On April 26, 1986, reactor Number 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant went critical. The result was an uncontrolled reaction that made a steam explosion that blew off the reactor's 1000-metric-ton, two-foot thick steel lid and blasted through the concrete containment walls around the reactor. The reactor burst into flames and two people were killed instantly. Thirty-one people would die later, mostly firefighters. Many more would die from the radiation sickness and cancers caused by the 100 million radionuclides released into the atmosphere.
The reason I chose this topic to research is because I was born in 1986 and I like giant explosions. I could have done the Challenger explosion, but that would have too easy, and I knew nothing about Chernobyl when I saw the name on my little list. I hadn't even heard of it before, so I thought it might be interesting to do something I knew nothing about, and also the fact that it was a nuclear plant going up in flames.
Most of my research I did was off the Internet. I went to many websites trying to get information that at least looked like that it was true. I found some crazy stuff, like an article that a UFO prevented Chernobyl from exploding in a huge nuclear fireball that would have wiped most of Europe off the globe.
Give me a break.
I actually learned that this wasn't really something that should be considered "cool". If the nuclear plant had indeed set off a nuclear reaction, we would have more problems than a few thousand cases of thyroid cancer. I doubt that it would have taken out most of Europe, but a large hunk of it would be pretty much permanently uninhabitable. I think of that and shudder. What if something like that...