The region of Chernobyl, Ukraine was the scene of the largest nuclear accident in history, which happened on April 26, 1986, after the operators of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant carried out an unsuccessful experiment with a reactor. Just to give you a general idea of the severity of the accident, the amount of radioactive material released into the air during the Chernobyl explosion was at least 100 times greater than the material released in the blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Here’s a selection of more surprising and shocking facts about the terrible occurrence that is the Chernobyl accident. Boom!
#1 One Hundred Years
Experts claim that the region will take at least another 100 years to finally be considered free of radioactive pollution.
#2 The Radioactive Disease
According to The Chernobyl Forum, it is expected that more than 9,000 people still die of cancer due to high exposure to radiation.
Pregnant women who lived in the region when the accident happened were instructed to have abortions, in order to avoid their unborn babies coming into the world with serious mutilation problems.
#4 The Red Forest
After the nuclear accident, the forest in Chernobyl that was once green somehow turned into an eerie reddish colour.
#5 The Animal Sanctuary
The region of Chernobyl became a wildlife sanctuary after the evacuation, and is now home to a significant population of wolves, deer, beavers, horses, and many other animals.
#6 The Risk
About 800,000 people were given entry into Chernobyl to handle the situation after the horrendous accident, and were exposed to a very high amount of radiation. Out of these people, 25,000 were killed and 70,000 were left with serious bodily damage.
We mentioned above that 25,000 people who were exposed to the radiation died. 20% of these actually committed suicide.
#8 It’s Still There
97% of the radioactive material that was released into the air after the accident at Chernobyl is, to this day, still there.
#9 Death Benefits
Many people ended up going back to the contaminated region, with the desperate intention to receive financial benefits from the Ukrainian Government. Clearly, this caused many deaths instead.
#10 Historical Event
The accident at Chernobyl is the only one to reach Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, making it the largest man-made accident in all of history.
#11 The Effects
According to Greenpeace, the accident eventually caused 93,000 people to die of cancer.
#12 The Risk Area
It is estimated that more than 5 million people live in regions considered contaminated by the accident.
#13 Understanding The Problem
There are plans to use the surrounding regions to the area of the accident for activities involving studies on radioactive material and its interference in natural areas.
#14 In The Name Of The Father
All the renewed residences in Chernobyl today each have a sign with the names of their original owners.
#15 Health Problem
Most people aren’t aware of this, but the physical and psychological state of people affected by the nuclear accident is still, to this day, the biggest problem for public health in the world.
#16 Inside The Storm
According to the NRC (The Nuclear Regulatory Commission), 28 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant workers died within four months after the accident happened on April 26th, 1986.
#17 Thyroid Problems
According to Greenpeace, at least 60,000 cases of thyroid cancer were related to the accident.
#18 200 Tons
Two hundred tons of radioactive material is still present in Chernobyl. And to think they carry out daily tours there…
#19 The Last Reactor
The last Chernobyl reactor was shut down only 14 years ago.
#20 The Good News
To end our article a little less morbidly, the number of deaths by cancer or other health problems caused by the accident were actually lower than originally expected. Well, at least there’s some good news!