Out of all the human-made disasters, none are more widely recognized around the globe than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Films, documentaries, miniseries, have all depicted the events that transpired in Ukraine on the 26th of April in which the series of unfortunate, yet preventable events have been discussed loads of times.
The Chernobyl disaster was a glimpse into that possible future and what may await of us if we are not careful with the technology that we possess
The Chernobyl disaster all started during the peak of the Cold War,
a standoff between The Soviet Union, the United States and their respective allies
Both sides were armed to the teeth in nuclear weapons with the threat
of nuclear war looming a very real possibility. Both sides raved about an apocalyptic scenario where such a war would change the entire landscape of earth itself and of course
the population that lives in it
on the 26 of April during the year 1986, It was during a routine shutdown
that this event took place when it was decided to test one of the shutdown functions. The purpose of this was "to determine whether cooling of the core could continue to be ensured in the event of a loss of power. which was of utmost importance if the Soviets were
planning to start or be a part of a future war in case power was lost during this hypothetic
At this point, one could say that the reactor was already unstable by the time they were conducting these tests. The specifics of which was the combination of both hot steam with cold water which caused the reactor to become“partially detached, rupturing the fuel channels and jamming all the control rods”
Those in the control room didn’t know what happened and thus didn’t react in time to the initial explosion. Two explosions happened around that time which caused concern from those within while one worker died during the explosion and his body was never found. Attempts to shut down the reactor were largely ignored by commanding officers who thought that the radiation levels were no more than an x-ray but who were sadly wrong. Even inside the control room, people were already becoming sick with constant vomiting and illness. The explosion was so huge that it sent a 10-ton lid of the reactor rocketing through the roof.
The full scale of this disaster may never be fully known. But what information we do have is that a large amount of nuclear substance was released into the air right when the explosion happened. Radioactive particles swept through the entire Soviet Union while even reaching some parts of Germany and Sweden respectively. The air wasn’t the only part of nature that was affected, plants, wildlife and even animals were all changed by the sudden intake of toxic radioactive waters, vegetation and even the air. The effects of radiation on humans was so bad that the whole of Chernobyl was abandoned except for a few percentages of people who refused to leave their ancestral home. Soon after this, the whole place was a ghost town in which only a few stubborn people and wildlife were habiting the area.
In the past, the Soviet government had placed clean up squads to different sectors in order to try and clean up as much as they could. But, even with today’s technology, it is rather difficult. The radiation levels have gone down, that much is certain, otherwise, Chernobyl would have never been open to the public as a tourist location. But there are areas in which one will need to be careful if he/she ever visits. The elephant foot is one such location. It is basically nuclear waste mounted to look like a foot of an elephant. As if that isn’t clear enough how dangerous it is, in the past “the foot would have been fatal after 30 seconds of exposure; even today, the radiation is fatal after 300 seconds. Other places that are quite dangerous are the old suits worn by the cleanup crew and the top of the reactor. All could be fatal if one isn’t careful.
After the explosion, the reactor was still releasing radioactivity in the following 10 days. More than 2 hundred thousand km2 of Europe was contaminated. Agricultural plants and animals were contaminated as well. After the early phase of deposition, an increasingly important concern was plant contamination. However, the levels of radioactive materials in agricultural plants and animals decreased rapidly due to factors such as weathering and decay. In the past decade, the levels have gone down, yet in a much slower range. This is to
say that even with the levels are going down, it is not going down as fast as expected nor wanted. It may still take years for the entire place to even reach a level that is reduced enough for people to even think of living there.
Nowadays, Chernobyl is considered a place to do Extreme Tourism, every year thousands of tourists go to visit, keeping in mind that they are kept out of the most radioactive areas and have at least two checkpoints to measure the levels of radiation.
But, is it possible to live in Chernobyl ever again? Today it is illegal to live in the exclusion
zone, and despite this, about 130 to 150 people do. Many are women ranging from 70– 80 years old and are still farming their ancestral lands. Since the disaster, specialists have constantly monitored the radiation levels in the soil, trees, plants and animals around Chernobyl, even outside areas of the exclusion zone.
The Chernobyl Disaster was the biggest disaster that has ever happened. A disaster for mankind. As it could be seen, animals and plants have repopulated the affected areas with no visible damage due to radiation. Even if this was, possibly, a human error, it seems as if the planet is cleansing us due to our many failures. Each one of our choices affects the planet that we live on, our common house that we all share. Accidents happen, but when the powers above do not do anything other than give their one hundred per cent in cleaning up their mistakes, The consequences are always very huge to handle.