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Chernobyl: a Story in Pictures

Question: Let’s say you order up a highly experimental nuclear test, and let’s take that one step further and assume that within minutes of starting the test, you’ve caused a disaster that could affect nearly a third of the world’s population. What do you do?

If you’re Russia, you sweep it under the rug. During the night of April 26, 1986, Russian nuclear officials created the exact scenario described above with the Chernobyl disaster. Although a robust 600,000 brave (ignorant?) souls, also referred to as “liquidators,” assisted in the cleanup operation, the Russian government elected not to inform people in affected areas of the potential dangers of exposure to radiation. Twenty years later, the effects are beyond tangible – many people’s lives have been both defined and destroyed by this terrible disaster.

How bad is this stuff? Check this out:

  • Out of the 600,000 liquidators, 31 died almost immediately because of the exposure, and another 2200 are predicted to die of causes stemming directly from radiation exposure.
  • Thyroid cancer runs rampant in contaminated areas of Belarus, appearing at rates that are so far outside of the normal statistical distribution that it’s ridiculous.
  • Three out of four children in heavily affected areas of Belarus are born unhealthy.
  • Even now, tumors and mutations are appearing in the offspring of those affected. Scientists believe that this will continue to be the case in later generations.

The above info comes from the sobering/amazing/beautiful/powerful web memorial put together by Pixel Press. Check it out, and be sure to read the captions on each of the pictures. If you’re not brutally offended and freaked out by the end, something’s dead wrong!

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12 comments… read them below or add one

Aaron Brazell April 27, 2006

Holy cow. I’ve been looking at Chernobyl stuff for the past two days and it’s gut-wrenching.

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Dennis Bullock April 27, 2006

This is pretty deep for you.

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Lelia Katherine Thomas May 1, 2006

To answer your question, I’d be hoping with everything in me that there’d be no thing such as hell.

Chernobyl bothers me as much it does you, I think. It should have been a wake up call to us. Even in times of war, I don’t think anyone should have nuclear power, and the testing of nuclear materials is just asking for trouble, too. There are so many things we jump on and begin using, thinking that a 10-year study is enough to know about some chemical or nuclear component. It’s frightening.

This is not to say that nuclear methods could not and are not useful in some ways, but mankind is too…greedy…to have such power. In the long run, it is quite obvious that some of our greatest discoveries that initially saved lives or brought about better living will destroy us. It is the way of us.

Of course, it’s the same case with all of Pandora’s pretty little boxes, once they are opened, they are never closed again.

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t-fro May 4, 2006

Here’s I ran across a while back, with some interesting pictures of the area around Chernobyl.

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/chapter1.html

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FlashG May 4, 2006

Nice write and Chernobyl was certainly a gut wrenching accident, not just for the direct victims, local coomunity and neighbouring provinces and countries, but it was also a major environmental disaster up their with Exxon Valdez.

The only thing thoug, is – what was this “highly experimental nuclear test”. That’s pretty emotive (which isn’t necessarily bad), but emotions sometimes cloud the truth. With Chernobyl, the direct causes might not have been so much the nature of the test, but perhaps the way the test was run and how warning signs were ignored along the way.

All the best.

Regards,

Peter

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Ignas Mikalaj┼źnas May 10, 2006

You should visit

http://www.chernobyl.info/

if you haven’t already, it’s one of the more credible sources of information about the disaster and the consequences.

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sam October 10, 2006

Well, i thnk its odd that the world is in arms about the korean crisis, but when the threat actually comes home, we will not notice until ist too late.

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mishka February 6, 2007

shit hey, i still cant belive this has such a big impact on peoples lives, i have been following this 4 awhile and everytime i come across it a learn more and more, well done to everyone who has made a web page, this history will defiently not be fogotten x

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sickend by this February 13, 2008

this is really sick what happened there at chernoybl. people should be more careful of what the do in thier country’s, I mean look at the korean NUCLEAR crisis. that had the whole country shookin up by that.

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Mark February 3, 2010

I have been looking at the pictures, wow no one still about looks like a real ghost town even now the radiation is still too high. This is the wost acident in the last 100 years god bless them all.

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madison December 10, 2010

i have been studyin the chernobyl nuclear disaster… it is very upsetting to me that the government there would not tell the public of such critical time. they clearly didnt take in cunsideration that the reast of europe would want to no if a cloud of radioactive mist was being blown into there country. clearly since this has happend the compony didnt take the very good care of the building and safty as they should have tsk tsk…. i hope that it never happens agian.

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justin August 16, 2012

There was a sudden power output surge, and when an emergency shutdown was attempted, a more extreme spike in power output occurred, which led to a reactor vessel rupture and a series of explosions. These events exposed the graphite moderator of the reactor to air, causing it to ignite.

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Hoot and/or Holler

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