What are the causes and consequences of Chernobyl disaster?

Malini VK - Infobite  May 15, 2019

What are the causes and consequences of Chernobyl disaster?

A disaster which created havoc in thousands of people lives with its aftereffects. Chernobyl accident is one of the worst nuclear explosions in history resulted from poor nuclear reactor design combined with human error.

What happened?

- Chernobyl nuclear power plant is in the small town of Pripyat, Soviet Ukraine.

- On April 26, 1986 early morning operators conducted safety test in nuclear reactor no.4 by violating all the plant's safety procedures.

- There was a station blackout power failure in the middle of the experiment. The reactors were built in such a way that they were "highly unstable to low power".

- A combination of built-in reactor design flaws and reactor operators conducted the test contrary to the checklist, accelerated a nuclear chain reaction and an explosion inside the reactor.

- The hot fuel particles reacted with water and created a "steam explosion" which lifted 1000 metric ton cover on top of the reactor. This second explosion is responsible for escaping of radioactive material to the environment.


- The facility saw two immediate deaths after the steam explosion.

- Nearly 130 servicemen were hospitalized with Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS).

- The contamination started to spread in the atmosphere widely which made Soviet Union to evacuate nearly 300,000 people from the affected zone.

- Hundreds of people affected from thyroid cancer because of radiation. Livestock got affected and the children who drink the affected animal milk also were in danger.


- Soviet government covered the reactor with object shelter, termed as "Sarcophagus" to prevent the radiation spread. This is followed by complete shutdown of reactor 4.

- Other reactor units were generating power until 2000 when the nuclear power station was officially decommissioned.