Gorbachev: “the Chernobyl nuclear accident may become the real cause of the disintegration of the Soviet Union five years later, and its importance is even greater than the reform cause I started. The Chernobyl disaster is indeed a historical turning point, and the two eras before and after it are very different.”
today, the nuclear accident in Japan once again aroused people’s memory of Chernobyl.
on April 26, 25 years ago, the No. 4 Nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant of the former Soviet Union exploded, causing a serious nuclear accident. After the Holocaust, there are a series of amazing figures – last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “the Chernobyl nuclear accident forced more than 330000 people to leave their homes, thousands of children suffered from thyroid cancer, and millions of people live in anxiety about their health and life, and its impact continues to this day.”
today, the nuclear accident in Japan once again reminds people of Chernobyl. Some people worry that the explosion of the Fukushima nuclear power plant will be another Chernobyl?
“dead zone” turned into “animal paradise”
on April 26, 1986, a steam explosion occurred in the No. 4 nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which was undergoing experiments, cracking the outer protective layer of the reactor and the top of the room. Immediately, a large number of radioactive particles were emitted in the atmosphere, and the air was in contact with 1700 tons of combustible graphite moderator in the ultra-high temperature core; The burning graphite moderator accelerates the leakage of radioactive particles.
the operators on the site could not stop the reactor reaction, and the firefighters who came later could not put out the fire. Radioactive particles spread in the wind. Pripiaj, a small city only 3 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant, was the first to bear the brunt. 48 hours after the accident, nearly 50000 people in the city were evacuated.
the accident directly killed 50 people and seriously polluted the border area between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The clouds of nuclear pollution spread with the wind, covering Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and other places.
at the same time, the Soviet government used helicopters to dump nearly 2000 tons of boron carbide and sand into the exposed reactor debris from the air to put out the fire and control the radiation. After the
accident, the authorities completely closed the No. 4 reactor with reinforced concrete, which is called the sarcophagus. Now hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive nuclear material are sealed there. Its surface has been rusty. Within 30 kilometers of the sarcophagus, it is still an isolation area.
the term Chernobyl symbolizes disaster. Some game makers have designed a game with Chernobyl as the background – the shadow of Chernobyl. The background is set on the ruins of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant where the nuclear disaster occurred. Mutant creatures and mysterious forces began to slaughter survivors.
in addition, there are rumors spread in more absurd forms. It is said that in 1996, the giant rats mutated in the isolation area swallowed up the scientists who investigated, saying that they had a nose and eyes. But rumors are rumors after all.
the radiation value here is high, so it is also regarded as a “dead area”.
minors under the age of 18 are absolutely prohibited from entering, while adults are strictly restricted. Entrants must have legal procedures and valid certificates. Such strict conditions are mainly to ensure the safety of visitors. The overall radiation here is relatively high. For example, in the abandoned machinery field, the average radiation is 800 to 1200 microroentgens per hour, while the human body cannot exceed 20 microroentgens per hour.
after the terrible disaster in 1986, the accident unit 4 was closed, and the remaining three units of Chernobyl nuclear power plant continued to work for a period of time to maintain the national power supply for 14 years. In December 2000, the entire Chernobyl power plant stopped generating electricity.
but a large amount of nuclear waste has not been disposed of, which needs the care of staff, and the sarcophagus also needs to be continuously reinforced. In the 25 years after the accident, the staff never stopped cleaning the roads, houses and surrounding trees in the accident area. In addition, many security guards and employees work at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
their drinking water and diet are all transported in from the outside, and each shift will not last more than a week. When they leave the factory every day, they have to detect radioactive contamination of their hands and feet in front of the instrument. If the body is exposed to excessive radiation, relevant measures must be taken. Including taking potions and cleaning. If the situation is serious, send it to the hospital.
outside the separation wall, soldiers are patrolling.
although it is classified as an isolation area, some bold old people have returned to live locally in recent years, such as yiyinqi residential area about 15 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. These returnees live a self-sufficient life. For them, “when they return to their hometown, they feel a lot more secure.” Some elderly people said they were not worried about radiation. Medical personnel came to check the villagers regularly and measured the radiation of agricultural products planted by farmers. The results show that the radiation index of local fruits and vegetables is within the normal range. It takes courage to live in the isolation area. After all, there are a few people who come back. At least 300 people currently live in the isolation zone.
in the past 25 years, many wild animals have gathered here. According to the records of Chernobyl international ecological laboratory, there are more than 400 species of animals in the isolation area, including 280 species of poultry and 50 species of endangered animals. Moreover, these animals living in the isolation area have no abnormal mutations, and they are not as big as cats as the legendary mice. Some scientists call it “animal paradise”. Mankind disappeared from here and inadvertently left a treasure land for animals to reproduce. Rats, in particular, have shown amazing resistance to radioactive substances.
but moswu, an American biologist, believes that a considerable number of birds in this area are suffering from diseases caused by nuclear radiation, and even genetic variation. Their survival rate is much lower than that of birds elsewhere. Some birds have tumors.
accident victims number in the millions
although the birds are singing and the elderly are basking in the sun in the restricted area, this huge area is still full of hidden dangers.
according to official estimates, there are about 180 tons of fuel in the reactor after the accident, and the total radioactivity of this batch of fuel is about 18 million CI (670 PBQ). Sarcophagus prevents the spread of radiation, but it is not always safe.
as early as 2003, the Russian Independent reported that the then Russian atomic energy minister rumenetsev said that the “sarcophagus” of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was in danger of collapse. The sarcophagus built in the rush of construction was aging, and the reactor continued to corrode the reinforced concrete in the sarcophagus.
if the sarcophagus collapses, the consequences will be unimaginable. A staggering amount of radioactive dust will be directly released into the air, and Europe will experience a new round of Chernobyl accident again. The solution is to cover the sarcophagus with a protective layer.
“at present, the funding gap for the implementation of the safety closure project of Chernobyl nuclear power plant is about 400 million euros, of which the explosion of reactor No. 4 poses the greatest threat.” Ukrainian President Yanukovych said. This appeal has been echoed by the international community.
as the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident approaches, the European Commission calls on the international community to provide 750 million euros (about 6.77 billion yuan) of assistance to build a new and more complex isolation layer for the remaining 200 tons of strong radiation materials to replace the possibly collapsed sarcophagus.
at the end of 2010, some information released by the Ukrainian authorities attracted people’s attention – it was planned to develop Chernobyl into a tourist area for ordinary tourists.
in fact, as early as April 26, 2006, then President Yushchenko of Ukraine expressed similar ideas, “Many people in Chernobyl should be impressed by the weeds in the deserted area. For many people in Chernobyl, it is the courtyard that will be destroyed by the nuclear power plant.”
of course, such tourism must wear protective clothing, and tourists must visit under strict guidance.
however, outside the isolation area, some people who were exposed to radiation in that year still live in the shadow of the nuclear accident. “Last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said:” the Chernobyl nuclear accident forced more than 330000 people to leave their homes, thousands of children suffered from thyroid cancer, and millions of people live in anxiety about their health and life. The impact continues to this day. ”
in 2006, the report issued by the World Health Organization was even more shocking: in some countries most affected, more than 5000 people who were teenagers at the time of the accident have now been diagnosed with thyroid cancer; Among the staff involved in the clean-up operation, evacuees and residents of contaminated areas in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, 9000 people may have died of malignant tumors.
there are still 5 million people living in areas contaminated by nuclear materials. Many of them showed higher than average levels of anxiety and a variety of unexplained physical discomfort symptoms. British media reported that about 500000 people may have died from the accident, and at least 30000 people will die of cancer directly related to the nuclear accident.
the former Soviet government has established treatment and prevention institutions for victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in various places to provide free medical help to the victims. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, this task was continued by the successor countries. Over the past decade, millions of victims of the Chernobyl accident have been treated, including more than 200000 children. At the same time, the government has also established a unified “list of victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident” to track and monitor the physical condition of the victims. The victims also received government compensation.
however, even with free treatment, how can others feel the suffering of the victims? And those who are still in good health have left deep wounds in their hearts, and their anxiety level is higher than normal.
accidents that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union have passed for 25 years, and the Soviet Union in that year no longer exists. However, there are still different explanations for the cause of the accident.
for example, in August 1986, it was reported that the accident was attributed to management problems. As the factory director, rukhhanov only has the training and experience of coal-fired power plants, and his chief engineer FoMin is also from a conventional energy plant. The nuclear power plant operator should also be responsible for the accident. The report issued in 1991 on
considers that the accident is caused by the design defect of the nuclear reactor. After the
accidents, three more reasons led to the expansion of the disaster, which were related to the Soviet government system.
first, the Soviet bureaucracy ignored the seriousness of the problem. After the explosion, it did not attract the attention of Soviet officials. Nuclear experts and Soviet leaders in Moscow were told that “there was a fire in the reactor, but there was no explosion”. According to Gorbachev’s account after 20 years, “on the morning of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union met to discuss the situation, and then organized a government committee to deal with the consequences of the accident.” But the committee also failed to understand the seriousness of the accident. Gorbachev, then general secretary, himself only learned about it through the reports of Swedish scientistsSeverity of.
were not aware of the severity at the beginning. 48 hours after the accident, some villages close to the nuclear power plant began to evacuate.
is widely criticized for another reason. After the accident, the neighboring countries were not notified in time. On April 28, 1986, the staff of Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden found abnormal radiation particles stuck to their clothes. After various investigations, they suspected that there was something wrong with the Soviet nuclear power plant. When Moscow received a message from the Swedish government, the radiation cloud had dispersed to Sweden. The Soviet Union finally understood that the matter was far more serious than they thought, but only issued a statement: “in an accident at the Chernobyl power station, a reactor was destroyed. We are taking measures to eliminate the impact of the accident. We will provide assistance for the subsequent disposal. We have established a special government Committee.”
for a whole week, the Soviet government did not effectively communicate with foreign governments and refused to disclose more details, making neighboring countries unable to effectively assess the consequences of the disaster. When foreign media reported the accident one after another, the Soviet official media also announced that “the damage is far from as serious as described by the western media”.
a week later, Yeltsin, who later served as Russian President, released the news, “the reservoir near the power plant has been polluted, and the radiation around the power plant is still too high for local residents to return.” At the same time, officials worried that it would cause panic among the people and did not tell the residents the whole truth. Another reason for
is the relatively backward processing methods. The Soviet government sent countless human and material resources to finally put out the fire of the reactor and control the radiation at the same time. But those responsible for cleaning up were also seriously injured by radiation.
in addition to killing people, the disaster also had other unexpected consequences. For example, some commentators believe that “this matter makes Soviet politics more transparent and open than in the past”. Gorbachev also lamented: “the Chernobyl nuclear accident may become the real cause of the disintegration of the Soviet Union five years later, and its importance is even greater than the reform cause I started. The Chernobyl disaster is indeed a historical turning point, and the two eras before and after it are quite different.”
after this disaster, international cooperation and exchanges in the field of nuclear safety have been strengthened since 1986. But that’s not enough. “The fact that the explosion of reactor 4 released a large amount of radioactive material shows that the safety hazards associated with nuclear and radioactive activities will cross the borders of a country.”
therefore, the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is not just a matter for Japan. After all, it may bring great disaster to human society at any moment.