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Chernobyl Case Study

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Ashleigh Murdoch

on 26 February 2015

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Transcript of Chernobyl Case Study

Introduction of Chernobyl
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive chemicals and gases into the air surrounding the plant, which spread over much of the western Soviet Union and Europe, contaminating those countries and exposing the civilians to the risk of radiation poisoning. The Chernobyl disaster is the worst nuclear power plant accident in as of today when looking at the total cost and number of casualties and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale. During the disaster, 31 people died and long-term effects such as cancers are still being investigated, most of the people exposed are still alive today.
The Cause
The first public explanation was published in August 1896, after months were spent trying to determine the most likely cause. This explanation blamed the power plant operators. To investigate the causes of the accident the International Atomic Energy Agency made a group known as the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group, who would work with the workers and civilians for many months trying to discover the cause of the explosion. In this view, the catastrophic accident was caused by mass violations of operating rules and regulations by many of the staff and workers on site at the Chernobyl Power Plant. The operator error was due to the lack of experience, knowledge and training and not properly using all of the functions of the plant correctly. But in 1991, the case was reopened and reassessed and the USSR State Committee for Safety in Nuclear Power brought to light new theories and conclusions. They discovered that the information that was recorded in 1986 was either irrelevant or false information. They concluded that human factors would be the source of the disaster, such as operating the reactor at a low power level. There is still debate on whether it was the power plant operators or that multiple human factors caused the blast, but according the new and improved evidence, many believe that human factors were the cause of the accident.
Surrounding Areas
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation is a designated area around the Chernobyl Power Plant. It is has many names throughout the surrounding countries such as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the 30km Zone, or The Zone. Created by the military soon after the explosion, it originally placed as an area of 30 km radius from the power plant made for evacuation and placed under military control. Its borders have since been altered to cover a larger area of Ukraine, as the risk had gotten larger, and the Ukraine government was not prepared to risk some parts of Ukraine to contamination to dangerous chemicals and fumes, which can lead to poisoning. The Zone is managed by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, while the power plant and is administered separately. The Exclusion Zone covers an area of approximately 2,600 km2 in Ukraine, which is surrounding the power plant where the radiation and contamination points are highest. Public access to these areas are restricted. The Zone's purpose is to limit access to all of the hazardous and surrounding areas, reduce the spread of contamination and conduct monitoring activities.
Global Impact
I believe that Chernobyl gave the world a more serious outlook on radioactive material. This blast opened their eyes to the dangers that this sort of radioactive chemicals can have on people, medically and socially. People have seen on the television that people were at risk of developing cancers as a result of mere exposure to the chemicals and fumes, not to mention the 31 deaths that Chernobyl caused, not included the many people that have died of diseases and cancers, because they were exposed to the radioactive fumes. There is also the impact of the families who have lost family members in the explosion, and the families that have lost their family members to illnesses.
Nuclear Energy
No I do not believe that we should continue using nuclear energy one of the world’s main source of power. I think that using nuclear energy is too risky and is dangerous on a global scale. Chernobyl is one of the world’s biggest power plant explosions, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only nuclear power plant explosion. There have been many throughout history, such as the Three Mile accident in Pennsylvania in 1979 or the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011. There have been too many nuclear explosions and accidents to let it continue. There are other sources of energy that are just as efficient as nuclear energy, such as wind energy, solar energy and water energy. These are just as reliable as nuclear energy, but it is much safer on the global community, and it will never run out. In conclusion, I believe that we should stop using Nuclear energy and switch to safer and more earth friendly.
Implications of the blast
Since the Chernobyl explosion, approximately 330 000 people have been moved away from Ukraine, or at least the surrounding areas of the Chernobyl Power Plant. Of this number of relocated people, 116 000 of them were evacuated as quickly as possible after the explosion, whereas a larger number were relocated many years later, as they were not as exposed to the contamination than the people closer to the blast. As for the medical side of the Chernobyl disaster, approximately 240,000 workers and liquidators received high radiation doses while working to clean up the mess of the explosion. These workers had been working within 30km of the power plant. But later on in the clean-up process, the number of workers rose to 600,000, but still only a few were exposed to radiation. Environmentally speaking, the damage of the explosion was massive. It effected the plants and animals surrounding the plant, but also effected the water supply. The amount of damage made scientists believe that the consequences and aftermath of the blast is enough to damage the ecological balance for many decades.
Chernobyl Case Study
By Ashleigh Murdoch
Bibliography
Wikipedia. "Chernobyl Exclusion Zone." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Exclusion_Zone
UN Chernobyl Forum. "Chernobyl Nuclear Accident." 5. What Are the Social and Economic Costs of the Chernobyl Accident? Green Facts, 21 Feb. 2015. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. http://www.greenfacts.org/en/chernobyl/l-3/5-social-economic-impacts.htm
Wikipedia. "Chernobyl Disaster." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster
WHO. "Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident: An Overview." WHO. WHO, Apr. 2006. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/backgrounder/en/
Flanery, W. "Environmental Effects of the Chernobyl Accident." Environmental Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. National Council for Science and the Environment, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/152617/
Wall, Alex. "Top 10 Nuclear Disasters in the World." Process Industry Forum Top 10 Nuclear Disasters Comments. Process Industry Forum, 20 May 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. http://www.processindustryforum.com/hottopics/nucleardisasters
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