Only the second ever ‘level 7 event’ (maximum classification) on the INES(International Nuclear Event Scale), the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is considered to be the world’s most deadliest catastrophe which happened on 26th April 1986, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor disaster in Japan in 2011. In what was then part of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the Chernobyl incident is believed to have occurred due to the Number 4 light water graphite moderated reactor.
A report by the international atomic energy agency examined the environmental consequences of the accident. 31 deaths were directly attributed to the accident. A UNSCEAR report suggests 64 deaths as of 2008. A Chernobyl forum predicted that the total death toll could reach 4000 due to those exposed to highest level of radiation.
The risk projections suggested recently this year state that Chernobyl may have caused about 1000 cases of thyroid cancer and 4000 cases of other cancers in Europe, representing about 0.01% of all incident cancers since the accident. Models predict that by 2065 about 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 25,000 cases of other cancers could be due to radiation from the accident, whereas several hundred million cancer cases are expected from other causes.
To counter any future incidents, Ukraine on Tuesday revealed one of the world’s largest movable structure over the 4th nuclear power plant. Standing at a height of about 108 meters(355 feet), it is reported to be taller than the magnificent ‘Statue Of Liberty’. It weighs about 36000 tons which is believed to be three times heavier than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The cost of construction for this massive structure is about 2.1 billion euros which is sponsored by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Title image: nytimes