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Chernobyl – 30 years after the disaster (April 26, 1986). How it happened.

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 29 Apr 2016

Chernobyl – 30 years after the disaster (April 26, 1986). How it happened.

39 PHOTOS

 




Chernobyl – 30 years after the disaster (April 26, 1986). How it happened.


In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (formerly part of the Soviet Union) exploded. It was the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen.

Located about 81 miles (130 km) north of the city of Kiev, Ukraine, and about 12 miles (20 km) south of the border with Belarus, the four reactors at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant were designed and built during the 1970s and 1980s.

The nearest town to the power plant was the newly built city of Pripyat, which housed almost 50,000 people in 1986. About 12,000 residents used to live in the second town - Chornobyl. The remainder of the region was primarily farms and woodland.

Chernobyl accident, that happened on April, 26, 1986 is the one of two attributed to the highest 7 level of “safety significance” (in common words we might say “danger”) on the international nuclear events scale (INESN). The other nuclear accident which reached the same level was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

Chernobyl accident was the most dangerous accident which took place in nuclear industry and power engineering. The erroneous actions of personnel of the station drove reactor to a state, not considered by regulations, in which its technical failures showed up. On experts’ conclusion the severe accident arose through a low probability coincidence of a number of factors. Every factor separately could not result in an accident. But their coincidence was, on one side, casual, on the other - appropriated, in the sense, that first or last it must happen however. Because the attitude toward procedures of safety was too careless at the atomic station, and in all links of the soviet production system related to nuclear power.

The day before the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, plant operators were preparing for a one-time shutdown to perform routine maintenance on reactor number 4. According to official version: in violation of safety regulations, operators disabled plant equipment including the automatic shutdown mechanisms.

At 1:23 a.m. on April 26, when extremely hot nuclear fuel rods were lowered into cooling water, an immense amount of steam was created, which — because of the RBMK reactors' design flaws — created more reactivity in the nuclear core of reactor number 4. The resultant power surge caused an immense explosion that detached the 1,000-ton plate covering the reactor core. It released the radiation into the atmosphere and cut down flow of coolant into the reactor.

A few seconds later, a second explosion of even greater power than the first blew the reactor building apart and spewed burning graphite and other parts of the reactor core around the plant. After that several big fires started around the damaged reactor and reactor number 3, which was still operating at the time of the explosions.

The explosions killed two plant workers, who were the first of several workers to die within hours of the accident. For the next several days the firemen and emergency crews tried desperately to distinguish the fires and stop radiation leaks. Many of them died from the radiation sickness. Twenty-eight of the workers at Chernobyl died in the four months following the accident, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), including some heroic workers who knew they were exposing themselves to deadly levels of radiation in order to secure the facility from further radiation leaks.

The disaster released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Nuclear rain from the disaster fell as far away as Ireland.



Read the other our articles about the worst human made disaster in worlds history:


Chernobyl – 29 years after the disaster. How it happened


The Chernobyl Disaster: the 25th anniversary


The Chernobyl Disaster: the 25th anniversary. Part II


The Chernobyl Disaster: the 25th anniversary. Part II




Location of Ukraine and Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the World Map.

Location of Ukraine and Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the World Map.




Viktor Bryukhanov (2nd Left), 35 yo, turbine expert; used to work as Deputy Chief Engineer at the Slavyanskaya thermal power station in eastern Ukraine. He was appointed as Director of Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Viktor Bryukhanov (2nd Left), 35 yo, turbine expert; used to work as Deputy Chief Engineer at the Slavyanskaya thermal power station in eastern Ukraine. He was appointed as Director of Chernobyl nuclear power plant.




Location of Ukraine and Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the Map of Europe.

Location of Ukraine and Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the Map of Europe.




Architectural drawings of Pripyat. City Pripyat had all the necessary facilities: hospital and few clinics, there were 15 kindergartens, 5 schools, a vocational school/college and a school of music and the arts for the children, with park and 35 smaller playgrounds for them to play in.

Architectural drawings of Pripyat. City Pripyat had all the necessary facilities: hospital and few clinics, there were 15 kindergartens, 5 schools, a vocational school/college and a school of music and the arts for the children, with park and 35 smaller playgrounds for them to play in.




A wedding couple in front of Pripyat

A wedding couple in front of Pripyat's city sign.




Many of Chernobyl

Many of Chernobyl's employers came straight from college/university. Therefore Pripyat was one of the youngest’ cities in the Soviet Union, with an average age of only 26.




City Pripyat had all the necessary facilities: hospital and few clinics, there were 15 kindergartens, 5 schools, a vocational school/college and a school of music and the arts for the children, with park and 35 smaller playgrounds for them to play in.

City Pripyat had all the necessary facilities: hospital and few clinics, there were 15 kindergartens, 5 schools, a vocational school/college and a school of music and the arts for the children, with park and 35 smaller playgrounds for them to play in.




Workers who constructed the concrete sarcophagus covering the Chernobyl reactor in the memorable 1986 photo near the unfinished construction site. Thousands of people who worked during the liquidation of the Chernobyl disaster died from the radiation poisoning.

Workers who constructed the concrete sarcophagus covering the Chernobyl reactor in the memorable 1986 photo near the unfinished construction site. Thousands of people who worked during the liquidation of the Chernobyl disaster died from the radiation poisoning.




Aerial photo – Reactor number 4 after explosions.

Aerial photo – Reactor number 4 after explosions.




Parade in Kiev on May 1st 1986 (only 130 km from Chernobyl). The information about the disaster didn’t release yet by the Soviet authorities.

Parade in Kiev on May 1st 1986 (only 130 km from Chernobyl). The information about the disaster didn’t release yet by the Soviet authorities.




List the World’s Major Nuclear Disasters.

List the World’s Major Nuclear Disasters.




Chernobyl accident, that happened on April 26, 1986 is the one of two attributed to the highest 7 level of “safety significance” (in common words we might say “danger”) on the international nuclear events scale (INESN).

Chernobyl accident, that happened on April 26, 1986 is the one of two attributed to the highest 7 level of “safety significance” (in common words we might say “danger”) on the international nuclear events scale (INESN).




The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, officially known as the V. I. Lenin Atomic Power Plant during the Soviet era, began construction in 1970 in a remote region near Ukraine’s swamp-filled northern border, 15 kilometers northwest of the small town of Chernobyl.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, officially known as the V. I. Lenin Atomic Power Plant during the Soviet era, began construction in 1970 in a remote region near Ukraine’s swamp-filled northern border, 15 kilometers northwest of the small town of Chernobyl.




It was considered to be the best and most reliable of the Soviet Union’s nuclear facilities.

It was considered to be the best and most reliable of the Soviet Union’s nuclear facilities.




‘Atomic city’ - Pripyat rapidly built just three kilometers away, as home for 50,000 operators, builders, support staff and their families.

‘Atomic city’ - Pripyat rapidly built just three kilometers away, as home for 50,000 operators, builders, support staff and their families.




Architectural drawings of Pripyat.

Architectural drawings of Pripyat.




Architectural drawings of Pripyat.

Architectural drawings of Pripyat.




Architectural drawings of Pripyat.

Architectural drawings of Pripyat.




Architectural drawings of Pripyat.

Architectural drawings of Pripyat.




Working at Chernobyl nuclear power station was considered as prestige job from the point of salary and career prospective. City Pripyat had all the facilities you would expect of a modest-sized city.

Working at Chernobyl nuclear power station was considered as prestige job from the point of salary and career prospective. City Pripyat had all the facilities you would expect of a modest-sized city.




For entertainment and after work time, the city had 10 gyms, 3 swimming pools, 10 shooting ranges, 2 stadiums, 4 libraries and a cinema, or by reading Pripyat’s own newspaper.

For entertainment and after work time, the city had 10 gyms, 3 swimming pools, 10 shooting ranges, 2 stadiums, 4 libraries and a cinema, or by reading Pripyat’s own newspaper.




For children were built 5 schools, a vocational school/college and a school of music and the arts.

For children were built 5 schools, a vocational school/college and a school of music and the arts.




School, during a lesson.

School, during a lesson.




Children playing in main square.

Children playing in main square.




Winter entertainments.

Winter entertainments.




Winter entertainments for children.

Winter entertainments for children.




The Palace of Culture (on the left) host for various community events. Hotel ‘Polissya’ in the centre.

The Palace of Culture (on the left) host for various community events. Hotel ‘Polissya’ in the centre.




As all Soviet cities Pripyat conducted parades during official holidays.

As all Soviet cities Pripyat conducted parades during official holidays.




The photo was taken at a parade celebrating 1st of May - International Workers

The photo was taken at a parade celebrating 1st of May - International Workers' Day, an official public holiday in the Soviet Union.




This is the famous swimming pool.

This is the famous swimming pool.




At a bus station.

At a bus station.




Pripyat, view from a high building to the city centre.

Pripyat, view from a high building to the city centre.




Reactor number 4 after explosions.

Reactor number 4 after explosions.




Aerial photo – during fighting against nuclear accident at Chernobyl

Aerial photo – during fighting against nuclear accident at Chernobyl




Environmental activists tagged contaminated containers. Bremen, Northern Germany, February 6, 1987.

Environmental activists tagged contaminated containers. Bremen, Northern Germany, February 6, 1987.




The workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant pass control room of the destroyed 4th power unit. The photo was taken on April 14, 1998.

The workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant pass control room of the destroyed 4th power unit. The photo was taken on April 14, 1998.




A worker checked the radiation level of meat. Frankfurt, West Germany, May 12, 1986. According to the Minister for Social Affairs of the federal state of Hesse, after the explosion of the Chernobyl, all the meat must be checked to the radiation level.

A worker checked the radiation level of meat. Frankfurt, West Germany, May 12, 1986. According to the Minister for Social Affairs of the federal state of Hesse, after the explosion of the Chernobyl, all the meat must be checked to the radiation level.




The control panel of the 4th unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant April 14, 1998.

The control panel of the 4th unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant April 14, 1998.




Location of Ukraine and Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the Map of Eastern Europe.

Location of Ukraine and Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the Map of Eastern Europe.




  
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