In the local Military police guards. The design

In 1986, the worst nuclear meltdown in history happened at the Chernobyl plant in Pripyat Ukraine. “Thirty-two people died and dozens more suffered radiation burns in the opening days of the crisis, but only after Swedish authorities reported the fallout did Soviet authorities reluctantly admit that an accident had occurred” (Nuclear disaster at Chernobyl); Chernobyl nuclear facility is located in Ukraine about 20 km south of the border with Belarus. At the time of the accident, the plant had four working reactors.  The meltdown left thousands of people injured and even more dead in the following years.”The Chernobyl accident severe radiation effects killed 28 of the site’s 600 workers in the first four months after the event. Another 106 workers received high enough doses to cause acute radiation sickness. Two workers died within hours of the reactor explosion from non-radiological causes. Another 200,000 cleanup workers in 1986 and 1987 received doses of between 1 and 100 rem (The average annual radiation dose for a U.S. citizen is about .6 rem). Chernobyl cleanup activities eventually required about 600,000 workers, although only a small fraction of these workers were exposed to elevated levels of radiation. (Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident); Chernobyl was the the biggest with Kyshtym following close behind. Chernobyl is a well known incident of nuclear meltdowns. The plant                                                                                                                                    Varner  2melted down in Pripyat Ukraine, the town surrounding the plant was evacuated and is still empty to this day, because of the immense amount of radiation.”Exposure to high levels of ionising radiation can result in mutation, radiation sickness, cancer, and death but when used in medical applications it can be used to prolong life. Ionizing radiation is invisible and not directly detectable by human senses, unless at very high doses, so instruments such as Geiger counters are necessary to detect its presence” (Radiation levels now); the Ukrainian government has tried to send in clean up crews but the radiation inside remains too strong for anyone to be near reactor four. Tours of the town usually are not available without a bribe to the local Military police guards. The design of the plant was flawed, not to mention human mistake on top of the flaws,and was poorly cared for by the government. Not many safety precautions were taken, but since then more safety precautions have been developed. “When the Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded on the night of 26 April 1986, workers bore the full brunt of the blast, many losing their health, homes, jobs and even their lives. Since then, significant progress has been made in the development of safety and health at work”(Chernobyl 20 years after: From disaster, breeding a new safety culture); hopefully the new safety precautions will lead to less nuclear meltdown in the upcoming future. At this point the Ukrainian government would rather just let it rot into the ground, instead of sending workers to be exposed to the radiation and attempt and clean up the disaster, which is the safest route to take. “The April 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was the product of a flawed Soviet reactor design coupled with serious mistakes made by the plant operators. It was                                                                                                                      Varner 3a direct consequence of Cold War isolation and the resulting lack of any safety culture” (Chernobyl Accident); the flawed design on top of human mistake caused the disaster. “The four Chernobyl reactors were pressurized water reactors of the Soviet RBMK design, or Reaktor Bolshoy Moshchnosty Kanalny, meaning “high-power channel reactor.”  The reactors were designed to produce both plutonium and electric power, they were very different from standard commercial designs, employing a unique combination of a graphite moderator and water coolant” (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences); Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air. “The hot fuel particles reacted with water and caused a steam explosion, which lifted the 1,000-metric-ton cover off the top of the reactor, rupturing the 1,660 pressure tubes, causing a second explosion and exposing the reactor core to the environment” (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences); the exposition of the reactor core caused the meltdown. “The Chernobyl accident of 1986 released vast quantities of radioactive materials and significantly contaminated about 200,000 square kilometers of land” (Mousseau); The carbon fire burned for 10 days, releasing a large amount of radiation into the atmosphere “The effects of radiation on wildlife were negligible relative to the impacts of human habitation” (Mosseau); human still could not survive in the surrounding areas. Fission products, mostly cesium 137 and strontium 90, and unspent nuclear fuel, in this case plutonium 239, were distributed across a vast geographic landscape about an area 2.5 times the size of South Carolina, that includes large parts of northern Ukraine, southeastern Belarus, and southeastern Russia, as well as less but still significantly                                                                                                                           Varner 4contaminated areas of Scandinavia and Central Europe. “At the regional scale, contamination levels are highly variable, with background radiation levels sometimes varying by two orders of magnitude in places just a few hundred meters apart” (Mosseau); the levels of contamination around the area are still high and dangerous.  “After the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident, the residents living around the Chernobyl were revealed to have been internally exposed to 137Cs through the intake of contaminated local foods” (Kimura); radiation can cause a numerous amount of health problems including death. “The pond is radioactive — as are the fish. But wildlife is booming in the exclusion zone that stretches for some 30 kilometres from the corroding plant. Grey wolves, lynx, wild boar, rabbits and moose roam the zone” (Pearce); wildlife has evolved, and radiation does not affect animals and plants the same way it does humans. “In 1990, journalist Alla Yaroshinskaya came across secret documents about the Chernobyl catastrophe that revealed a massive cover-up operation and a calculated policy of disinformation. The state and party leadership had knowingly played down the extent of the contamination and offered a sanitized version to the outside world” (Delonge); the world around Chernobyl may be forever damaged. “The crippled Chernobyl 4 reactor now is enclosed in a concrete structure that is growing weaker over time.” (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences); the concrete structure around reactor four is called the sarcophagus. Ukraine and the Group of Eight industrialized nations have agreed on a plan to stabilize the existing structure by constructing an enormous new sarcophagus around it, which is expected to last more than 100 years. Officials shut down reactor 2 after a building fire in 1991 and closed Chernobyl 1 and 3 in 1996 and 2000,                                                                                                                 Varner 5respectively. “Soviet scientists reported that the Chernobyl 4 reactor contained about 190 metric tons of uranium dioxide fuel and fission products. An estimated 13 percent to 30 percent of this escaped into the atmosphere” (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences); Contamination from the accident scattered irregularly, depending on weather conditions. Reports from Soviet and western scientists indicate that Belarus received about 60 percent of the contamination that fell on the former Soviet Union. “A large area in the Russian Federation south of Bryansk also was contaminated, as were parts of northwestern Ukraine” (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences); Soviet authorities started evacuating people from the area around Chernobyl within 36 hours of the accident. In 1986, 115,000 local people were evacuated. “The government subsequently resettled another 220,000 people” (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences);  However, the United Nations study found significant shortcomings in the Soviet Union’s implementation of countermeasures. “In the first few weeks, management of animal fodder and milk production (including prohibiting the consumption of fresh milk) would have helped significantly to reduce doses to the thyroid due to radioiodine, according to the study. There is no doubt that a substantial contributor to the excess incidence of thyroid cancer has been exposure to radioiodine released during the Chernobyl accident (Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences); even with the Chernobyl reactor poor design, officials could have averted many radioactive exposures to the population with an effective emergency response. Key personnel at all U.S. power reactors work with surrounding populations on an ongoing basis to prepare for an orderly and speedy evacuation in the unlikely event of an accident.                                                                                                               Varner 6 Chernobyl was the most harsh meltdown ever. The entire town of Pripyat was evacuated. Two, were killed instantly where others died up to 6 years after the incident. The wildlife around chernobyl was also affected greatly, all of the local wildlife are radioactive and unsafe to be around, and when they breed new animals are born into the radiation and affects generations to come. In 2018 the chernobyl reactor is still in  unsafe conditions, and the government thinks it will be a very long time before Chernobyl or Pripyat will ever be safe for people to live in again. If not for the horrific accident many safety measures may have never been taken, this event was the wake up call the world needed to look at things in a different perspective and take new measures. In conclusion, Chernobyl will go down as the most catastrophic nuclear meltdown ever.


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