World History/ Chernobyl term paper 13535

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At approximately 1:24 on the morning of April 26th, 1986, a terrible explosion occurred in Ukraine changing lives in the surrounding areas, as well as minds in the rest of the world, for decades to come. On the night preceding this event, there were experiments being conducted in the nuclear power plant, Chernobyl, testing the reactors for tasks that they were not intended for. Through this, many safety standards were broken due to lack of communication. In one of the four reactors, two explosions occurred and left the reactor core exposed. The roof of the reactor was torn off and many fires began inside and outside of the reactor. Large amounts of radioactive material and gases were released into the surrounding air. The larger radionuclides were left near the plant and the smaller ones traveled up to one kilometer in the air and were carried towards the Nordic countries. The plant continued to release radioactive material for ten days. The radioactive waste released was carried on by the winds and weather and moved southward towards Europe.

The first day about twenty-five percent of the total radiation was released and, in the following nine days, the remainder was released. The plant stopped the release on May 9 by using liquid nitrogen to cool the core. Radioactive material was first noticed in Sweden two days following the initial explosion. Once the winds changed, countries other than the Nordics started detecting highly radioactive materials in the environment. As the radiation traveled, the Scandinavian scientist realized something went wrong at Chernobyl...being the first people outside the Soviet Union to realize the problem. People in the Ukraine kept the disaster tight within their country for as long as possible, to see if they could salvage the problem before anyone were to find out.

It appeared that the local authorities did their best to hide the incident. It took three days alone, before the government would admit to any accident occuring at the Chernobyl power plant. The Ukranian Environment Minister believes "If we were informed about the real truth...in that period especially for the children, I think the damage from Chernobyl, damage for our health [would not be] so great." Other officials beleive the deaths related to the accident at Chenobyl have reached 4,300 persons and the accident affected the health of apx. 3.5 million people.

Works cited:

Greenwald, John. Time Magazine. "Deadly Meltdown." May 12, 1986.

Greenwald, John. Time Magazine. "More Fallout From Chernobyl." May 19, 1986.

Patel, Hetal D. "Implications of Future Chernobyl's" http://wwwbcf.usc.deu~meshkati/pap1.html

Word Count: 420

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