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The Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Updated on June 4, 2013
Gas mask with a doll
Gas mask with a doll

Today is a sad day for the Ukrainian people. Various ceremonies were held in numerous countries to commemorate the event. 25 years ago, a great disaster fell upon Chernobyl; the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. During a safety test, there was a sudden power output so an emergency shutdown was attempted causing an even more dangerous power output. One of the reactors then exploded and a series of explosions occurred. The explosions threw in the air a highly radioactive cloud that reached Russia and some other European countries. But we all know too well what happened that day. Many different documents report different numbers as too how many people died due to the incident. 31 deaths happened at the nuclear site between the workers of the power plant. Therefore, the total number throughout Europe and Russia are estimated to be around 4000 by the World Health Organization, Greenpeace sets that number to 200 000 and Russia published Chernobyl, a document that states that 985 000 people died between that day and 2004. That is without talking about the brave men who went to the Chernobyl site in order to close the the reactors. They were doomed to die in the next month or so after being exposed to the radioactivity.

Chernobyl reactor as we can see it from Pripyat, which is now a ghost city.
Chernobyl reactor as we can see it from Pripyat, which is now a ghost city.

Pripyat is the closest city from Chernobyl's reactor. It is now a ghost town but when the incident occurred, evacuation did not go as it was supposed to. Evacuation started on April 27 at 14:00. That is 24 hours after the explosion and the radioactive particles certainly reached the city by then. The residents were told to take only the most valuable things and leave their belongings behind. They were told they could return to their homes in three days. All the belongings are still in the houses as nobody ever returned to the city after.

Explosion at Fukushima nuclear power plant
Explosion at Fukushima nuclear power plant

Did we learn something from that day?

The consequences are horrific. Several thousands of people were victim of body mutations due to the radioactive fallout. Others died from cancer years after the accident.I will not add any picture as they are easy to find all over the web because the nature of the pictures can disgust some people. New cancers were diagnosed as well as new sicknesses. The consequences were dramatic.

But did humanity learn something from that? When you play with fire and burn yourself you will take more precautions so that it doesn't happen again. So why should some governments still use nuclear power? Do we still have to be on the verge of another dramatic episode to stop using it?

The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 2011 greatly damaged the nuclear power plant Fukushima. The danger of another nuclear disaster haunts the Japanese since the earthquake. Radioactivity has been reported in several regions around Fukushima. Montreal, New York, Austria, California and other regions have reported a rise in radioactivity.

Today, reports from Japan state that threats of a nuclear disaster are less worse than a month ago. Ultimately, if it happened, what would you do? I live in the east coast of Canada and it would certainly reach my region. Would the governments be able to contain the threat inside other countries and assure the safety of the citizens? Quite doubtful.


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    • The Reminder profile image

      The Reminder 6 years ago from Canada


      I have not seen Into Eternity and I will thouroughly check into it. Indeed, the society of today tries to improve the production of energy but they also improve the risk of a catastrophic disaster.

    • susiequeue profile image

      susiequeue 6 years ago from Glasgow, UK

      It definitely is a timely reminder that we really do need to think seriously about these difficult questions. For anyone who hasn't seen it I would also thoroughly recommend the film "Into Eternity" (broadcast as "Nuclear Eternity" in the UK) - it was on here in Britain recently, a fascinating but frightening topic.