The disaster at the Chernobyl Power Station, USSR, in 1986 remains perhaps the most devastating nuclear power disaster in history. Following a critically-acclaimed HBO TV series dramatising the fallout of the disaster, more and more people are showing interest in learning more about what went down in the mid to late 80s.
It’s safe to say that the world has learned from Chernobyl, though to devastating ends. Here are a few interesting facts about the Chernobyl disaster which are worth remembering.
The Chernobyl disaster, in the simplest of terms, was a nuclear power station failure which resulted in the deaths of 30 people. 28 of these people died as a result of ensuing radiation poisoning.
Explosions at the power plant took place on April 26th, 1986. This allowed for toxic fumes and emissions to be carried away on the wind. It is thought that excess steam and hydrogen became too much to handle.
However, these deaths are just the immediate fatalities. It’s estimated by various sources that hundreds of thousands of people have died early as a result of ensuing radiation. This applies to clean-up teams at the site, as well as those elsewhere who may have come into contact with radioactive debris.
Duga, a Soviet over-the-horizon radar, Chernobyl, Ukraine
The failure is attributed to a flaw in the design of the power reactors, which in turn was not operated by staff equipped to handle its flaws.
Chernobyl itself is relatively deserted. There are people who live in and around the areas who have been relocated and moved on a number of times. However, the town of Chernobyl is generally referred to as a ghost town following the disaster.
It is the city of Pripyat which bore the brunt the closest, however. This is because Pripyat was only two miles from the power plant site. As with Chernobyl itself, Pripyat’s residents have similarly faced relocation over the years.
Radiation from the disaster is still causing genetic abnormalities in animals born close to the disaster site. However, they do not appear to experience any further suffering or discomfort.
The Chernobyl incident had a wide-ranging effect on the local environment. The local woodlands and forestry died due to radiation portion, tinting trees a deep red and ginger. This gave the zone the local name of the ‘Red Forest’.
The area is, even approaching 40 years on, still far from returning to normal. People who once moved out of the area are beginning to resettle, and the area is also growing in dark tourism popularity thanks to interest from the HBO series.
The lessons learned from Chernobyl include, naturally, modifications to reactor equipment which would prevent the risk of such disasters occurring again. Chernobyl opened the world’s eyes to the potential damage nuclear power can do when it is not safely deployed.
Chernobyl power plant actually continued to operate until 2000, though it will not be fully decommissioned until around 2028, 42 years after the disaster first struck.
Do you know any interesting facts about Chernobyl disaster you’d like to share? Post them in the comments section below!