In 1986, one of the largest nuclear accidents occurred in Russia near Pripyat, which has long since been abandoned. The event was labeled as a level 7 (the maximum) on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Personally, this is one of my favorite topics to discuss…
On a night in April of that year, a safety test was in the process, but it soon became catastrophic. Due to reactor design flaws and operators arranging the reactor in a way that was not protocol, uncontrolled reaction conditions occurred. A power surge occurred unexpectedly, provoking operators to commence an emergency shutdown, but it only sparked a larger power output which led to a rupture of a reaction vessel and caused steam explosions. Updrafts from a resulting open-air graphite fire lasted for about nine days, launching plumes of nuclear fission products into the environment and atmosphere, which then expanded into some European countries and the western USSR. Most of the fallout (60%) ended up in Belarus, which would then cost approximately $235 billion (US) in the next 30 years.
Evacuation of 49,000 Pripyat residents was guided by Soviet officials 36 hours later, though it wasn’t advised at first, given that the road to exit was covered with nuclear hotspots. The town was technically safe at first because of the wind direction, but that direction did change. Land of the evacuation zone expanded from 10km to 30km in the span of about a week. About 68,000 other people were then evacuated from Chernobyl, resulting in an estimated total of about 135,000 residents who agreed to leave. There were citizens that refused to leave their homes and livelihoods, some for drastically rebellious reasoning. Many of those in that evacuated were said to have been “better off staying home.” After a study conducted in 2007, those who still lived there in the area (unofficially) were at a lower risk of death – kind of a confusing conclusion if you ask me..
Some quicker facts:
- A decontamination effort involved over 500,000 workers and an estimated cost of 18 billion rubles (Soviet currency, equal to US dollars at the time).
- The evacuation was started before the incident was publicly announced by the Soviet Union.
- The evacuation zone is still there due to the high levels of radiation that remains as it continues to grow.
- Another suspected cause of the accident was the negligence of personnel during the plant’s construction.
- 237 people were influenced by acute radiation sickness afterward, 31 of which passed away within the first 90 days.
- Due to the high levels of radiation, it is believed to this day that animals could have been affected by mutation after the Chernobyl Disaster.
- Because of an energy shortage in the country, the Ukrainian government allowed 3 of the remaining reactors to continue operation.
- Those that left during the second evacuation would have lost 3 months of the life expectancy if they would have stayed home.
Two immediate deaths were caused by the event: one was caused by a lethal dose of radiation, while the other was caused by the explosion itself. Following the explosion, 134 servicemen were then hospitalized due to acute radiation sickness. 34 of those servicemen as well as employees passed away within the following days and weeks but cancer also developed among the abundance, taking more 14 lives.
Due to these deaths, caused by such a horrific event that scarred thousands of individuals forever, the location is now majorly influenced by paranormal activity. While there have been a number of accounts and claims, one stands out. After visiting the location in 1997, a nuclear physicist obtained a compelling encounter…While he was getting radiation readings of the same reactor in which the explosion occurred, he heard a cry for help. Upon investigation of where he heard this plea, it was clear that this area was not possible to reach without a password and a handprint. Not only that but if someone slipped in those doors when he wasn’t attentive, an alarm would have sounded, making this experience that of pure mystery…along with the story of Chernobyl.
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