Chernobyl: How Deep Were the Wounds & What’s Life After 34 Years of Worst Nuclear Outbreak

  • Published Date : Jul 2023

The wounds of Chernobyl disaster are deeper than they look - the worst accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine shook the world in terror, permanently altered a region and left many lives affected with radioactive radiations.

The April 1986 nuclear disaster was the product of the serious mistakes by the plant operators, workers violated safety protocols and power surged inside the plant exploding and burning the Chernobyl reactor killing 31 people on the spot and affecting millions of lives in future.

Even with attempts to shut down the reactor completely, another power flow triggered a chain reaction of bursts inside. Finally, the nuclear core was uncovered, spewing radioactive substances in atmosphere. The xenon gas and about half of the iodine and cesium, and It was projected that about 13%-30% of this product made it to the atmosphere in the Chernobyl 4 reactor which had 192 tons of radioactive fuel.

Scientists estimated the zone around the nuclear disaster will not be inhabitant for more than 20,000 years. After a few months of Chernobyl reactor 4 nuclear power plant went in fire in 1986, then a steel and concrete nuclear casket was made to contain the radioactive material inside.

People living in 30 km radius were evacuated and resettled in shelters; around 116,000 people were rescued.

The 1986 Nuclear Outbreak

  • The disaster is estimated to cost some $235 billion in damages

  • 23% of Belarus’s territory was contaminated, resulting in loss of its agricultural land

  • In the initial five years of disaster, Cancer cases among children increased by more than 90%.

  • During the first twenty years post-disaster, around 5,000 cases of thyroid cancer were recorded in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

  • Some 19000 people were getting government compensation as they lose their earning hand in the disaster of Chernobyl.

  • Some Estimates by the Union of Concerned Scientists range from 4,000 to 27,000 while Greenpeace estimates that between 93,000 - 200,000. The actual death rate cannot be estimated as more people died due to the effect of radiation later on.

To get over the economic loss caused due to the accident Belarus and Ukraine possessed 18% Chernobyl tax. Ukraine attracted most attention because it suffered the nuclear disaster.

300$ million were signed by the G7 countries for the construction of the resettlement shelter for the survivors of the disaster, the total estimated cost for this project was 760$ million. EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) was to realize rest of the funds.

The shelter was originally planned to be completed by 2005, however, the construction initiated in 2010, and the deadline planned by 2005 postponed to 2012 then 2013, so on till finally 2018, taking the New Safe Quarantine Resettlement Project cost exceeding 3 billion euros.

It’s been 34 years since the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster, but the effects can be seen alive. Chernobyl is a ghostly town now. Forests near are called as red forests as the woods went brown and reddish due to radioactive exposure in the air. Although majority of the area was exiled, long-term effects are still visible. Diseases have developed over the years after the disaster upon people who worked at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, or in the surrounding places.

Some diseases that are more widespread as a result of the radiation contact from the accident include, cardiovascular disease, cataracts to the eyes, psychological effects, birth flaws such as hydrocephalus, as well as amplified risk for cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and papillary thyroid cancer. Other effects include unusable land for farming or unstable livestock from the accident. The world has already been dazed by one Chernobyl and exclusion zone. It cannot pay for any more. It must learn lessons from the happenings in and around Chernobyl on April 26, 1986.

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