Chernobyl is a name you've probably heard more than once in your lifetime. It’s known as the worst nuclear disaster of all time. What was a simple backup power energy check turned into a complete nuclear meltdown and caused people to evacuate their homes, thousands of radiation related deaths, and 1000 sq miles of uninhabitable land for the next 100,000 years. Chernobyl is a nuclear power plant 10 km north of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. It housed 4 very large nuclear reactors with over 100,000 kg of radioactive materials in them. On April 26th,1986, the disaster occurred. During a reserve energy check on reactor number 4 something went extremely wrong. There was a random loss of power and Xenon-135 concentration levels skyrocketed. Being that, if you came into direct contact with this much of this element its almost always death. Plant workers pulled out the control rods to cease the production of the element. What the workers didn't think about was that the test required to shut down the cooling pumps that send coolant through these reactors to keep them from overreacting. The coolant already in the reactors started to boil and created steam pockets in the coolant lines causing more of the Xenon-135 to be released and creating even more heat. With all this heat the crew were ordered to put the control rods back in to attempt to restart the cooling pump but when the crew had inserted the cooling rods they melted and became deformed due to the immense heat. With no control over this reaction all hope was lost. There was nothing left to do but try to get out alive. The mixture of the melted rods and steamed gas caused an explosion damaging the reactor core and setting fire to the facility. Radiation particles leaked out from the damaged reactor and into the atmosphere via a massive hole in the roof caused by the explosion. 31 people were killed in the first hour by the raging fires and overwhelming amounts of radiation.
Shortly after the explosion the first called to the scene where local firemen,civilians, and policemen called “Liquidators”. They were sent in to what they thought was an electrical fire, not a nuclear meltdown. The liquidators went around the facility trying to extinguish these fires not knowing this will be their last day on earth. A large group went on the roof right above reactor 4 to extinguish the fire bursting out of the hole. The men were immediately exposed to 13,944 rems of radiation. This much radiation causes immediate vomiting and coma.The men had about 5-10 more minutes to live. They died a very sad, excruciating death. All the men called in that day died within a month. The city of Chernobyl was evacuated immediately after the initial explosion but the surrounding cities were not notified until 24 hours later. This allowed the radiation to fall on all the innocent people for a full day period. On April 28, Radio Moscow made a very brief announcement: “An accident has occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, one of the atomic reactors has been damaged. Measures are being undertaken to liquidate the consequences of the accident”. Those affected were being aided, and a government support system has been created. Ukraine dispatched a brigade of chemical troops to the area, as well as the supply of food packages for the population living in the fallout zone. Concern was given to the radiation in the city of Moscow, and First Deputy of the state was ordered to provide a daily report, and together with the Minister of Health of Ukraine to ensure strict radiation control at airports, railway stations, on roads, and at all entrances to Moscow.
By May 4, it was reported that 1,882 people had been hospitalized following the examination of 38,000 people. Radiation sickness had affected 204 people, including 64 children, and 18 people were very ill. Ukrainian hospitals had made 1,900 beds for patients suffering from the effects of Chernobyl. There was a recommendation