An Analysis of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Its Health Impacts on Local and Global Scales

An Analysis of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Its Health Impacts on Local and Global Scales

  • Submitted By: imYANsquared
  • Date Submitted: 07/14/2011 4:48 AM
  • Category: Science
  • Words: 391
  • Page: 2
  • Views: 601

On April 25th, 1986, the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the town of Pripyat, Ukraine, was scheduled to undergo a controlled and scheduled maintenance shutdown in order to test the generator's ability to generate electricity for the plant's safety systems (Dyatlov). At the time, the power plant had dual diesel generators which could power up in 40 seconds once electrical input was needed. However, scientists realized that by connecting the diesel generators to the reactor, the energy from the reactor could be used to immediately start up the diesel generators, cut down the power-up timeframe of 40 seconds, and allow for the generators to spin using their own momentum (Sigwart). However, flawed chemical and electrical conditions combined with an inexperienced crew of scientists allowed for this safety experiment to erupt into a nuclear disaster.

Having followed the safety guidelines for the experiment, the scientists were unaware of the hazardous conditions brewing in the reactor. At a certain point, the reactor started gaining energy and drastically increasing in electrical potential far beyond allowable maximums. Finally, the immensely high temperatures inside the reactor caused steam to blow off the top of the reactor, allowing in oxygen from the air that reacted with a graphite moderator to explode and create an intense graphite fire that spread radioactive particles and radiation (Dyatlov).

The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, concluded that the radiation following the explosion at the nuclear plant could be linked to the consequent development of Acute Radiation Sickness, ARS, amidst 151 cleanup "liquidators" out of a total force of 211,000 (according to Soviet sources) to 800,000 (according to United Nations estimates) cleanup workers (IAEA). Out of the 151 affected by ARS, 28 died within several months, 19 died within eight years, and the remaining106 were treated (IAEA).

Regional human health effects were...

Similar Essays