Shadow Of Chernobyl Essay

1115 words - 5 pages

On April 26th 1986 at 1:23:45 a.m., reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, exploded.

The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear energy disaster ever. With the resulting blast, the explosion let off four hundred more times the nuclear fallout that of the bombing of Hiroshima. The nuclear radiation drifted to parts of eastern and western Europe and drifted as far as North America.

Chernobyl at the time of the incident, was a part of the Soviet Union, and is in the northern part of Ukraine. Chernobyl is located 14.5 kilometers from the nuclear power plant. The power plant was named after the city, and located within the ...view middle of the document...

Chernobyl's reactors had three backup diesel generators. The generator required 15 seconds to start up but took 60-75 seconds to attain full speed and reach its capacity of 5.5 MW required to run one main cooling water pump.

The Chernobyl disaster triggered the release of substantial amounts of radiation into the atmosphere in the form of both particle and gaseous radioisotopes, and is the most significant unintentional release of radiation into the environment to date. The country of Belarus (to the north of Ukraine) was hit with an estimated 60% of the radiation fallout. All of the noble gases, including krypton and xenon, contained within the reactor were released immediately into the atmosphere by the first steam explosion.

In the aftermath of the accident, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, of whom 31 died within the first three months. Most of these were fire and rescue workers trying to bring the accident under control, who were not fully aware of how dangerous the radiation exposure from the smoke. 135,000 people were evacuated from the area, including 50,000 from Pripyat.

Following the accident, questions arose on the future of the plant and its eventual fate. All work on the unfinished reactors 5 and 6 was halted three years later. However, the trouble at the Chernobyl plant did not end with the disaster in reactor 4. The damaged reactor was sealed off and 200 meters (660 ft) of concrete was placed between the disaster site and the operational buildings. The Ukrainian government continued to let the three remaining reactors operate because of an energy shortage in the country. A fire broke out in the turbine building of reactor 2 in 1991. The authorities subsequently declared the reactor damaged beyond repair and had it taken offline. Reactor 1 was decommissioned in November 1996 as part of a deal between the Ukrainian government and international organizations such as the IAEA to end operations at the plant. On 15 December 2000, then-President Leonid Kuchma personally turned off Reactor 3 in an official ceremony, effectively shutting down the entire plant transforming the Chernobyl plant from energy producer to energy consumer.

The United Nations Scientific Committee of the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), is an organization set up as a...

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