On the 26th April 1986 at 01.23am during an emergency shutdown, a sudden power surge caused a series of explosions in reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat. The explosion lifted the top from the reactor and resulting fires sent plumes of radioactive fallout into their atmosphere. The fallout was detected all over Europe, but it is estimated that nearly 70 percent feel onto Belarus and the Ukraine. The radiation was estimated to be hundreds of times greater than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Large areas of Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine were evacuated from the 30km exclusion zone, however the harmful effects of radiation are still being felt far beyond. Radiationm has contaminated the food supply of humans and animals. Many children are born with severe disabilities or illness.
- A detailed account of the Chernobyl accident
- The evacuation
- The effects of the accident on human health
The full extent of the effects of the Chernobyl accident on human health is difficult to assess and remains controversial. Around 800,000 people were involved in the clean up after the accident. According to figures previously issued by government agencies in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, about 25,000 people have so far died as a result of their exposure to radiation. According to the Liquidators’ Committee, the total number of deaths is 100,000.
Ordinary people in Chernobyl, Bhopal and other largely forgotten contaminated communities the world over have much in common, not only in terms of their stolen health and livelihoods, but also in the extraordinary ways that they have come together to face apathy, government oppression and relentless corporate wrongdoing.
Remembering all those that have died and celebrating the colourful spirits of the living.