Introduction

On April 26th 1986, technicians at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in the Ukraine carried out a controlled experiment in the fourth reactor. They deactivated several major safety systems that would have shut down the reactor in case of accident. The experiment went wrong and an explosion blew the top off the reactor and started a fire in the reactor core. The fire burned for many days releasing a cloud of deadly radioactivity into the surrounding environment. This silent killer continued to pour from the damaged reactor for days.

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Power station

Chernobyl is the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, worse even than that at the Three-Mile Island power station in the United States in 1979. The wind carried the radiation cloud North over Belarus where 70% of the radiation fell, resulting in the long-term pollution of 32% of its territory. More than 2 million people used to live in this territory, which is about 20% of the country's population.

The ground is heavily contaminated and will be for thousands of years. The population was not warned and carried out their daily routine not knowing that this potential silent killer was raining down on them.

It's been 26 years since the accident. The radiation is spreading and people are still living with radiation all around them. They drink contaminated water, wash with it and they eat food that is grown in contaminated soil, as there is little food in Belarus. Money is scarce as not all people have work and those that are in work are paid very poorly. An example being, a doctor is paid the equivalent of 50 a month.

  • At present almost 2 million people live in radioactive contaminated territories.
  • Only 5% of children in the Chernobyl region are left healthy.
  • There is an alarming increase in bone marrow and brain tumours amongst children.
  • More children are suffering from malignant tumours of the mammary glands, lungs, bladder and kidneys.
  • There is a 40% increase in malignant tumours amongst men and 29% amongst women.
  • Children are particularly susceptible to radiation-induced illnesses. Many have Leukaemia, cancer of the thyroid and other cancers. Brain tumours are also now greatly increased. Stomach ulcers are also commonly found in children due to the poor diet. Babies are born with many different deformities.
 
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