Chernobyl Disaster

By: Megan O'Steen and Austin Gould

Background:

Chernobyl is a city in Ukraine and on April 26 1986, disaster stuck when the local Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant located 14.5 kilometres (9 miles) away from the city's center exploded leaking radiation into the land and air around. Ukraine was still a part of Russia when the disaster occurred.
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Outcome:

Scientists say that radiation will affect the Chernobyl area for 48,000 years although it will be safe enough for humans to begin repopulating the area in about 600 years. However, there is still one woman who still lives in Chernobyl today despite the harsh environment.

Before and after pictures:

Before:

After:

Today:

There are two public views on the Chernobyl disaster based on mass media:

Man

The first view, which is found here http://www.nei.org/master-document-folder/backgrounders/fact-sheets/chernobyl-accident-and-its-consequences, states that the the blame was on 6 human error's that had occurred on that day. According to this article, operators took actions in violation of the plant’s technical specifications. Operators ran the plant at very low power, without adequate safety precautions and without properly coordinating or communicating the procedure with safety personnel. The reactors, being extremely unstable on low power, then erupted a power surge, releasing radiation particles into the surrounding environment. The public who understood that it was a result of human error were outraged when "Experts state that if at least one violation out of the six had been removed, it (the explosion) wouldn't have happened," said Valery Legasov, deputy director of the Kurchatov Atomic Energy Institute and one of the first Soviet experts to visit the plant after the accident.

Nature

The second argument is that the nuclear reactor meltdown was a complete accident, and had no way of being controlled or stopped by the workers. According to World-Nuclear.org, the interaction of very hot fuel with the cooling water led to fuel fragmentation along with rapid steam pressure and an increase of pressure. The design characteristics of the reactor were such that substantial damage to even three or four fuel assemblies can - and did - result in the destruction of the reactor. The overpressure caused the 1000 [ton] cover plate of the reactor to become partially detatched, rupturing the fuel channels and jamming all the control rods, which by that time where only halfway down. Intense steam generation then spread throughout the whole core (fed by water dumped into the core due to the rupture of the emergency cooling circut) caused a steam explosion and releasing fission products to the atmosphere. About two to three seconds later, a second explosion threw out fragments from fuel channels and hot graphite. There is some dispute over the second explosion among experts, but it is likely to be caused by the meltdown.

Fun Fact:

People In Chernobyl

There are 10 women who still live in Chernobyl today, as they live alone since their husbands smoked daily, and died later of cancer.