Chernobyl is in northern Ukraine bordering Belarus. A drive of 7 kms and 120 kms from Chernobyl power plant will take us to the border of Belarus and Kiev, Ukraine capital with 3 million people respectively. Chernobyl nuclear plant is on the banks of river Pripyat. Chernobyl nuclear power plant with its first reactor started its operations in 1978.
Chernobyl reactor exploded on the night between 25 and 26 April 1986 registering the worst ever industrial disaster with radiation 100 times more than the atomic energy released by bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Intensity of the radiation was so strong that it affected 30 kms radius including the areas of Belarus, Ukraine and parts of Russia. In population terms there were 7 million people and 3 million were children residing in the affected areas at the time of the accident. Though a very negligible number of people resettled after the accident, 5.5 million people continued to live in the affected areas.
Description of the events of Chernobyl power plant gives an insight into the failure and possible dangers of human routed disasters. On the fateful day, testing of the cooling system of unit no 4 was underway. Failure of the test triggered the emergency shutting down. Emergency shutting down fails and unit no. 4 loses control and exploding triggering the worst industrial disaster. In such accidents, the radiation happens in the span of ten days. The winds were north bound in the earlier days and starts blowing south with frequent showers. Combination of rain and wind helped the radiation to reach different regions. Extinguishing materials weighing 5000 tons were dropped on the burning reactor using 1800 helicopters to control the disaster effect. As the after effects of the reactor accident dawned on people, it was given the maximum credible accident (MCA) by the Danish Nuclear laboratory. People were evacuated from the 30 km zone and subsequently there was one more fire breakout releasing more radiation into the air. Sarcophagus made of concrete to enclose the reactor from contaminating further is completed.
Worst in this major disaster is the health consequences that followed exposure to radiation. Cancers and tumors are the major health concerns and the issue becomes unfathomable as we understand that there were 3 million children at the time of accident in the activity zone. International organizations and volunteers have contributed their best to bring out the best from people for supporting the children of Chernobyl.
Today Pripyat, an urban wasteland after the accident is fast becoming wild woodland of Europe. We can see birds, animals sans the bear living there treating the area as their natural habitat. Nature is at its best with the general feeling that the soil is much cleansed after the accident with exotic varieties of flora and fauna providing the foundation to be declared as a wildlife preservation area.