Nuclear Meltdown

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

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Nuclear Meltdown On April 25th, 1986 the worst nuclear power accident occurred at 1:23 am at Chernobyl, Ukraine. The power plant had four reactors and during tests on the fourth reactor major safety violations occurred resulting in explosions that blew off the reactor's concrete and steel lid, killing thirty people instantly and causing seriously high radiation levels in a twenty mile radius forcing over one hundred thousand people to evacuate.

Steam pockets in the RBMK reactor causes massive power increases and if not taken care of quickly can escalate into an explosion which is what happened in Chernobyl, plus the emergency cooling system of the fourth reactor was shut down. The explosions caused an increase of cancers that affected people long after the crash. 64% of people living in the most contaminated regions, who were under 15 when the accident occurred, developed Thyroid cancer in the next four years.

An estimated 2,500 died from cancers developed in the years following the meltdown. Other health problems that have developed in the regions of contamination are, anxiety, depression, helplessness and despair, and other mental stress symptoms. The total amount spent on the relocating and the clean up of the explosion cost the Soviets $12.8 billion.

The Chernobyl accident is equal to 500 nuclear bombs used on Hiroshima. The contamination has affected 17 million people worldwide to a degree. The contamination even spread all the way to North America. The whole world was affected by the nuclear meltdown, yet we do not realize it. Considering it happened only 16 years ago, the area around the explosion would be uninhabitable for another twenty years and the effects of the meltdown will slowly dissipate but never fully go away. Of the 600,000 people that helped with the cleanup of the disaster 100,000 have already died or are severely handicapped, and an estimated 1.8 million people are still considered to be contaminated.

I am personally appalled that the area has never been fully evacuated and that 1.8 million men, women and children are still infected. The Ukrainian government has done limited things to help these people leave the contaminated area. The effects will never go away, and yet many countries have nuclear bombs aimed at other countries waiting for the button to be pressed to start WWIII. People will never learn until it's too late and we can't fix the damage caused by a nuclear winter.