What happened in Chernobyl?

What happened in Chernobyl on April 26, 1986

On April 26, 1986, a major accident occurred at Unit 4 of the nuclear power station at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the former USSR.

The operating crew was planning to test whether the turbines could produce sufficient energy to keep the coolant pumps running in the event of a loss of power until the emergency diesel generator was activated.

Chernobyl cause

Сhernobyl cause of Disaster

To prevent any interruptions to the power of the reactor, the safety systems were deliberately switched off. To conduct the test, the reactor had to be powered down to 25 percent of its capacity. This procedure did not go according to plan and the reactor power level fell to less than 1 percent. The power therefore had to be slowly increased. But 30 seconds after the start of the test, there was an unexpected power surge. The reactor’s emergency shutdown (which should have halted a chain reaction) failed.

Chernobyl causes and consequences:

According to the official version, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant personnel was to blame for the accident. In reality, the catastrophe was caused by the shortcomings of the design of the control rods of the nuclear reactor, which was used in the power unit No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. These rods were made in such a way that when they were introduced into the active zone of the reactor, under certain conditions, with a small operational reserve of reactivity, they did not retard the nuclear reaction, as they should, but accelerated it

Сhernobyl cause of explosion

On April 26, 1986, the constructive shortcomings of the RBMK reactor manifested themselves in full force, the nuclear reaction quickly increased, the reactor capacity was 100 times higher than the nominal one, and an explosion occurred. In addition, the reactor designers did not warn the reactor personnel about the defects in the design of the RBMK reactor, although they were aware of them, so the personnel could not prevent the emergence of an emergency situation.

Chernobyl explosion


The 1000-tonne sealing cap on the reactor building was blown off

The reactor’s fuel elements ruptured and there was a violent explosion. The 1000-tonne sealing cap on the reactor building was blown off. At temperatures of over 2000°C, the fuel rods melted. The graphite covering of the reactor then ignited. The graphite burned for nine days, churning huge quantities of radiation into the environment. The accident released more radiation than the deliberate dropping of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in August 1945.

How was the fire on the Chernobyl nuclear power plant put out?

Initial attempts to extinguish the burning reactor involved fire fighters pouring cooling water into the reactor, and were abandoned after 10 hours. From 27 April to 5 May, more than 30 military helicopters flew over the burning reactor. They dropped 2400 tonnes of lead and 1800 tonnes of sand to try to smother the fire and absorb the radiation.

These efforts were also unsuccessful. In fact they made the situation worse: heat accumulated beneath the dumped materials. The temperature in the reactor rose again, along with the quantity of radiation emerging from it. In the final phase of fire fighting, the core of the reactor was cooled with nitrogen. Not until 6 May were the fire and the radioactive emissions under control.

These people were termed ‘liquidators’

Despite the obvious dangers the response to the disaster needed people. Not just a few but thousands of people whose lives and health were sacrificed in vain attempts to contain the disaster. These people were termed ‘liquidators‘.

The 600 men of the plant’s fire service and the operating crew were themost severely irradiated group. In this group 130 men were irradiated with doses equivalent to 650 years worth of a radiation worker’s annual limit. Thousands of military personal and other workers were drafted in to move deadly radioactive material with little or no protection.

31 workers died shortly afterwards. A total of between 600,000 and 800,000 men were involved in the clean-up operations in Chernobyl up to 1989. Of these men, 300,000 received radiation doses 500 times the limit for the public over one year. Today, the ones who still survive are still suffering from the damage to their health.

How many of them have died to date from the disaster is a controversial question. According to government agencies in the three former Soviet States affected, about 25,000 “liquidators” have so far died. Estimates provided by the liquidator associations in the three countries are well in excess of the official figures. The Chernobyl Forum’s 2005 Report, on the other hand, attributes a far lower number of liquidator deaths to the reactor disaster.

These discrepancies in numbers are due to different methods of assessment. Also the liquidator statistics (number of casualties and amount of radiation received) were distorted by the Soviet authorities so definitive numbers may never be known.

The end of the disaster?

On 22 December 1988, Soviet scientists announced that the sarcophagus now enclosing the reactor was designed for a lifetime of only 20 to 30 years.

Three years after the nuclear accident, the Soviet government halted construction of the fifth and sixth reactor units at the Chernobyl nuclear power complex. After prolonged international negotiations, the entire complex was closed on 12 December 2000, 14 years after the accident.

Did chernobyl cause acid rain ?

This is a radioactive radar who can see how high the radioactive was. The more red it is the more dangerous it is.

Chernobyl cloud of radiation dangers

As a result of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, radioactive emissions reached a height of 1.5 meters. Blowing from the southeast, the wind spread an infected cloud over the territory of Scandinavia. Having flown over Scandinavia, it returned back to Ukraine. On the day of the accident, the direction of the wind changed to the west. The second polluted cloud swam across Poland to Czechoslovakia, then to Austria. In the mountain Alps it was cleared and returned to Poland. As far as we know today, there is no such place on Earth where the radioactive cloud contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster would not have left its mark. It flew around the world.

Chernobyl reactor

Did chernobyl cause cancer ?

The total number of deaths from cancer after strong exposure reached 4 thousand people. Another 5 thousand people were in a group that received a smaller but quite harmful dose of radiation. This is evidenced by the data of the IAEA and WHO.

At the same time, these organizations say that there is no evidence of increased mortality and morbidity among the 5 million people who still live in the contaminated territories of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Some doctors, scientists and doctors who live and work in these countries insist that the number of deaths due to radiation that has been released into the environment after the Chernobyl disaster can reach a million people.