The Accident

So far to date the worst accident has been from a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, former U.S.S.R.(now Ukraine). While testing reactor number four a number a safety precautions were disregarded. The reactor exploded after a chain reaction occur inside.

The accident killed over 30 people and radiation spilled out into the surrounding areas. For a 20 mile radius people were evacuated. 135,000 in total. The Ukraine Radiological Institute suggests that as many as 2,500 deaths could be contributed to the accident. The effects of it are still being felt today.

The Causes

  • Design fault in the reactor
    The reactor suffers instability at low power. It will experience rapid uncontrollable power increases. If this is not stopped very quickly then it is very hard to stop. It was not stopped in Chernobyl.
  • Violation of Procedures
    There were only 6-8 rods used in the test when the standards say that a minimum of 30 rods were required to retain control of the reactor.
    The emergency cooling system was disabled in the reactor.
  • Communications Breakdown
    There was not a required exchange of information between the test team and the team in charge of the operation of the reactor.

    Environmental Consequences

    Radioactive fallout has reached all corners of the earth. With measurable effects all over the northern hemisphere. The local ecosystems received lethal doses of radiation poisoning. The biggest effect was on coniferous trees and small mammals within 10 km of the reactor. Most of these plants and animals died, or in the animals cases had birth defects on the young.

    Human Consequences

    The number of deformities in children has risen 83% since the Chernobyl. The increase in the number of cases of cleft palate, Down's syndrome and deformed limbs and organs is the most common defects from the fallout. Even areas where the fallout was light has had an increase of 24%.
    Thyroid cancers has also increased dramatically. Thyroid cancers have been linked to other nuclear and atomic bomb exposure.
    There has also been an increase of psychological health disorders since the accident. Because of lack of public information, the stress and trauma of the evacuation and for the safety of their children.

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