“Avariya & Xaoc”

 

This picture of an abandoned amusement park shows the haunting memory of what was suppose to be a fun and memorable day of the people of Pirpyat, Ukraine. It was scheduled to open on May 1, 1986, however, never did because of the Chernobyl disaster that took place on April 26, 1986.

Over thirty years ago, the world witnessed the worst nuclear disaster to ever occur in history. On April 26, 1986, a massive explosion occurred in Chernobyl due to a failure of the nuclear power station’s number 4 reactor. The amount of radiation that was released into the environment forever impacted the environment and the people currently residing in northern Ukraine. This picture is a perfect image of illustrating the fall of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev’s leadership; though he painted a positive and bright picture for the future of the Soviet Union, it would soon fail due to the lack of readiness for the challenges to come.

This disaster specifically created economic and political problems because of the way that it was handled by the government. While it was hushed by the government for about three weeks, finally, Gorbachev went on television to report the incident. This was one of the major reasons why the Soviet Union started to fall under his leadership, it had to do with his failure of putting the Soviet people as a priority. It caused great economic problems because of the cleanup efforts that was needed in order to decontaminate the site. It caused political problems because of Gorbachev’s decision to not inform the public about what exactly happened  until three weeks after the nuclear event happened; it created citizens to not trust him.

Unfortunately, this event could have been avoided if the nuclear engineers had shut the plant down once they realized that the radiation levels were rising too high and too fast. Trying to research the limit of the nuclear plant, nuclear engineers thought that they were experienced enough to do such a test, however, had to reach the “shut down button” once chaos broke loose.

“Later reports would call the staff inexperienced, poorly trained. But that was not how they perceived themselves, Parashyn recalls. In their own minds, they were the best and the brightest, leading the way into a glorious future where power was abundant and life would have no limits. Their plant, after all, was only 16 years old.” (Ruined Chernobyl)

This excerpt from about a year ago shows exactly how this event could have been prevented, by hiring a well-educated staff . Now, thirty years later, this site is still contaminated with radiation and will be for about 3,000 more years. From the explosion, there were two immediate deaths; over the course of the next few days, twenty-nine people died in the hospital (New Scientist). Though there is much debate about the death total, “it is predicted that by 2065 Chernobyl, will have caused about 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 25,000 cases of other cancers, compared with several hundred million cancer cases from other causes” (New Scientist).

6 thoughts on ““Avariya & Xaoc”

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  1. Your post was really informative. Thank you for clearly explaining what, how, and why it all happened. After reading another blog, I was unsure as to why it took so long for the government to alert the public of this situation, thank you for answering that for me. Just as it proved to be unwise to make the people aware so late, I feel like letting the people know ASAP would’ve been seen as the smart decision from the get go. It seems as if Gorbachev knew the USSR was going down hill and was afraid to let the people know for fear of increasing their distrust of the government, but perhaps I’m wrong. Thanks for the good post.

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  2. It is crazy to think that something so disastrous could have been prevented by simply having more educated workers. I have always found it interesting how different movies portray Chernobyl and people who grew up in this area. It is definitely a tragic event, but I also think that it shows how disastrous it would have been for the Soviet’s to use their nuclear powers on other countries, as well as the US.

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  3. I mentioned this on another post but this is similar to the Three Mile Island incident in the US. A nuclear reactor failed and it was discovered that it could have been prevented by hiring a more educated workforce. You would assume anyone working at a place like this would be highly educated but apparently not. I also think it’s amazing that no one in the Soviet Union found out for weeks -that just blows my mind. Great post!

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  4. Everyone knows about famous reactor 4 that caused the accident, but we don’t know what happened beforehand leading to the event. I like that your post talked about the radiation levels raising too high, too fast (which should have been the first hint) and the inexperienced staff because I didn’t know the details of Chernobyl. The number of people who have died of thyroid cancer is also interesting and informative, and relates to the video we’ve been watching in class.

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  5. I really enjoyed this post!! I really liked the connections you made between the disaster at Chernobyl and the fall of the Soviet government. I really liked the point you made about how Gorbachev waited so long to make the disaster public– of course it was embarrassing, but it is crazy to think how much damage could have been avoided if he had been up front about the problem!

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  6. It is interesting to see things from the perspective of the people who were working there. As you showed in the quote they thought they were the most experienced to work the reactor. I also liked how you discussed the future health effects of the disaster as well. It will be interesting to see just how many people will still be affected by this disaster.

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