10/12/20142 In the early morning hours of 26 April 1986, in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. Soviet technicians at the No. 4 unit, paralyzed by the fear of responsibility and failure (though not of death), delayed to inform the highest authorities, including General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, until the surrounding population and countryside had been saturated with high levels of deadly radioactivity that rendered the region around the abandoned city uninhabitable..
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the town of Pripyat in Ukraine is located about 10 mi. from the border of Ukraine and Belarus. 10/12/20144
Pripyat was built in the 1970’s when the nuclear power plant opened. It was home to construction workers, service employees and their families. 10/12/20145
On April 26, 1986 (at 1:23 a.m.) Reactor Number 4 exploded. The reactor was one of several at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. 10/12/20146
7 The causes of the accident are described as a fateful combination of human error and imperfect technology. For 10 days the fire raged, expelling 172 tons of toxic materials into the atmosphere, clouds of which drifted across northern Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and more than 14 European countries. It wasn't until alarm bells went off at a Swedish power station that the world learned of the disaster the Soviets had tried to hide.
10/12/20148 "Good evening comrades. All of you know that there has been an incredible misfortune – The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. It has painfully affected the Soviet people, and shocked the international community. For the fist time, we confront the real force of nuclear energy, out of control." Mikhail Gorbachev: The USSR waited almost three long days before it confirmed the "minor accident“ with a terse statement read by a Moscow broadcaster. Still, they gave no warning of the poison that had been unleashed.
It was not until 24 hrs. after the explosion were the people told to remain inside. It was another day before Pripyat was evacuated. On May 2-3 some 45,000 residents were evacuated from within about a 6 mi. of the plant.
10/12/201410 After evacuation from Chernobyl disaster area, the town went into ruins. Before the Chernobyl disaster Pripyat had a settlement of 25,000 to 30,000 people.
10/12/201411 The pattern of radioactive fallout from Chernobyl was carried throughout parts of Europe by the wind pattern at the time of the explosion.
10/12/201412 The Causes: Safety standards were not maintained: The reactor did not meet international safety standards. The reactor was poorly designed and engineered resulting in the emergency shutdown failure. The flawed reactor design was operated by poorly trained personnel. There was a lack of proper regard for safety.
10/12/201413 The worst of the radioactive debris was collected inside what was left of the reactor. Much of it was shoveled by “liquidators” wearing heavy protective gear. These workers could only spend a minimum time working on the rooftops. An increased risk of leukemia due to radiation exposure has occurred among the higher exposed liquidators.
10/12/201414 These abandoned fire engines are some of the most radioactive objects in all of Chernobyl. The firemen were the first on the scene, and they thought it was an ordinary fire. No one told them, what they were really dealing with.
10/12/201415 The main casualties were among the firefighters, including those who responded to the initial small fires on the roof of the turbine building. The fires were put out in a few hours, but radiation doses caused 28 deaths in the first four months and 19 as time went on.
10/12/201416 Chernobyl ranks as one of the greatest industrial accidents of all time. It has also been described a disaster that speeded the collapse of the Soviet Union because it was a reflection of a dying political system.
10/12/201418 The Victims Those who lived in the area around the nuclear power station at the time of the accident have had mutations (changes) in their cells from radiation. About 760 children in the contaminated “Safety Zone” have been reported to have thyroid cancer. Thirty-one people died within the first three months. Most of these were fire and rescue workers trying to bring the accident under control. They were not fully aware of how dangerous the radiation exposure (from the smoke). As a result of the accident, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness
10/12/201419 Radioactive contamination can enter the human body through the environment in many ways. The effects of radiation and its subsequent damage vary. Radiation commonly affects the thyroid. However, other body systems can be affected.
The most frequently noted Chernobyl-related diseases included thyroid and blood cancer, mental disorders, and cancerous growths. Thyroid cancer is usually not fatal if diagnosed and treated early.
Radiation is known to cause genetic mutations and there were some early suggestions that wildlife would suffer widespread birth defects and other developmental deformities. Such reports of mutant animals were never confirmed. Twenty years later, a clearer picture has emerged, yet scientists are still arguing about what has actually happened to wildlife within the zone. 10/12/201421
10/12/201422 The “sarcophagus” is the shield or cover placed over the damaged nuclear reactor 7 months later to avoid further radioactive material that would further contaminate the environment.
10/12/201423 Chernobyl Unit 4 is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter that was put up quickly to allow operations of the other reactors at the plant to continue. It is not strong, nor durable. A Safe Confinement structure will be built by the end of 2011 and moved into place on rails.