The Chernobyl Incident: What actually happened?

The Chernobyl Incident: What actually happened?

The Largest nuclear catastrophe in human history, which emitted four hundred times more radiation than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, occurred in 1986 at Chernobyl-a nuclear power station near the city of Pripyat very close to the Belarusian border in the north of the soviet country of Ukraine.

At the time of the incident, four nuclear reactors designed in RBMK 1000 were in operating, with two more under construction. On April 25, 1986, an experiment at Chernobyl’s reactor 4 was carried out. The goal of this experiment was to continue cooling the reactor using a turbine generator in the case of a power outage. There had already been three similar disastrous trials, and this was the fourth.

The experiment began at 1:06 a.m. on April 25th, as planned, but it was forced to halt owing to the abrupt closure of another power plant in the vicinity at approximately 2 a.m. to meet the supply deficit. The experiment was restarted once the circumstances improved. However, around 12:05 a.m. on April 26, the temperature abruptly rose and vapor began to build. The steaming process was halted in some way. As a result of these abrupt general changes, the reaction becomes unstable.

The most critical part of the experiment occurred at 1:23 a.m. on April 26 when the turbine generator was turned on. However, the momentum of the turbine generator abruptly fell to the point that it could no longer drive the water pumps, affecting the flow of water. As a result, the temperature of the reactor rose, and vast amounts of steam began to develop once more. Suddenly, the earth beneath the nuclear reactors begins to shake, followed by a huge explosion; the roof of reactor 4, weighing 12 tons, is blasted away, and a fire breaks out.

Everyone was sleeping comfortably in their houses at the moment, but then panic broke out, and no one knew what had happened. The most devastating nuclear disaster in history occurs. And the rest of the world had no idea.

Uranium and graphite vapor begins to spread in the air and become uncontrollable. Radioactive radiation is extremely hazardous to humans and all other living things. This fire, full of radiation and beams, is claimed to have reached more than two thousand feet in the sky. To cope with an emergency, firefighters on the scene attempt to extinguish the fire. All of these individuals are putting out flames without taking any precautions, putting their lives in peril inside the radioactive zone.

Two persons were killed immediately after the explosion. Graphite is still generating the heat that is causing the melt of twelve hundred tons of uranium and other harmful radioactive substances and spewing hazardous particles and rays around five hundred feet below the bottom of the damaged reactor.

Radioactive clouds had reached Sweden, which was nearly a thousand kilometers away. A radiation monitoring equipment near Forsmark, Sweden, unexpectedly achieved a harmful radiation level. As a result, Sweden warns Soviet Union authorities who were purposely hidden from the rest of the world. The discovery of radioactivity in Sweden put the entire continent at risk.

Radioactive radiation emits alpha and beta radiation, which have differing effects on people. It also directly affects human skin and can enter the body by inhalation, causing a variety of ailments. It causes skin burns and radiation sickness, and it destroys cells.

To limit the spread of radioactive radiation, sacks of sand and boric acid are lowered from above by helicopter. Sand and boric acid can neutralize the effects of radiation. The reactor’s direct output of fire and radiation was prevented by adding sand and boric acid. However, the temperature was continually rising owing to the melting of uranium and other radioactive substances beneath this pile, causing fractures to form on the reactor’s ground.

The water used to extinguish the fire gathered below ground level, and if molten things were introduced into it, the water would have been so hot that it may have created another explosion. It may have been more catastrophic than the first bomb, wiping out the 225km radius around Chernobyl. Its effects could have reached Europe, forcing Europe to flee. It was quickly agreed to employ lead to lower the temperature. As a result, the helicopter dropped lead on the site, which reduced the temperature slightly, as well as a particular material on the reactor and adjacent regions that may counteract the impacts of radiation rays and substances. Despite all the dangers, the water under the reactor was removed using an underground passage.

So far, Soviet leaders had kept the Chernobyl disaster a secret from the rest of the world, and they have spoken nothing about it. Finally, the Soviet Union’s leader spoke on television, informing the world about the Chernobyl disaster and the harm it represented. Following the speech, 3500 personnel from all countries in the Soviet Union were deployed to Chernobyl; they were called “Liquidators,” and the operation was named “Chernobyl Liquidation.” Robots were also employed to remove the graphite from the damaged region and deposit it in the ground. The task took ten days to complete.

An engineer had the idea of isolating reactor number 4 with a very big covering to cover the reactor. It was 500 feet wide and 215 feet long, built of steel and concrete. As a result, no more radioactive radiation could be discharged into the atmosphere. The process of building this cover eventually began, and the sections began to be joined around the reactor one by one. The building of a new cover began in 2010 and was finished in 2019. It cost €2.15 billion to build.

The World Health Organization estimates that the Chernobyl incident caused 4000 fatalities. The catastrophe has exposed over seven million individuals to radiation. Thyroid cancer affected 5000 persons. This tragedy cost a total of 235 billion dollars. The International Atomic Energy Agency examined the event and blamed it on the reporters.

On the 36th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows serious concern about the safety of Chernobyl reactor, amid the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis. The town’s mayor Vladimir Udovichenko said, “What happened at Chernobyl [following the Russian invasion] and continues now in Enerhodar [the town where the Zaporizhzhya plant is located] is unacceptable. This needs to be stopped and we now need to think about what can be done to strengthen the safety of nuclear power plants. We expect IAEA experts to work with us”.

The World Association of Nuclear Operators was created in 1989 to prevent similar nuclear plant tragedies. This group planned to monitor the safety of all nuclear reactors throughout the world and perform research on how to improve their safety.

The IAEA was given additional protocols to increase its abilities to ensure the peace and full usage of all nuclear reactors. Their goal is to have complete knowledge of nuclear projects, planning, nuclear material storage, and trading. It also helps to ensure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and operations in these countries.

There is no doubt that contemporary man has made significant strides and that research has made his life simpler, but the risks associated with embracing science outweigh the advantages. Nuclear energy has evolved into a necessary evil. Participants in the Chernobyl liquidation need to go to the hospital even years after the disaster. The condition they were dealing with was dubbed ‘Chernobyl Syndrome.‘ Radioactivity may still be discovered in the Chernobyl area, and children here are prone to a range of illnesses and disorders.

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Muhammad Wasama Khalid

Written by Muhammad Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at

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