Do you remember what Newton had stated in his third fundamental law? Even if you are not a Science aspirant, you must have come across it during one of your elementary science classes. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Yes, this holds true in every aspect of human life. The cataclysmic disaster that happened at the midnight of 26th April 1986 in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR was no exception.
Negligence to take precise, timely actions lead to this massive explosion which had cost not only several deaths but irreversible impairment. Until 2011, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was the only disaster worldwide rated INES 7 by the IAEA.
The administration in power had been prompt enough to suppress all facts and figures related to the catastrophe. HBO recently launched a documentary on this, where Craig Mazin in the five episodes long miniseries has not only vividly depicted the whole scenario-the cause and its aftermath but also threw light on the commendable efforts of the firefighters, the Tula miners who sacrificed their lives to save the rest.
The planned safety test aimed to simulate a sudden interruption in electrical power supply referred to as electrical power outrage and implement the safety mechanism for uninterrupted circulation of reactor cooling water until the backup generators supplied power. Disruption in power supply for even a minute was a potential threat for safety as it would cause the failure of the cooling process, which would lead to the overheating of the reactor core.
None, in particular, can be solely blamed for this unfortunate incident. A series of flaws lead to this massive disaster. This particular safety test that was in progress on the 26th night was the fourth attempt since 1982. The execution was as per plan until another power plant in Kyiv went out of order. To meet the evening power supply-demand the process of reduction of power levels had to be halted halfway at the beginning of the day-shift on 26th April 1986. The unprecedented happening lead to a delay of 10hours in conducting the test. A special team of engineers was assigned, but the delay compelled the unversed workers to proceed with the test.Anatoly Dyatlov, the chief engineer of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, disregarded all evidence that suggested an explosion of the nuclear graphite core. He instructed to lower the control rods manually to facilitate cooling effect. These were the possible human errors that all happened inside the power plant. But, the RBMK reactor was faulty machinery and had several defects too. All these cumulatively lead to the catastrophe.
Valery Legasov, Boris Shcherbina, firefighters, Tula miners, and several scientists came in to conclude the haywire scenario. The evacuation of Chernobyl and Pripyat was carried out. The construction of sarcophagus over the fourth reactor was a preventive measure. The treatment of the injured was carried out in Moscow.
As per WHO, Chernobyl disaster, lead to severe disease and impairment like:
·Leukemia and non-thyroid solid cancer
·Mental health and psychological effects
·Reproductive and hereditary effects and children's health
The official report claims the death of only a small percentage of the several thousand who died due to Acute Radioactive Syndrome after the deadly disaster.
If you are intrigued, do watch the entire series of Chernobyl.