Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Essay

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Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

The Chernobyl disaster was the worst industrial disaster in the history of the world. On April 26, at 1:24am reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl plant blew up. The explosion was the result of an experiment that, due to human error, went awry. The operator at the time made the first mistake that lead to the disaster by disabling automatic shutdown mechanisms. When the operator then went to shut down the reactor from its unstable condition the poor design of the reactor and its systems caused a dramatic power surge within the reactor. Following the explosion radioactivity with an intensity equivalent to 500 of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima at the end of World War II was measured in the atmosphere.2
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The effort to control the damaged area of the Chernobyl plant was implemented and a giant concrete shell of sorts was built over the accident site. This shell is called a “sarcophagus” and its intention is to limit any further release of radioactive material. The main problem with the cleanup effort is that within this sarcophagus large holes and cracks are being discovered. Because of these cracks radioactive dust is escaping out into the environment. The Ukrainian authorities have been trying to find solutions for this problem and are seeking help from international communities.4 Since the disaster more than 300,000 people have been forced to move and have been relocated outside of the contaminated area. This may have been the best and only option in terms of exposure to radiation but the psychological distress that this relocation has caused is huge. To date, the impact on mental health is the largest public health problem resulting from the accident. Greenfacts.org states that “The affected populations are very anxious about the effect of radiation on health, and through their behavior, they may transfer that anxiety to their children…Although they are worried about their health, many
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