Chernobyl disaster: the true story of accident
The world witnessed its first piece of nuclear catastrophe when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed during the Second World War. The damage it did back then was evident and continues to do so even after 70 odd years, thousands died unfortunately because of the bombings and many are affected even to this day due to the radiation in the region. Widespread of cancer is just of the lethal outcomes, deformed babies, respiratory problems and many other diseases were part and parcel of this unfortunate incident.
Those two bombings were done deliberately by men during a war, but there are two other incidents of equal magnitude that were just accidents and ended up notching equal damage. The first one took place in April 1986 in Chernobyl, Ukraine - Chernobyl disaster. Another is Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident. One happened in Japan in 2011 at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant when courtesy of the Tohoku earthquake, the cooling passages went shut and due to inadequate cooling, the reactor no.4 erupted. It was followed by several nuclear explosions which resulted in millions of buildings being destroyed and over 400,000 people needing instant evacuation and help.
What happened at Chernobyl nuclear power plant?
The Chernobyl disaster commonly known as the Chernobyl accident due to the accidental nature of the eruption. On 24th April 1986, two days before the accident, the entire Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which was located 130km north of Kiev in the city of Chernobyl was working normally, the reactors were controlling nuclear heat and the cooling passages were adequately cooling the reactors. On 25th of April 1986, the power plant was set to experience a testing drill, during the drill the reactors’ power supply was supposed to be decreased to 700-800 megawatts. The main aim of the test to experiment the new turbine-generators to see whether they could provide proper power to the cooling pumps. The power plant had three shifts of workers, the morning shift, the evening shift and the night shift. The testing was supposed to take place on the morning of 25th April with the morning staff that were already informed and trained for the entire drill. They were supposed to run the turbine generators at full speed to check its efficiency to supply power to the cooling pumps that were working day and night to keep the heat levels of the reactors under control. Once the turbine generators were running at full, they were to be recorded to examine whether they had the capability to supply enough power supply to the cooling pumps. While the recording was finished, the turbine generator’s power was to be decreased systematically and the diesel generators were to take over the power supply work.
On the morning of the testing, while the reactors’ power supply was being lowered, one of the regional power stations went offline. This resulted in the delay of the testing as proper electrical power supply was needed to conduct the entire test. The delay went on for hours and by the time the electrical power supply resumed, the morning and evening shift workers had left for Pripyat, the town specifically designed for the workers of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The job came down to the workers of the night’s shift who were nowhere near as qualified or trained as the morning shift staff to successfully conduct the experiment. The unfortunate job was now to be handled by Leonid Toptunov, the operator controlling the power supply of the turbine generators and the switch over to the diesel generators. He was headed by Alexander Akimov, the in charge of night shift. It is said that Leonid should never have taken the task on his hands because he was only three months into the job but still decided to go on with it. At 1 o’clock in the night, the switchover between the generators completely failed. This resulted with no adequate supply to the cooling pumps which further resulted in boiling and overheating of reactor no.4. The pipes of the reactor no.4 containing 190 tons of fuel exploded and so did the entire building. The whole building and adjoining building caught fire immediately killing 30 workers of the power plant. One human error caused havoc at the power plant and in the entire city of Chernobyl.
After the Chernobyl disaster
Emergency was implemented straight away, and Ukraine, which was then part of the USSR back, then started the evacuation process. The explosion at reactor no.4 caused a huge radioactive cloud over the countries of present day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine itself. Thousands of flights were cancelled as the entire sky was covered with radiation. On the ground, over 330,000 people were evacuated from Chernobyl, Pripyat and adjoining villages and towns such as Radynka, Zavodne, etc. Thousands flee their homes leaving hosts of building abandoned. To this day Pripyat is a town of silence with only haunting memories the place. The ill effects of the explosion made the government declare a 30km exclusion zone within Chernobyl which is still intact today. The radiation levels have since been bought under control but atmosphere continues to hold traces of it. The estimated loss in terms of cost was an estimated US$ 300,000 but the loss of life is unmeasurable. Stats show that over 100,000 people died within one year of the explosion while the adverse effects of it still loom large over Ukraine. Over 24,000 children have caught diseases like cancer due to the radiation and thousands others too whose information could not be recorded. The government used every piece of equipment and man power to bring the explosion within manageable limits but it was a lost cause as radiation spread too rapidly killing several people including firefighters, workers, women and children.
The Chernobyl incident was the deadliest of its kind and even today it is remembered every year with memorials and prayers held in its memory on 26th of April. Chernobyl is only a shadow of the city it once was having an approximate population of 500 people. Chernobyl has now become a tourist spot, people book one day, two days and private tours of the city and Pripyat Ghost Town just to experience and gain knowledge of the place that once was a normal city.
Visit Chernobyl zone yourself!And You will see:
Pripyat Ghost TownPripyat ghost town is 1 of 7 scariest places around the world
Radar system Duga-1Radar Duga-1 was secret radiolocation station in USSR
And many more exciting places with Chernobyl tours