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The Chernobyl Disaster
Transcript of The Chernobyl Disaster
History and Overview of Chernobyl
Environmental Impact With No Action
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is located in Ukraine, 20km south of the border with Belarus. On 26 April 1986 when operators of the power plant ran a test on an electric control system of one of the reactors, causing a meltdown. Soviet scientists reported that the reactor contained about 190 metric tons of uranium dioxide fuel and fission products. An estimated 13 percent to 30 percent of this escaped into the atmosphere.
Effects of Disaster
The radioactive materials released by the accident had many immediate harmful effects on plants and animals living within 30 km of the Chernobyl power plant at the time of the accident. Overall, in plants and animals, when high doses were sustained at relatively close distances from the reactor, there was an increase in mortality and a decrease in reproduction.
Because radioactive caesium is continuously taken up and passed on by organisms in forest ecosystems, the animals and vegetation in affected forests and mountains are particularly contaminated. Forest food products such as mushrooms, berries and game contain the highest recorded levels of caesium-137. These levels will stay high if nothing is done.
Fish absorbed radioactive iodine very quickly but the levels decreased rapidly due to radioactive decay . Bioaccumulation of radioactive caesium along the aquatic food chain resulted in high concentrations in fish in some lakes as far away as Scandinavia and Germany. These levels can still spread through consumption, and if nothing is done, could spread across all of Europe and Asia.
Animals that still live around the reactor site are all considered contaminated. Species such as deer, lynx, and wild boar all inhabit the area. Birth defects and shorter lifespans have been observed in all species.
One of the first calls to action to prevent more radioactive leaks was to build a containment structure around the reactor that failed. They built one six months after the melt down, and rebuilt it in 2006. We believe a more permanent containment structure is necessary.
Containing Plant and Animal Life
Traces of caesium are being found as far away as Germany in some plant and animal life. We propose stricter testing of waterways in order to rid of toxic plant and animal life in order to eradicate polluted species.
In The Long Run
To finally rid of Chernobyl's effects, our group would like to see more funding go to the MIT research project for cleaning up the site permanently. They plan on rebuilding a reactor site, cleaning up and containing all nuclear waste products, and building more stable structures to contain energy and reactions safely.
By: William Berkheiser - Project Manager/Final Draft Editor
Matt Leven - Idea Compiler/Image Location
Derek Polito - Head Researcher/Organization
Tiffiany Potichko - Presentation Tech/Organization
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Chernobyl Accident and Its Consequences. NEI, Mar. 2015. Web. 5 Aug. 2015. <http://www.nei.org/master-document-folder/backgrounders/fact-sheets/chernobyl-accident-and-its-consequences>.
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Chernobyl's Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socia-Economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine (n.d.): n. pag. Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts. The Chernobyl Forum: 2003–2005. Web. 8 Aug. 2015. <https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/chernobyl.pdf>.
Future Container For Reactor
Reactor 4 Fails
Workers Attempt To Remove Radioactive Material
Workers Build Current Containment Structure in 2006
Plans To Rebuild Commence