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The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

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On the 25th and 26th of April, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant exploded, the explosion held such force that the fireball blew off the concrete roof of the reactor. The Chernobyl power plant is located in Ukraine, 80 miles north of Kiev. The power plant held four reactors, the accident occurred whist the number four reactor was being tested and numerous safety procedures were ignored. The organisations that were responsible for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant lacked what was called 'safety culture', this resulted in the inability to correct designs weaknesses. These weaknesses were known about before the accident, and there are secret memorandums in the Russian archives. One of the reactors at Chernobyl known as the 'RBMK' reactor, suffered from instability at low power and because of this it was in danger of experiencing rapid, uncontrollable power increases. ...read more.


On the 25th of April 1986 reactor four was shutdown for routine maintenance. It was decided that at the same time a test would be run on the reactor. The test was to see that in the event of a shutdown there would be enough electrical power to operate the emergency equipment and core cooling pumps until the main power supply came back online. As the shutdown went ahead the reactor ran at half power when the electrical load dispatcher refused to allow further shutdown. As part of the test the emergency cooling system was turned off. At about 23.00hrs the electrical load dispatcher agreed to a further reduction in the power. Before the shutdown the reactor was stabilised at 1,000MW, however because of and operational error the power fell to around 30MW where the positive void co-efficient became a problem. ...read more.


There was a second explosion two minutes later. It has been noted that after the disaster there was an increase in Thyroid Cancer. Between 1981 and 1985 the average Thyroid Cancer rate was 4 - 6 incidents per million Ukrainian people aged between birth and 15 years. However between 1986 and 1997 the figure rose to 45 incidents per million. There have been reports in the increase of certain cancers among the population of the people that lived in the area and also among those who helped clean up the accident. There have also been increases in psychological health disorders such as; Anxiety, Depression, Helplessness and despair leading to social withdrawal and loss of hope for the future and mental stress. Individual doses of irradiation of the body from gamma - radiation with energy of around 20 - 30kV were counted by personal meters. There were also readings of up to 150kV of beta - radiation. ...read more.

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