Chernobyl Nuclear Accident is a tragedy that happened on April 26, 1986 in Ukraine. That day, one of the reactors of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl exploded and became a real disaster in the region as it caused many deaths.
Basically, there are two main factors that caused the nuclear accident: an error in the design of the power plant, and errors that were made by management and operating staff of the power plant (Frot, 2000). The first reason was that the reactor core was built in a way that it was hard to control the reactor at low power. In addition, the reactor lacked the containment structure and it did not have a system aimed at filtering exhaust gases. Management of the plant has also made some mistakes that led to the explosion of the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl plant. They ran the plant at the low power level, which was strictly prohibited, and they had less than 30 control rods inserted into the core. These two factors caused the explosion and deaths of millions of people.
Because of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, tons of radioactive metals were released from the nuclear reactors. As a result, the accident caused a radioactive contamination of the environment. A very large territory was contaminated with radionuclides, and terrestrial, atmospheric, urban and aquatic environments have been polluted (IAEA, 2006). When the weather was dry, trees, roofs of the houses, buildings became contaminated, while in the rainy weather lawns and soil plots have received a great share of radiation. Agricultural plants and animals who consumed them became the victims of contamination. Water systems in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Eastern Europe were also contaminated.
As a result of the Chernobyl accident, many new regulations were adopted (WISE&NIRS, 2011). The main reason for adopting new rules was that there was great public concern about the consequences of the accident. In 1990, first international standards in radiation protection were developed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. In addition, there were many standards for radionuclides introduced in Ukraine, post-Soviet and European. These standards included the maximum limit of nuclides in the human body, and levels of radionuclides in timber, drinking water, food, etc. Also, many technologies were developed in order to improve safety measures and prevent from further accidents.
There are many things that could be done to prevent this man-made disaster. For example, in the times of the Cold War, the Soviet Union did not care much about the safety of its nuclear energy production. There was basically no time to concentrate on the design and construction of the nuclear plant that could be operated with minimum risks of explosion. It can be said, that the Soviet Union did not have a culture of safety, and one of the consequences was the Chernobyl accident. If the plant was built in accordance with all safety standards, it would not be exposed to the high risk of reactor explosion. Also, if people were trained better and had better attitude towards their work, they would not make critical mistakes that resulted in the explosion.
Explosion of the Chernobyl plant reactor has become one of the largest man-made accidents in the history of humankind. It had an extremely negative impact on the environment and caused deaths of millions of people. Thus, it is very important to do everything possible to avoid such accidents in future.
Chernobyl: Chronology Of A Disaster. (2011, March 11). Nuclear Monitor. WISE & NIRS.
Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience (pp. 1-166). (2006). Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency.
Frot, J. (2000). The Causes Of The Chernobyl Event. Retrieved July 9, 2015.