Chernobyl nuclear disaster

The 80s were remembered for a lot of good reasons, but the decade also contained some unfortunate events. Arguably one of those was the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

On April 26, 1986, the operating crew planned to test whether the Reactor 4’s turbines could produce enough energy to keep the coolant pumps running until the emergency diesel generator was activated in case of an external power loss.

During this test, power surged unexpectedly, causing an explosion and driving temperatures in the reactor to more than 2000 degrees Celsius melting the fuel rods, igniting the reactor’s graphite covering, and releasing a cloud of radiation into the atmosphere. Four hundred times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Seventy percent of the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl landed in Belarus, affecting more than 3600 towns and villages, and 2.5 million people. The radiation contaminated soil which contaminates crops that people rely on for food. Many regions in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are likely to be contaminated for hundreds of years.

From what I have read, only a handful of people were killed in the initial explosion. The majority of deaths were from the radiation afterwards. The reports on just how many deaths are quite varied – official counts are much lower than what people say actually are.

There is a lot of good reading on the internet, as well as many documentaries on TV. One source I find very interesting is this site. There has been much discussion as to whether it is a hoax or not. I do not know 100% either way, but it does open your eyes to the after effects of a such a catastrophic event.

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