Chernobyl viewed from 20 years’ distance
May 5, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine, the United Nations...
Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine, the United Nations called for more action to address the health problems faced by people who were affected by the fallout.
The head of the UN’s children agency, UNICEF, told the assembly that the most dramatic health impact was the increased incidence of childhood thyroid cancer caused by radioactive iodine. The affected areas of Belarus, the Ukraine and the Russian Federation are also still dealing with the economic impact of the 1986 disaster.
The nuclear fallout contaminated 59,000 square kilometres of Russia and affected 3 million people in that country alone. The Ukraine had 12% of its land affected and had to evacuate people from 170 towns.
The concrete and steel “sarcophagus” that was built over the exploded reactor was expected to have a 50 year life, but it is crumbling and deteriorating and so is now being recapped.
The world’s worst nuclear disaster at the number 4 reactor at Chernobyl happened on April 25, 1986. An operator had turned off the emergency shut-down mechanism to perform tests. The reactor reached 120 times its full power and the excess steam blew off the entire top shield.