Chernobyl is not merely a technological castatrophe of the past. It infuences the present. "The numbers of excess cancers and cancer deaths worldwide will be in the tens of thousands" (Lisbeth Gronlund, Union of Concerned Scentists, 2011). The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station was commissioned in 1977 by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was made by four reactors; the completion of the first reactor was in 1977, followed by reactor No. 2 (1978), No. 3 (1981), and No. 4 (1983). Chernobyl was the third nuclear power station in the Soviet Union. The disaster occurred on the evening of April 25, 1986 when a group of engineers began an electrical-engineering experiment on the Number 4 reactor. The engineers wanted to see if the reactor’s turbine could run emergency water pumps on inertial power.
According with History channel “As part of their poorly designed experiment, the engineers disconnected the reactor’s emergency safety systems and its power-regulating system. Next, they compounded this recklessness with a series of mistakes. They ran the reactor at a power level so low that the reaction became unstable, and then removed too many of the reactor’s control rods in an attempt to power it up again. The reactor’s output rose to more than 200 megawatts but was proving increasingly difficult to control. Nevertheless, at 1:23 a.m. on April 26, the engineers continued with their experiment and shut down the turbine engine to see if its inertial spinning would power the reactor’s water pumps. In fact, it did not adequately power the water pumps, and without cooling water the power level in the reactor surged”.
Only 30 hours later (on April 27), Soviet authorities began an evacuation of the 30,000 inhabitants of Pripyat. Many fire fighters died. The army was brought in. Many suffered radiation burns. The radiation escaped into the atmosphere, being first noticed in Sweden before the Soviet authorities acknowledged the accident. It is still affecting people nowadays. The United Nations Agency “UNICEF” assessed the impact of Chernobyl on the health of children in Belarus and found increases in: congenital heart and circulatory diseases; disorders of the digestive organs; malignant tumors; disorders of the nervous system and sensory organs; disorders of the bone, muscle and connective tissue system (UN Report on Chernobyl).
The impact of the radiation also affected thousands of fertile hectares where people used to plant; the use of water from water wells also was banned. As well, horses and other animals were sacrificed for being radioactive. Some people didn´t want to go away from their lands and some others returned years after to their houses.The book "Voices from Chernobyl" from Svetlana Aleksiévich (Nobel Laureate) narrates people´s histories living there.
The information about the real social and ecological impact of Chernobyl is not well known. The damage to human health and wild life over a very large area in Europe was enormous. No compensation to the many victims (including mothers who decided to abort before birth) was made. Thirty years on, there are plans for a Chernobyl Park as a tourist attraction, and there is a $ 1.2 billion plan to build another safer confinement structure over the Chernobyl reactor.
The Chernobyl case reinforced strongly the anti-nuclear world movement world-wide.