Chernobyl Essay, Research Paper
The catastrophe of Chernobyl
On April 26 1986, the reactor Unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was not working properly. When workers tried to fix this problem in reactor 4 by shutting down the its power regulating system and its emergency safety systems, this caused the most serious and dangerous accident in the history of nuclear power generation. The Chernobyl accident released large amounts of radioactive materials into in the atmosphere, which were carried by air currents. Soon after this catastrophe, these radioactive materials were spread by the wind over many countries, which polluted their atmosphere. The release of radioactivity had a deadly effect on people’s health and the environment; thus, before building such a plant, safety and emergency procedures must be guaranteed.
The radioactive materials, which have been released from the accident, affected people’s health for several years. The Russian government admitted the release of radioactivity, when the Swedish monitoring stations reported abnormal high levels of wind transported radioactivity as clarified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The government had to evacuate many areas and declare it as a ” Forbidden zone ” to protect people from radioactivity. Initially the accident caused the death of 32 people(B.Hummer,Nils “Chernobyl the accident” – http//:bcf.usc.edu/meshkati/chernobyl.html). The radioactive materials released from this accident are 200 times as much radioactivity as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions (Dahl,Birgitta “The Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster” http//:scf.usc.edu/ melan). Its human death losses and the amount of the radiation released into the environment, raised a large number of problems not only for the treatment of severely exposed persons, but also
The decisions that had to be taken considering the population.Thus, the number of people who were suffering from cancer was increasing and the number of thyroid cancers among children also increased in the most affected area: Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (Encyclopedia of Britannica online). Indeed, for several years, babies were born deformed and thousands were suffering from illnesses and cancer (which takes 8 to 10 years to appear), scientists and doctors were alerted because after only four years thyroid cancer increased much more than their expectations and its growth was more quickly than they expected and its pattern was different from the patterns known till now (Specter,M.Willy “The Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear power accidents” `The New York Times`, Sunday march 31,1996). All these factors have increased diseases among the people living in the exposed area and the workers involved in clearing the site after the accident. In my opinion, it is extremely difficult to imagine the psychological effects of Chernobyl accident on the people who experienced it. In addition, this emotional stress and other psychological factors are the main possible cause of people’s illnesses after the accident and in the future.
The radiation did not only affect people’s health but it polluted the environment and the territories beside the reactor. The area beside Chernobyl was heavily polluted because 70% of the radioactive substances fell on it (Encyclopedia of Britannica online). As stated by Najmedin Meshkati, a nuclear scientist; “The most dangerous thing was the food pollution (cesium, strontium, plutonium and americium) in milk and meat products are with concentration several hundred times higher than pre accident levels and often above the permitted levels and it will not disappear before 300 years” (B.Hummer,Nils “Chernobyl the accident”-http//:bcf.usc.edu/meshkati/chernobyl.html). Although, people know that these regions are heavily polluted and that meat and milk products have accumulated high quantities of radioactive substances, more than 1.8 million people are still living there (Specter,M.Willy “The Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear power accidents” `The New York Times`, Sunday march 31,1996).They drink radioactive fluids, eat radioactive substance (cesium131) will stay in the food and liquids and will not disappear completely before 300 years”(B.Hummer,Nils “Chernobyl the accident”-http//bcf.usc.edu/meshkati/chernobyl.html). The consequences of these substances will not be noticed but after many years and it will not only affect the present generation but also the future generation.
To insure maximum safety, emergency systems should be guaranteed before building any nuclear power plant. Thus, authorities must not ignore the possibility of the occurrence of an accident. The failure of workers to identify the problem between the systems to insure safety, and their failure to cooperate with each other is unacceptable. Workers must be trained to deal with real emergency situations in order to respond fast and to control it. However, after Chernobyl, solutions to insure the safety of large-scale technological systems have fallen into the categories of management and cost control (B.Hummer,Nils “Chernobyl the accident” -http//:bcf.usc.edu/meshkati/chernobyl.html).The cost to clean up the mess caused by the nuclear power plants are much more expensive than to install a new emergency system. Thus, the cost to maintain safety is negligible compared to the cost, which they have to pay if an accident happened. Moreover, authorities must be strict concerning the regulations of nuclear power plants.
Many improvements in radiation protection and emergency preparations have been
made, possible by the Chernobyl experience (Encyclopedia of Britannica online). The lessons drawn from the Chernobyl accident are valuable: human’s life is precious. Thus, human must learn from their mistakes and know how to prevent their happening especially if these mistakes may cost innocent people’s lives. An accident such as the catastrophe of Chernobyl is a descrase for humanity, that’s why we cannot afford such mistakes again. Because some mistakes are unforgiving.
1- B.Hummer,Nils “Chernobyl the accident” .
2- Dahl,Birgitta “The Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster” .
3- Encyclopedia of Britannica online .
4- Specter,M.Willy “The Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear power accidents” .`The
New York Times 96`.