The unsung heroes of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster

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I cannot remember the name of any of the heroes of Chernobyl. Neither can you. The reason is that there is no Hollywood drama film about Chernobyl.

A battle without (official) heroes

They are the uncomfortable truth about the nuclear accident. Thirty one emergency workers and reactor staff directly killed by the accident were the first of thousands of civilian and military casualties.

Gorbachov explained years later that one month after the explosion in the nuclear plant, the accident was far from neutralised. If the magma under the reactor reached the water layer under the plant, the rivers Pripyat, Dnieper and eventually the Black Sea would become polluted for ever.

10,000 miners where sent to dig a tunnel under the melting reactor chambers. They worked unprotected under extremely stressful conditions. They were not informed about the risk they were running working in

100,000 military and 400,000 civilians joined the liquidation. They watered the roofs of houses to remove the radiactive dust. They knocked down houses and buried them. They killed all the animals in the area. The battle of Chernobyl renders many dystopian SciFi movies a toddlers game. Remote control robots fried their circuits while pushing graphite cylinders away from the roof of the plant. 3,500 Russian soldiers (bio-robots) on 17 September 1986 had to replace the mechanical robots. They were exposed to 10,000-12,000 Roentgen / hour for 2 minutes. Their eyes hurted and they had a metallic taste in their mouths.

Gorbachov claims that the cleaning of the disaster cost was of 18,000 roubles (1 rouble = 1 dollar). The Perestroika had to deal with that cost and with the decline in the price of oil, vital for Russia commercial trade.

Population kept unaware and exposed to radiation for days

One of the learnings of the disaster, and of many others that following, including Fukushima, is that disinformation is the first consequence of a disaster. Even Gorbachev was kept away from the truth during the first hours and days from the disaster. He was told that there was an accident followed by fire. He was not informed that there had been an explosion. The Russian authorities did not disclose the official reports. So did the French about the pollution in their territory. Revealling some of the truth would have prevented many deaths and the neglect of hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled.

1,000 million dollars are expected to be spent building a cover for the reactor in 2012.


Röntgen equivalent physical
is the absorbed energetic dose before the biological efficiency of the radiation is factored in. More precisely, the rep is defined as 93 ergs per gram.

A nuclear disaster waiting to happen

The Chernobyl power plant was unsafe prior to its nuclear disaster. It had been had been in operation for 2 years without the capability to ride through the first 60–75 seconds of a total loss of electric power.

 

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