Chernobyl Meltdown: Russia’s Most Iconic Disaster

The Chernobyl Meltdown is one of the most well known nuclear disasters around the world. This particular disaster occurred in 1986 where a lack of knowledge and a poorly put together experiment caused Reactor 4 to quickly become unstable and blow the containment lids sky high further allowing the secretion of radiation into the atmosphere [2]. Not only did the reactor cause an issue, but the core itself had a partial meltdown adding even more radioactive particles to the atmosphere. The exact number of deaths caused by the explosion initially is somewhat unclear and ranging from up to 30-50 people. To make matters even worse, a cover up by Russia was attempted to keep this nuclear embarrassment under wraps, but this unfortunately added more fuel tot he fire in the long term. According to Britannica, “on April 28 Swedish monitoring stations reported abnormally high levels of wind-transported radioactivity and pressed for an explanation” [2]. Therefore, exposing the Soviet Union’s attempt of hiding the disaster from the world which in turn sparked an even bigger problem with the world and the dangers of “Radioactive Emissions” [2].

Chernobyl Disaster: The Full Story Of The Nuclear Plant Meltdown

Obviously the world became worried about the consequences that the nuclear downfall will have on its people over the course of several years. Though a small number of soviets were killed due to the explosion itself, the aftermath of radiation across many miles of land that people didn’t evacuate would cause many issues pertaining to poisoning and death from the radiation, but also birth defects to many children yet to be born from their infected parents. If this wasn’t already bad enough, this explosion would cost the Soviet Union extremely in terms of an economic status. “The cost of the clean-up, including the provision of housing and other resources for evacuees, eventually ran into billions of rubles, burdening an already shaky economy” [1]. Overall, This disaster was catastrophic economically and physically for much of the populations of surrounding areas.

The lives of Russians and many other countries around the surrounding area were forever changed after this nuclear disaster and continued to fight the consequences of nuclear downfall on to their homes. After this happened many organizations got involved to help resolve some of the problems caused by this meltdown including WHO and IAEA to further asses the radiation exposure to the communities [3]. The Chernobyl disaster had and will forever have long lasting affects on the environment due to a botched experiment done by scientists. Having educated scientists at nuclear plants is one of the key things I believe people around the globe should pay more attention to and not conducting experiments that could lead to the endangerment of thousands of people should be set at the top of the priority lists. This accident happened three decades ago and I’m sure that it is still an important topic and example of how careful government and its people must be when working with such a dangerous element in these nuclear plants.

Source 1: http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/meltdown-in-chernobyl/

Source 2 : https://www.britannica.com/event/Chernobyl-disaster

Source 3: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/chernobyl-accident.aspx

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19 Comments

  1. Matt, I found your post on Chernobyl interesting! It’s hard to imagine all the damaging effects this incident had on Russia’s population. I also thought the images you used were great for this post!

    1. Hey Natalie! I am glad you liked my post and the pictures associated with it. I thought it was super interesting to see the real damage of the explosion and its affects.

  2. Hi Matt! I find the Chernobyl disaster to be very interesting, so I really enjoyed your post! I enjoyed how you went through the details of what actually happened when the reactor exploded, and the reaction of the Soviet government officials. I agree with Natalie, it is hard to imagine all of the damaging effects this incident had on the population, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for people to watch their loved ones attempt to extinguish the fire. Nice job!

    1. Hi Lauren and yes the long lasting affects of the radiation is so mind boggling to me and just stopping to think about how many generations will be affected because of this one incident is terrifying.

  3. So many good Chernobyl discussions this week! Thanks for adding your perspective, Matt, and for addressing the impacts of the disaster on regions and people thousands of miles away from the plant. Interestingly, the IAEA (and to a lesser extent the WHO) actually assisted in the cover-up of the long term damages, especially their effects on vulnerable populations. Many people should have been relocated and provided with “clean” food — but that would have been enormously expensive. Easier to say everything was more or less fine and let the chips fall where they may.

    1. Hey Professor, yes the presence of these organizations was present in a lot of the sources but i had no idea they were that big in the cover up process, thank you for educating me even more on the situation.

  4. Hey Matt! I really liked how your post stressed how the consequences of Chernobyl very much outweighed Soviet dreams of having nuclear power. I think its really sad how disasters like these have to happen in order to get heads of states to realize that rapid nuclear development isn’t very safe, especially when they don’t take the necessary precautions to help their people. I believe just generally, whether it be nuclear power or nuclear energy, we should be wary of the consequences they may bring.

    1. Hey Joy! I’m glad you liked my post and I 100% agree that governments should be more aware of the consequences these plants will have on everything them if for some reason there is a disaster. Everything can’t go right all the time and preparing for these consequences is something that be looked at way before the plant is even built.

  5. Great read! Chernobyl will never stop being an interesting topic. Its so surprising how reckless they managed this horrible accident anyway it impacted thousands of lives and could of impacted almost all of the surrounding nations.

  6. Good post, Matt. I like how you pointed out how poorly planned the whole project was. I think it just goes to show how the Soviet Union was on it’s last leg. It’s interesting how a single event like this shook the already struggling economy.

  7. I really like your post, Matt! I think the fact that the Soviet Union never kept up with how many people died from this disaster causes people to forget the massive toll this took on actual human lives as well as the environment.

  8. Hey Matt, cool post here. I also wrote about Chernobyl, and thought it was a very interesting topic to research. I like the pictures you shared, especially the one of the ferris wheel, that demonstrates how suddenly the area became a ghost town. I truly think that the Chernobyl disaster really sent the Soviet Union into a downward spiral that they could not escape.

  9. This was a very interesting read. I wonder what would have happened if Sweden did not pick up the wind transported radiation, would the Soviet’s have been able to cover it up longer? I liked how you mentioned the economic ramifications of Chernobyl.

  10. Matt, it is always interesting reading new perspectives on the Chernobyl meltdown. What do you think are some lessons learned from this crisis? Did the meltdown change how nuclear reactors are cooled as well as the backup/safety measures on these systems? Great post!

  11. The incident at Chernobyl was a real shock to the rest of the world, and its occurrence could have left worse effects on the planet. I have seen the HBO series about Chernobyl, and it really dives into the issues that you have displayed in your post.

  12. Great read, Matt! It is shocking to read how many lives were effected, and continue to be effected, because of this disaster. There were so many events during this time period that led to the fall of the Soviet Union, and this definitely was a huge contribution.

  13. The Soviets’ attempt to suppress information about the Chernobyl disaster, has many similarities to how the Chinese Communist Party has attempted to suppress information about disease outbreaks in the past. The CCP attempted to silence information about SARS, fearing the economic and trade implications if the word got out about a highly infectious and deadly respiratory condition, they did better with their handling of the Coronavirus, but they still committed many of the same flaws. The Soviet government in the 80’s expressed many of the same attributes of the modern CCP, in how they handle criseses and how they attempt to suppress information about criseses, fearing the international ramifications of the information.

  14. REPOST COMMENT DIDN’T APPEAR: Andrew Grant – The Soviets’ attempt to suppress information about the Chernobyl disaster, has many similarities to how the Chinese Communist Party has attempted to suppress information about disease outbreaks in the past. The CCP attempted to silence information about SARS, fearing the economic and trade implications if the word got out about a highly infectious and deadly respiratory condition, they did better with their handling of the Coronavirus, but they still committed many of the same flaws. The Soviet government in the 80’s expressed many of the same attributes of the modern CCP, in how they handle criseses and how they attempt to suppress information about criseses, fearing the international ramifications of the information.

  15. Nice post, Chernobyl has always been a fascinating story but to me it shows the shortcuts and lack of foresight to recognize these is why this happened and even though their was not a massive explosion or high death count it still leaves a lasting impact today and highlights the dangers of working with nuclear power.

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