Chernobyl: The World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster

Andrew Jones, Spring Author

APRIL 26, 1986 ─ The world’s worst nuclear explosion occurred, in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant located in Pripyat, a now abandoned ghost town in the disbanded Ukrainian SSR.  The entire explosion was caused by a few simple safety errors taken while managing the nuclear power plant. And even over 30 years later, the exact amount of lives lost is unknown, and the effects of the explosion will last upon that area of Ukraine, making parts of it not habitable for potentially the next 20,000 years.

Reactor #4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was the catalyst of the disaster, having two lethal blasts, taking two lives directly and twenty-nine firefighters from acute radiation exposure (ARE). The after effects of the blast took the lives of many more, from many forms of cancer and ARE. The fallout and nuclear effects hit other countries, and e

Photo labeled for non-commercial reuse via Under the Creative Commons Licence A map of Europe

ven stretched itself all the way out to Norway. Pripyat, the city nearest to the Nuclear Power Plant, suffered extreme amounts of fallout, and had to be evacuated the day after the blast to prevent casualties.

Countries like Belarus, which is directly north of Chernobyl, were hit with mass amounts of fallout and radiation poisoning, while a country like Sweden was minorly affected.

In the middle of the Cold War, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was ordered to conduct maintenance to attempt safety etiquette in the case of the plant losing power. The plant was illegally power surged, and instead of simply raising the power to a sustainable amount, it overclocked to 100% power and both exploded twice with the second explosion having the force of 300 tons of TNT and causing a massive fire that took days to be put out.

The USSR was very hesitant to release the information on what happened at the power plant, not even informing the city of Pripyat until quite a bit later, leaving the entire city of over 50,000 people in the dark for a whole 13 hours. Even when they did eventually come out to inform the rest of the world, they flat out lied while stating that the situation was under control a week after the disaster occured. The radiation clouds from the explosion affected every single location on Earth, which makes their delay on providing the information disappointing.

Nowadays, there is an exclusion zone near Chernobyl. You can go closer to it than you ever could before, but the damage that has been done will stay done for the next thousands of years.

Attempts have been made to try to stop something this awful from happening again, but somehow they turn out to be futile, because of a myriad of reasons. The explosion in Fukushima is proof of this, happening back in 2011 because of a natural disaster, something that couldn’t be prevented.

Although it is possible to live inside of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, it is heavily ill-advised to do, and only about 150 people actually live there. But slowly and surely, the world is moving on from the world’s worst nuclear disaster.