Chernobyl Essay, Research Paper
Chernobyl: The Dark Side Of Technological Progress
The development of the civilization brought up many discoveries that completely changed the way people lived. The inventions of the wheel, gunpowder, elecricity, radio and television, all of them affected mankind in their time. Nuclear power was one of those inventions. It provided a lot of energy from a very little amount of material. Although we have received many benefits from our modern advanced science and technology, we must realize that there are negative aspects of what the technology can bring us as well. The Chernobyl disaster proved it. The effect of this accident spread throughout the world and will last longer that most people can imagine.
Nobody knew where Chernobyl was before the accident took place. As a result of a massive explosion on April 26, 1986, Chernobyl suddenly became the worlds foremost symbol of technological disaster. There are many factors that led to the accident, such as human error and ineffective training, but the most important is the safety issue. That day, the operators decided to make a test in order to check if the generators would work properly in case of power loss. They weren’t completely informed about the current condition of the reactor, which was dangerous if not operated under normal conditions. During the test the cooling water wasn’t given to the reactors and the pressure went 100 times normal. As a result, the explosion occurred that blew off the wall and the roof of the reactor building. After that over 100,000,000 curies of radionuclides were released into the open air. According to American scientists, the destroyed reactor liberated hundreds of times more radiation that was produced by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seventy percent of radiation fell on Belarus, but radioactive particles landed on different areas as far as thousands of miles away.
The consequences of the Chernobyl disaster were terrible. It is estimated that over 15 million people have been victimized by the tradegy in some way. The Chernobyl had both physical and psychological effects on people. There has been a significant increase in cancer, leukemia and other radiation induced diseases. Many physical disorders are detected among the children. Lands, crops and water were contaminated. People were forced to evacuate their homes because the land became inhabitable. One of the most damaging consequences has been anxiety and stress in people’s lives. Every day people were worried about what could happen next; could there be another accident? Will the food they eat be contaminated? Will their children be all right? This has caused many health problems; and that might me just the beginning. Among the scientists, there is a deep concern about long-term genetic damage to future generations.
The main problem about the Chernobyl tradegy still remains 12 years after the accident. Nobody knows what to do with thousands of square kilometers of contaminated field and forests, rivers and lakes. Until 1991, the government of USSR supported a program for liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident; there was a huge financing from the country’s budget. In 1991 USSR broke into many separate republics. Belarus, one-third territory of which was contaminated with radiation and which people suffered the most, remained one on one with the problem which demands billions of dollars. In this situation, people really needed help from all the countries in order to liquidate the consequemces of the explosion in one single country which cannot financially afford it by itself. Many countries provided humanitarian help to hospitals, sick people and children. But it was just a drop into the sea. High developed and rich countries have to unite and find the money to destroy the damaged reactor, to restore the normal work of agriculture, to build modern hospitals and diagnostic centres equipped with necessary technology. If its not done now, the contaminated countries might turn into dying deserts.
The Chernobyl accident was a real tragedy that affected the whole world. It proved that one man’s error, compounded by a faulty technical design, can lead to thousands of others’ deaths. It also proved that although many powerful and helpful technological systems were created, people still don’t completely understand the danger they represent when these are operated incorrectly. That includes nuclear warheads, power plants, different kinds of weapons, etc. We should learn from our mistakes. Future Chernobyls will not happen if we begin to take safety issue more seriously.