Chernobyl Essay EDITED FINAL VERSION

Submitted By luis47890
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The Chernobyl Disaster

The year 1986 was a year in which many important events occurred. The Challenger space shuttle burst into flames once it took off, the Voyager 2 space probe was launched years earlier by NASA sent it back with it the first close-up images of Uranus, and Halley's comet ventured through Earth's skies. However, the event that was most significant during this year was the accident that took place at the nuclear power plant known as Chernobyl which is located in Pripyat, Ukraine. The region was under the control of the former Soviet Union at the time. This calamity impacted not only on the inhibitors of Pripyat, but also the entire planet. Today, the north Ukrainian city of Pripyat finds itself deserted because on April 26, 1986, at 1:23 AM, reactor number four underwent a devastating meltdown. While conducting a test of one of the plant's four reactors, nuclear engineers put into place an unmanageable chain reaction in the core of the reactor, after disabling the backup systems. The reactor at Chernobyl was a graphite-water reactor. In other words, the moderator of the reactor is graphite while the coolant is water. The technicians of the plant let the power level in reactor number four drop to an extremely low level of energy, thus causing the meltdown of the core (Jaworowski 2015). The roof of the containment building was blown off causing radioactive particles, iodine, caesium, and xenon gas to be released into the atmosphere for more than a week. These hazardous elements are all inevitable byproducts of nuclear fission (Hyperphysics 2000). There were two major explosions that occurred at Chernobyl, the first one destroyed the fourth reactor and the second one spurred blobs of graphite and fuel into the air. The fuel that was spewed out lead to unexpected destruction and fires in the buildings nearby (McGinley 2008). Once arriving at the scene, many of the fire fighters perished instantly due to the amount of radiation that they were exposing themselves to. In a nuclear-fueled power plant, similar to a fossil-fueled powered plant, water is turned into steam. This drives the turbine generators to produce electricity; the only difference in the two is the source of heat. At nuclear power plants, the heat to make the steam is created when uranium atoms split, this process is known as fission (NRC 2015). Uranium is a mineral, a very dense metal, that is found in the ground and is non-renewable, that means we cannot make more. It is a cheap and plentiful source. Power plants use the heat given off during fission as fuel to make electricity (FPL 2015). These poor men were never informed on the gravity of the situation and did not even know that the accident involved the reactor; they thought it was nothing more than a normal electrical fire. The priority of the fire fighters and military helicopter pilots was to extinguish the flames around the building containing the fourth reactor in order to keep them from spreading towards reactor number three in order to maintain reactor number 3's cooling system intact. Thanks to the combined effort of several helicopters, the fire was finally put out. More than 5000 Metric tons of clay, lead, sand, and neutron-absorbing boron were dropped by these helicopters (Featherstone 2012). Furthermore, Pripyat's inhabitants were evacuated along with the people of nearby towns, as this was taking place, the evacuees were exposed to a level of radioactivity 100 times that of the Hiroshima Bomb. The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear power related accident in history due to the devastating number of casualties and the financial burden that it brought with it (Greenfacts 2006). The meltdown is one of only two events to ever reach level number seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Clearly, Pripyat is not a place that anyone would want to be during 1986 (Ali 2013). In addition, the extremely high levels of radiation and…