In then USSR near Pripyat City, Ukrainian SSR near Belarus border on Saturday 26th April 1986 a nuclear accident happened which shook the world. Till this day Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster is regarded as the worst nuclear disaster and the worst man-made disaster happened in history. A city called Pripyat has so much effect of the tragedy that till today its population is zero and the whole city is abandoned.
What Was Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster?
The cold war was at that time in full swing between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both were flexing muscles at each other and nuclear power was at the center of attraction. Like today there were no strong safety measures for nuclear power plants. And this was one of the main reasons for the disaster.
The accident took place from 25 to 26 April 1986, when reactor unit 4’s technicians decided to carry out a badly planned experiment. The staff shut down the power management system of the reactor and its emergency monitoring devices and removed most of the control rods from its core while allowing the reactor to run at 7 percent. Such errors were compounded by some, and the chain reaction in the heart went out of balance around 1 to 2 am on April 26. Several explosions created a massive fireball and torn off the reactor’s heavy steel and cement roof. This and the resulting explosion in the graphite reactor core exploded vast quantities of radioactive material into the atmosphere, where air currents spread huge distances. There was also a partial meltdown of the core.
Nearly 50 to 185 million curies of radionuclide leaked into the atmosphere, many times higher radioactive than the atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan During World War II. The wind dispersed this radioactivity over Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and eventually reached as far west as Italy as well as France.
How Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Happened?
- The plant’s reactor 4 was the center of the accident after the operators taking action in violation of the plant protocols in the early morning of 26 April 1986.
- The plant was operated by operators at very low power
- The plant was designed to manufacture plutonium as well as electricity, they varied significantly from typical commercial designs
- Reactors became highly unstable at low pressure, which speeded up the reaction and pressure efficiency of the nuclear chain reaction, where the reactors lacked cooling water.
- Such aspects all contributed to an uncontrollable explosion of power that led to the devastation of Chernobyl 4.
Impact of Chernobyl Disaster
- Nearly 30 people died after the accident.
- And hundred more died directly or indirectly due to the disaster.
- At first, there was an attempt to cover up the incident.
- Swedish monitoring station on April 28 s reported abnormal levels of high radioactivity being transported by wind and asked for clarification.
- The Soviet government confirmed the incident.
- But its impact is far greater and till now after almost 35 years the area is radioactive.
- There are many long term health effects.
- 115,000 residents were evacuated in 1986.
- The government then moved another 220,000 residents.
- The Chernobyl 4 reactor contained approximately 190 metric tons of uranium fuel and fission products, researchers reported.
- Approximately 13% to 30% of this escaped into the atmosphere.
- According to research, 60% of the contamination spread in nearby Belarus.
- After a fire in 1991 Chernobyl Unit 2 was shut down
- Unit 1 remained online until 1996.
- Chernobyl Unit 3 continued to operate until 2000,
- Then the government formally decommissioned the nuclear power station.
- Many believe it was one of the reasons which led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the following years.
What is the impact of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster today?
Today the whole plant is covered under a metal shell. But there is still radioactivity remained. Scientists predict that the area around the plant would not be inhabitable for up to 20,000 years. Recently many trees have grown and there is an increased number of wildlife due to the absence of human. Especially number of wolves has grown many-fold around the area.
What Happened to the Pripyat City which was the closest to Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster?
Pripyat City is currently in Ukraine near the Belarus border. Pripyat City is also known as Ghost City. This city was one of the Soviet Union’s Nuclear city built around the 1970s to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. To mainly accommodate the official and workers of the plant.
Around 1986 its population was nearly 50000. But after the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster government started to evacuate the city and today its population is 0. The city had hospitals, apartments, schools, amusement park, football stadium, hotels etc. which were abandoned and those structures are still standing. This is one of the reasons Pripyat City is called Ghost City.
Read more interesting topics related to history here