On April 26th, 1986, the world witnessed an event that changed the lives of many people. At 1:23 in the morning, the unit four reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, setting fire to the night. The nearby town of Prypiat was awakened by the large clouds of smoke hovering in the sky. What they thought was a safe place, turned out to be deadly. The explosion released radiation into the atmosphere, which traveled to the surrounding areas of Chernobyl, which include Belarus, Russia, and several other European countries. Helicopters circling the area began smothering the fire with sand, clay, boron, lead, and liquid nitrogen until 600,000 conscripts were dispatched to Chernobyl to stop the mess. For years, children born in the area had a higher change of birth defects. Innocent people who had nothing to do with the accident saw their lives and those of their friends and families forever crippled. Hundreds of families lost their homes, because they were forced to evacuate the contaminated area. Thousands of hearts were down and broken. The Chernobyl nuclear accident still affects the world today. Some people believe that it caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was financially challenging for the USSR to deal with. The accident opened our eyes to the dangers of nuclear energy. The environment was severely contaminated in the areas nearby the accident site. The economy of the USSR was thrown out-of-whack. The adverse health effects on the citizens of Europe have been prevalent for many Douglas 2
generations and will continue to affect the world for many years. Some chemical compounds released into the atmosphere take hundreds to thousands of years to fully disappear. How can we expect the citizens of a country to trust the government when something such as Chernobyl happens? Because of the way that the reactors were designed, they were not able to stop radiation from escaping into the atmosphere. Human error and miscommunication between the power plant workers also contributed to the early-morning explosion. The most immediately affected areas were the Soviet countries of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine (Gavrilas). After the accident, it was predicted that the health issues would be minimal. However, it is obvious that the radioactive material that escaped into the atmosphere has greatly affected Europe. The safety of lack thereof of nuclear energy will forever be a question because of the incident at Chernobyl. Six hundred thousand people took part in liquidating effects of the disaster. One hundred thousand of them are dead or handicapped. Three hundred thousand people died from radiation sickness in Ukraine over the span of 14 years after the accident (Chernobyl Facts and Statistics). Thyroid cancer in children became more prevalent and predictions state that fifty thousand children in the area will develop it. Hospitals have been overloaded with patients whose problems are a result of the radiation from Chernobyl. Not many people died directly because of the accident, but living with such health problems is so difficult, maybe death would have been easier and more preferred by the victims. The children did not even have a chance to live before Chernobyl struck them with insufferable physical health issues. UNICEF (United Nations
Children’s Fund) works toward reminding the world that children of future generations (those born after the incident) are still suffering from the harsh effects of the disaster. One hundred and ninety tons of waste material, more waste than the Hiroshima bomb caused, contaminated the surrounding areas of Chernobyl (The Chernobyl Disaster). Twenty-eight emergency workers died from acute radiation syndrome and fifteen patients died from thyroid cancer immediately following the accident. The total number of deaths from cancers caused by the accident is at 4000 maximum out of 600,000 people who encountered the...