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Chernobyl: a men-made disaster

It was April 26th 1986 when the reactor n.4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded and gave rise to the most devastating accidents recorded in the history of nuclear energy. The amount of radioactive material released was massive, a toxic cloud heavily contaminated Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation and driven by atmospheric currents, arrived to all Europe, but with less extent.

The accident happened during an experiment that had to verify the safe operation of the reactor under conditions of momentary blackouts. During this simulation the violations of safety standards, a variety of human errors, a number of serious flaws in the structure of the reactor, caused extreme instability and two violent explosions: the building was literally rushed and uncovered tons of highly radioactive materials.

The explosion killed two employees and exposed 28 workers to lethal doses of radiation. In addition 106 people were hospitalized for many months. During the long clean-up process, a further 750,000 workers, were also exposed to varying doses of radiation over several years. On top of this, over 350,000 people were forced to leave their homes.

While there are no winners, in this case there are many losers: Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Europe, their peoples and last but not least the whole world because this was not only a Ukrainian problem, it is still a lasting issue not only for neighboring countries because it is affecting people lives not only through health and food but also through environmental changes.

The world wide impact of man-made disasters, such as Chernobyl as well as the most recent one in Fukushima in 2011, show that there are negative ecological effects from globalization and technology, they can fail and lead to disastrous consequences for nature and for man himself. The damages caused by this terrible accident, contaminated not only Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, but also Europe. The consequences of this contamination will extend for years. The incidence rate of cancer, leukemia, birth defects and other serious illnesses has increased in these areas and will be even higher in the coming years. These effects are also transmitted from generation to generation, and not only this contamination is a problem for human health, but also for that of animals, crops and lands.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456957/html/nn1page1.stm
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/chernobyl-accident/

Francesca Urso (Dubai Campus)

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