Chernobyl 30 Year Later: Four hundred times more radioactive material was released from Chernobyl than by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Photo: Michael Forster Rothbart
On 26 April 1986 the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a catastrophic nuclear accident that released a significant fraction of reactor core inventory. It caused widespread health and environmental effects. The radioactive particles released into the atmosphere spread over much of the western USSR and Europe and there are still frightening levels of measurable radiation at Chernobyl. A world wide coalition has been formed to deal with the on-going problem that is still being fought, 30 years later. There is a “zone of alienation” that is virtually uninhabited – although brave workers and about 300 residents – crazy enough to ignore the hazard – and have refused to leave. Officials estimate the area will not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years.
Some residents refuse to leave: Photo: Michael Forster Rothbart
60 Minutes has reported that: 1,400 workers from over 40 different countries, are building a giant arch to cover and encase the damaged reactor. It’s larger than the Statue of Liberty and wider than Yankee Stadium — the largest movable structure on Earth.
The area is being reclaimed by forest, wildlife but even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the giant arch are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days off.
What’s alarming – then and now – is that the accident occurred during an experiment scheduled to test a potential safety emergency core cooling feature, which took place during a normal shutdown procedure. On that disastrous day reactor four suffered a catastrophic power increase, which led to explosions in its core.
The government coverup of the Chernobyl disaster was a catalyst for “glasnost”, which paved the way for reforms leading and set the stage for the Soviet collapse.
Via: Wikipedia, 60 minutes