The Man-Made Disaster: Chernobyl

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Gülin Langbroek 11.1
THE MAN-MADE DISASTER: CHERNOBYL
“It is one of histories ironies that the worst nuclear accident began as a test to improve safety.”, states Snell (1988). The Soviets wanted to find out how the Chernobyl power plant would cope with a sudden power loss, therefore the experiment tested how long a spinning turbine could provide electric power to certain systems in the plant. Like many accidents, the Chernobyl accident resulted from a combination of human error and weaknesses in the design of the plant. The man-made disaster occured at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the former Ukranian Republic belonging to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and near the borders of Belarus and the Russian Federation. Following a short explanation of the health and social impacts of the accident, this essay will discuss the errors in judgment and biases that went on while running the Chernobyl power plant.

As a result of the accident, tons of radioactive material was released to the air, still posing a threat to living beings in that region. The radioactive doses caused long term health effects ranging from thyroid cancer to leukemia. The Chernobyl area was also connected directly with the river systems of the Ukranian Republic, causing destruction of biological life in rivers and also deaths of people who had consumed river water. It is also a fact that cleaning the area was just as dangerous to those people who had to do it as they were exposed to higher doses of radiation. Agricultural regions near Chernobyl had caused the production of foods such as milk and vegetables with radioactive material contamination. Lots of people were forced to migrate from contaminated areas to uncontaminated areas, creating social problems such as loss of staff, no job availability and many more difficulties which made everyday life miserable. Overall, the Chernobyl accident has caused great distress and casualties in the USSR and European countries....
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