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Debby and Eric Berggren had some questions for us about the Chernobyl disaster. We did not know a lot about the disaster so we did some research. Basic information we learned was that the Chernobyl disaster was in the northern part of Ukraine just north of the capital, Kiev. The disaster happened in 1986 because technicians disabled an emergency shutdown mechanism and reactor 4 exploded. The Technicians released into the atmosphere radioactive material from the reactor core. The Soviets did not tell the rest of the world that there was a problem. The soviets never acknowledged that there was ever a problem until the Swedish scientists figured out there was. This was the biggest nuclear power plant disaster ever.
What caused the accident? The accident was caused by a flawed reactor in reactor 4. The Chernobyl investigator Valery Legasov knew something was wrong. He flew over Chernobyl and saw the glow of radioactive material inside. He insisted on the people of Pripyat, a small town a few miles away from the power plant, to evacuate. At this point of time he knew there was not an easy way to stop it. He had a helicopter dump lead and other materials to help stop radioactive material from spreading as quickly. Legasov’s career and name was ruined along with his health. He committed suicide two years after the disaster occurred.
What Is the Chernobyl plant like now? Currently scientists are building the dome next to Reactor 4 on a platform and later the platform is going to slide over the reactor. This will prevent almost any radioactive material from going into the atmosphere. The area is still very radioactive, and there is still some radioactive material under the rubble. The scientists and workers need to wear protective clothing to prevent their bodies from receiving too much radiation.
Is it safe for animals? Almost the entire area near Chernobyl is a wildlife preserve because no people want to live there. Many of the animal’s cells have taken in a lot of radiation from the reactor failure. Their cells DNA mutated from the radiation. The people have been affected over time although in the first few days many people died because of the high amounts of radiation. The peoples DNA who lived near Chernobyl were greatly affected without realizing it.
How long will the radiation last? The radiation in the power plant will last for a long time because the scientists do not have a way to empty out the plant without releasing any other the materials. The scientists have created the dome to trap the radiation inside but it is unclear to when the scientists can do work in the reactor.
What happened to the communities near Chernobyl? The communities near Chernobyl like Pripyat were abandoned because of all the radiation, but currently some scientists, peasants and other people are coming back. Some are even using the natural resources although there is a high chance the resources contain high levels of radioactive waste.
Is the US involved at all in the clean up process? The US has not done too much although when the disaster occurred in 1986, the US took some people from Ukraine to live in our country and get our medical treatment. Currently the Ukraine government and different Nuclear power groups are gathering money to make the dome and protect the injured citizens. The US has tried to make sure the same disaster will not happen again.
How has the Chernobyl accident made nuclear power plants safer today? The people working at Chernobyl were not all qualified and trained well enough to run a nuclear power plant. Currently the power plants in the world have higher qualifications to work in the plants. Also, other safety precautions have been made to help prevent this disaster from happening again.
Many cities in the Ukraine and other parts of Europe are under high amounts of radioactivity because of this terrible disaster. Many people have been injured from mutilation or from getting cancer. Many people were killed from being exposed to too much radiation. This was a terrible disaster and many other countries have learned from Chernobyl’s mistakes. The people at Chernobyl are continuing building and researching to make it a safer place.
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