It’s been over 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, and while many are aware of the tragedy, not many know the strange details behind it.
The explosion was so strong that it scattered radioactive material across entire Europe. While the media were adamant to display the horror behind the incident, they skipped the most important things.
But before we get to the aftermath of the explosion, make sure you drop a like and subscribe to the channel.
Comparable to Hiroshima
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded on April 26, 1986. At the moment of the explosion, there were about 30,000 people in the near vicinity. Those who were the closest received about 45 rem of radiation – rem is a unit or radiation dosage applied to humans.
The amount of radiation similar to the average dose Hiroshima survivors received after the atomic bomb was dropped. And though radiation sickness happens at 200 rem, the dosage people in Chernobyl received was enough to increase the risk of cancer by 1.8%.
Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkley, said that the dosage was estimated to lead to about 500 cancer deaths besides the 6,000 cancer deaths that occur from natural causes.
According to a 2006 estimate by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Chernobyl explosion resulted in much higher cancer fatalities – as much as 4,000 thousand people died from cancer caused by the accident.
The media got one thing right – the nuclear reactor explosion was horrendous. But the biggest impact of radiation happened within the first few weeks. According to Muller, the reason why that happened is the structure of radioactive elements. Each radioactive nucleus can release radiation only once, which means that the radioactivity had dropped to one-quarter of its initial value within the first 15 minutes after the explosion.
The radiation dropped to one-fifteenth after a day and after 90 days, it had dropped to less than 1%. Nevertheless, there is still some radiation in Chernobyl. The population of the city was affected only by the radiation near the ground, but that was more than enough to cause unspeakable consequences.
Dozens of firefighters died
Before the nuclear reactor explosion happened, a fire broke out at the power plant. Dozens of firefighters rushed to the power plant in an attempt to stop the fire, but suffered extremely high levels of radiation, eventually dying from radiation poisoning.
Firefighters were exposed to more than 1 quadrillion gammas each, which penetrated their bodies as an oversized X-ray would. The human body can receive 100 rem without any issues because it is more than capable to fight it off.
People who receive 200 rem can develop radiation poisoning, a sickness most commonly experienced by patients who receive chemotherapy. Too much radiation causes the human body to work in overload so it would fix the damage, and it does that by cutting back on other activities such as digestion – hence nausea.
And people who receive 300 rem have high chances of dying unless they get an immediate blood transfusion.
Chernobyl didn’t have a containment building
One of the most important safety measures in the case of nuclear radiation is a containment building, something Chernobyl did not have. The containment building is a structure that’s supposed to surround a nuclear reactor to ease the effects of radiation.
It’s usually shaped like a dome and made of steel-reinforced concrete, but it’s designed in such a way that it confines fission products that might be released into the atmosphere. If the containment building had existed, there would probably be no death cases in Chernobyl.
Abundant in wildlife
If untouched by the human hand, nature will always thrive – and that’s exactly what happened in Chernobyl. After the city was evacuated, wildlife moved in. According to a 2015 study, many species are living there, including wild boar, red deer, roe, deer, and moose.
The population of wolves is as much as seven-time larger than the wolf population in neighboring wildlife sanctuaries. However, the increase in wildlife population doesn’t mean that it’s not affected by the radiation – it just means that no humans are inhabiting the area.
And did you know that Chernobyl is open for tourism? You can even visit one of the reactor’s control room – but you’re only allowed to spend 5 minutes there. Would you dare to visit? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel.