Chernobyl is a horrific story. It was a nuclear power plant that exploded over 30-years-ago. What many people don’t know is that it was human error that caused the nuclear reactor to explode. When it did, it unleashed radioactive material across Europe. It was one of the most horrific accidents in history.
Time Stood Still
When the explosion occurred, everyone was evacuated from the town. They didn’t have time to go home and pack a bag. People were forced to drop what they were doing and leave immediately. Because there was no time to panic, to loot, or to do anything but leave, it looks as though time stood still in the town. People were there one minute, and the next, they weren’t. Now it is over 30 years later, and nothing has changed. Things have decayed a bit, but everything has stood still. For example, there are still pans with food in them on stoves, because these people had everything the way it was to evacuate safely. Radiation sickness was a serious threat; therefore, people had to get out quickly.
Radiation sickness occurs when you are exposed to a high amount of radiation in a very short period of time. The more radiation you are exposed to, the worse the sickness will be. Based on the amount of radiation released from the nuclear reactor, the residents could have died if they remained in their homes. The symptoms of radiation sickness include things like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hair loss, bloody stools, high fevers, and diarrhea. Cancer is a grave concern after excessive exposure to radiation.
The people close to the nuclear reactor became the sickest. Two people were killed immediately. Another 29 died of radiation sickness over the next few days. Decades later, the death toll was around 10,000 due to cancer and other conditions that the exposure caused. There are environmental groups who put the death toll at well into six figures. The explosion was absolutely devastating.
Many people have heard the story of what happened during the Chernobyl disaster, but most don’t know everything that there is to know. Here are 5 weird things you didn’t know about Chernobyl.
Similar To Hiroshima
When Chernobyl’s reactor exploded on April 26, 1986, there are about 30,000 people nearby. Those who were exposed to the radiation were believed to have received about 45 rem. This was similar to the amount of radiation that people were exposed to after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. When 45 rem isn’t enough radiation sickness; however, it still increased the risk of cancer. While many people were far enough away where they didn’t get radiation sickness, those close to the reactor did get sick, and many died.
The Greatest Harm Ended After a Few Weeks
After the initial blast released an enormous amount of radiation, the most serious danger was over within the first few weeks. The radiation fragments fly out when the nucleus explodes. While much of the radioactivity was gone within the first few months, some remained. There is still radiation in the area today.
Dozens Of Firefighters Died
Although everyone was evacuated immediately after the reactor exploded, there were some who were forced to stay. After the explosion, it caused a fire which needed to be put out. This meant that the firefighters stayed behind. As a result, many of them died of radiation poisoning. It is believed that the firefighters were exposed to over one quadrillion gammas each. Since there is one rem of radiation in 10 trillion gamma rays, this goes to show how dangerous their exposure was.
There Was No Containment Building
The problem with Chernobyl was that it didn’t have an important security measure in place. A containment building. These are gas-tight shells that surround a nuclear reactor. It is designed to confine any radiation from being released into the atmosphere during an accident like Chernobyl. Had there been a containment area in place, nobody would have died or become sick after the explosion.
Wildlife Can Be Found In Chernobyl
When the area was evacuated after the explosion, the wildlife arrived. There are more moose, deer, red deer, and wild boar in the area than in many nature reserves. This didn’t occur because the wildlife was drawn to the radiation. They found it to be a safe place. When the humans were gone, it was safe for the wildlife. The animals didn’t need to worry about being hunted, which caused the population to grow. Of all the animals in the area, the wolf population is the highest in Chernobyl. The population is seven times higher than that of reserves in the neighboring areas. There is no way to know how the radiation affected the animals in the area or their offspring. Many farm animals in the area were born with serious deformities and lived just a few hours. Animals further away didn’t experience these issues.