CHERNOBYL
What actually happened?
April 26, 1986. For the inhabitants of Pripyat this day will forever remain in their memory. There was the largest nuclear disaster in the history. Thousands of destinies changed once and for all. Loss of loved ones, loss of home, life divided between before and after. But at the same time, people defied deadly power, sacrificed themselves. We must remember the unsung heroes.Curiosity about life in all its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.
April 26, 1986. For the inhabitants of Pripyat this day will forever remain in their memory. There was the largest nuclear disaster in the history. Thousands of destinies changed once and for all. Loss of loved ones, loss of home, life divided between before and after. But at the same time, people defied deadly power, sacrificed themselves. We must remember the unsung heroes.Curiosity about life in all its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.
The nuclear power plant is located 3 km from the city of Pripyat. At night, on April 25, 176 employees of the reactor block №4 carried out a test of the reactor power supply system. At 01:23 there is a shutdown of emergency stop systems and the experiment begins.
people died in the first month after the accident
roentgen reached around the collapse of the burning reactor
people participated in the aftermath of the accident
thousand
thousand
Station
The Chernobyl energy complex, located 130 km from Kiev and about 20 km from the border with Belarus, consisted of four nuclear reactors.
The construction of the first two blocks began in 1970, and blocks 3 and 4 were completed in 1983. At the time of the accident at the site were built two more reactors.
Within a radius of 30 km from the power plant, the total population at the time of the accident ranged from 115,000 to 135,000 people.
The test plan
The test focused on the switching sequences of the electrical supplies for the reactor. The test procedure was expected to begin with an automatic emergency shutdown. No detrimental effect on the safety of the reactor was anticipated, so the test programme was not formally coordinated with either the chief designer of the reactor or the scientific manager.
If the test conditions were maintained as prescribed, the procedure would almost certainly be performed safely; the catastrophe resulted from attempts to increase the power of the reactor after the start of the experiment, and because of an error in operation, the output power was too low.
The test plan
The test focused on the switching sequences of the electrical supplies for the reactor. The test procedure was expected to begin with an automatic emergency shutdown. No detrimental effect on the safety of the reactor was anticipated, so the test programme was not formally coordinated with either the chief designer of the reactor or the scientific manager.
If the test conditions were maintained as prescribed, the procedure would almost certainly be performed safely; the catastrophe resulted from attempts to increase the power of the reactor after the start of the experiment, and because of an error in operation, the output power was too low.
Accident
26
April
On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear accident in history occurred when a reactor at a nuclear power plant exploded and burned. This incident was a turning point in the history of nuclear power.
Sarcophagus construction
The nearby city of Pripyat, which was built in the 1970s to house workers at the plant – was evacuated until about 36 hours after the disaster began.
Accident
During the test, workers violated safety protocols and power surged inside the plant. Despite attempts to shut down the reactor entirely, another power surge caused a chain reaction of explosions inside.
Man writes: "Forgive us, parental home, for leaving you"
Radiation
The radiation level was 1,500 x-rays per hour, although counters not designed for such a high level showed only 500 x-rays per hour.
Firefighters received the largest dose of radiation. There were more than 100 people. According to publicly available data, 31 of them died in a very short time.
Heroes
First days
20 hours after the explosion, the radiation level continues to grow. Despite the situation, the city's population was not informed of anything.
The military measure the level of radiation in the city
"I went to bed at 23 o'clock, because later I had to intercede with the part-time ones. At night I heard an explosion, but did not give it any significance. After a minute or two, the alarm was sounded."
Vladimir Prishchepa
On duty during the explosion
In a few days, several hundred thousand people were evacuated from the affected area. On the same days, the first borders of the exclusion zone took shape.
Timeline
A chronology of events surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
"There was no general panic, there was vanity. People thought they were leaving for three days."
Julia Marchenko
At the time of the accident was 5 years
Liquidation
Many liquidators were praised as heroes by the Soviet government and the press, while some struggled for years to have their participation officially recognized.
Pilots
From Afghanistan they call the most experienced pilots to fly aircraft. Of these, soldiers, who do not have protection, throw 80 kg sandbags with their bare hands. Crews performed 10-15 sorties per day. The fire in the reactor was extinguished in the evening of April 30th. Helicopters started to build a layer of sand.
Miners
To work attracted miners from Tula. Their task is to get to the reactor and build a chamber 30x30 meters under the reactor in order to install refrigeration units. A group of miners, 30 people, is replaced every 3 hours, work goes on around the clock. Nobody warned them about the danger.
Liquidators
After the population was evacuated from the village of Pripyat, the liquidators washed away radioactive dust from streets, trees and houses. The liquid that was watered over the entire contaminated area was called "burda". This sticky substance knocked the radioactive dust to the ground and glued it.
Bio–robot
No one, up to this point, has worked with such a high level of radiation - 7 000 roentgens per hour. They had to replace cars to clear the roof of radioactive debris. They managed to reduce the level of radiation by 30%.
"Imagine your hands, 1 500 roentgens, when you arrive at the dislocation point, after work, then your hands hurt, don`t shrink. These are the consequences."
Alexander Fedotov
Bio–robot
Sarcophagus
To ensure the isolation of radioactive debris, it is necessary to completely close the reactor. A gigantic sarcophagus project of steel and concrete, 179 long and 66 meters high, was developed.
This is a unique object. The complexity of the construction lay in the extreme conditions. A person could work for several minutes, otherwise one could receive a lethal dose of radiation.
Because of the high radiation, only machines can work, but these machines had to be installed by people. The structure was weighed out of beams weighing 150 tons and 70 m long and supports 45 m high.
New safe confinement
The construction of the second sarcophagus began in 2007. It was planned that it would be a movable arch that would cover the reactor together with the old sarcophagus, after which it would be possible to do disassembly, deactivation and burial of the remains of the power unit.
The lifespan of the new Shelter is estimated at 100 years. Its length - 165 m, height - 110, width - 257. The construction weighs 36.2 thousand tons. About 3 thousand workers were engaged in the construction. By November 2016, the installation was completed.
Aftermath
Today, radioactive particles continue to poison the earth. The territory continues to be uninhabitable
Farms
Pollution was concentrated mainly in open areas. Streets, houses, squares and parks had a radiation background much higher than its normal value. The territory of 30 km around the nuclear power plant, which to this day remains uninhabited
Territories intended for sowing crops were unsuitable. There was a serious problem of the migration of radioactive substances along food chains and their accumulation in the human body. In this connection, several dozen collective and state farms were closed, farms were liquidated.
Water
Not only the reservoirs nearest to the station were polluted. Initially, radionuclides were placed on the surface of the water. Considering the fact that radionuclides with a short decay period were mainly concentrated in the water, their content significantly decreased in a few days.
Health
A significant part of the population continues to live in the polluted area, using locally produced food. After the accident, the number of cancers, brain damage, an increase in the number of gynetic diseases and many other diseases increased.
City
Nowadays
Pripyat remains empty 33 years after the initial explosion, although some people did return to their homes that sit within the 19 miles exclusion zone around the power plant.
The former residents of Pripyat are likely to never return to the town, and they almost certainly will never live there again. It is estimated that the area won't be safe for humans to live for at least 20,000 years. This hasn't stopped other animals from claiming the area as there home, as hundreds of dogs now live in the exclusion zone. Some children of the Chernobyl disaster also returned to their homes as adults, three decades after the accident, to revisit the town that they grew up in.
Chernobyl tours
The area was opened to tourists in February 2011 and it quickly became a popular destination until the trips were suspended again in June of the same year. By November 2011 a Kiev court officially banned tours of Chernobyl, but by January 2013 the nearby town of Pripyat was re-opened for people to visit.
There is still an exclusion zone around the nuclear reactor, and it is also covered with a sarcophagus to prevent more radiation leaks. Tourist can only access the exclusion zone if they are with a licenced guide who therefore knows how to avoid the more dangerous areas.
Chernobyl reminds us that if it is necessary to live with radioactivity, we need to save the future generation from the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.
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