and all the aftereffects that appeared. Unlike, no one recall about the brave people who didn’t allow to make the catastrophe even bigger. I would like to finish the article with the mini-series “Chernobyl” final words - “In memory of all who suffered and sacrificed.”