The Chernobyl tragedy was the result of a nuclear accident on 26 April 1986 at reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the town of Pripyat in the Ukrainian SSR (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic).
The 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion spread a radioactive cloud over most of the erstwhile Soviet Union, presently the territory of Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. There were nearly 8.4 million people exposed to radiation in the three nations.
WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT DAY
The accident happened on April 25-26, 1986, when a badly planned experiment was attempted by technicians at reactor Unit 4. Workers planned to use the downtime to test whether the reactor could still be cooled if the plant lost power. Staff shut down the power-regulating mechanism of the reactor and its emergency protection devices, removing most of the control rods from its core while enabling the reactor to continue to operate at 7 percent power. These errors were exacerbated by others, and the chain reaction in the heart went out of control at 1:23 AM on April 26. A massive fireball was ignited by multiple explosions and blew off the reactor's heavy steel and concrete lid. This and the resulting fire in the centre of the graphite reactor released vast quantities of radioactive material into the atmosphere, where air currents carried it far away. A partial core meltdown also occurred.
The 30,000 inhabitants of Prypyat were evacuated on April 27. A cover-up was attempted, but abnormally high levels of wind-transported radioactivity were detected by Swedish monitoring stations on 28 April and an explanation was pressed. The Soviet government confirmed that an accident had occurred in Chernobyl, setting off an international uproar about the dangers of radioactive pollution. Both the heat and the radioactivity escaping from the core of the reactor were contained by May 4, but at considerable risk to staff. At some 800 temporary locations, radioactive waste was buried, and the extremely radioactive reactor core was sealed in a concrete-and-steel sarcophagus later that year (which was later deemed structurally unsound).
LONG TERM IMPACTS OF THE DISASTER
It's been 30 years since the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, but the consequences still live on. Chernobyl is a ghost city today, since it was evacuated shortly after the disaster. Due to the radiation exposure that can be picked up, it has since been considered to be a dangerous and unlivable location. In order to ensure that this form of crisis can never happen again, legislation and emergency preparedness precautions have been placed. According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in 1986, approximately 115,000 people were evacuated by the government of Ukraine from the most highly polluted areas. While the vast majority of the region has been evacuated, long-term effects still remain. In the years since the disaster, health effects and diseases have grown for people who worked or were in the local area at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Cataracts to the eyes, cardiovascular disorder, psychological consequences, birth defects such as hydrocephalus, as well as elevated risk of cancers such as papillary thyroid cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia are some of the diseases that are more prevalent due to the radiation exposure from the accident. Other consequences involve unusable land from the explosion for farming or dysfunctional livestock.
Psychological symptoms refer to the subconscious, thoughts, or responses to such occurrences. A disastrous incident such as the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, according to Zablotska (2016), had many psychological impacts on workers as well as ordinary citizens in the surrounding areas. These effects can never vanish, as decades after the explosion, many individuals still have symptoms. A panic among many was triggered by the absence of information provided to the general public about what had happened. For those affected by exposure, the mystery of radiation exposure has also triggered anxiety. Owing to the fact that they are worried about being exposed to that much radiation and the illnesses that accompany a high dose, some individuals have developed extreme anxiety.
Since radioactive fuel and isotopes have been spread over a wide area, the soil around Chernobyl can not be used for farming. Private farm owners were not educated in the first few weeks after the accident about the dangers associated with radioactive isotopes and fuel particles in the air and now on their farms. Their farm animals, such as cows, ingested the radioactive material sprinkled on their hay or other feed, and then produced milk which was then drunk by the farm owners. The milk contained very high levels of iodine-131, which led to elevated thyroid cancer rates, as stated earlier. Iodine-131 also polluted the water supply and had the same effect on individuals as contaminated milk does. One of the leading causes of thyroid cancer in young kids and teens is polluted water and milk.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO AVOID IT?
Strict emergency preparedness plans: even with the weak construction of the Chernobyl reactor, authorities could have prevented much of the population's radiation exposures with an appropriate emergency response.
Warning and notification: the operators of the Chernobyl plant concealed the disaster from the authorities and the local public, and the government did not even initiate restricted evacuations until about 36 hours after the accident occurred. At any nuclear power plant facility IN USA, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission posts resident inspectors to ensure that the plants comply with federal safety standards.
Food chain protection: Because the authorities did not reveal the specifics of the Chernobyl disaster immediately, many people ingested contaminated milk and food unknowingly. This, in the United States, will not be the case. The federal government would closely track and test food and water sources that could possibly become polluted, as it did during the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in 1979.