Powered by ProofFactor - Social Proof Notifications

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Impact, Health Risks & Policy Implications

Jul 13, 2023 | 0 comments

blog banner

Jul 13, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Introduction

An atomic accident that occurred at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine in 1986 emitted massive radioactive constituents into the atmosphere. The materials released was 400 times greater than that of Hiroshima nuclear bomb. The misfortune devastated the Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl, leaving thirty operators and firefighters dead within few months. The person died on the spot followed by the other who suffered brutal injuries but later pass away in the hospital. Health centers diagnosed about 235 individuals with Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS), out of which 28 died of the syndrome within a few weeks of the incident. Thyroid cancers diagnosis in childhood increased because the consumption of radioactive iodine fallout. The contaminated areas were Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

 

People Also Read

 

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Chernobyl nuclear power plant is an electricity production station located in northern Ukraine next to Priyant city, with six reactors currently non-operational. The accident in reactor four resulted from human related mechanical failure.

Presently, the International Shelter Implementation Plan (ISIP) supports the construction of a New Safe Confinement (NSC) building within a limited area: Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which should be complete by 2017.

The NSC aims at servicing the removal of hazardous materials from the site, on completion with the federal government providing new guidelines for its nuclear power amenities.

Key Assessment

  • Approximately 6,000 cases of patients with thyroid cancer and 50,000 people are at high risk of the infection because of Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.
  • The atomic accident emitted huge quantities of radioactive material into the atmosphere contaminating large areas of Russia Federation, Belarus, and Ukraine and taking killing 30 personnel from the emergency workforce and staff in the plant.
  • Nuclear plant operators should alert relevant authorities in case of accidents to facilitate fast public security of protection to reduce cases of death and injuries.
  • The government should monitor and conduct an examination of water and food supplies that get into the food web.

Background

The disaster started during a system examination on 26 April 1986 at reactor four of the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine, a portion of previous Soviet Union.[1] Following a drop in major electrical power production, the plants conducted a test to assess its power supply ability to the chief circulating drives. The plant’s location is next to Pripyat city and in juxtaposition to the border with River Dnieper and Belarus.[2] This was the first and only accident in the commercial nuclear power history to cause mortalities from radiation. The incident was sudden and sophisticated as the emergency shutdown failed to respond. An extensively big spine in power production transpired, which led to the fall-out of a reactor vessel and successions of steam blasts. The events sequences uncovered the graphite mediator of reactor number four to air, producing an ignition.[3] The subsequent fire directed a trail of extremely harmful fallout into the environment and over a widespread geographical area. The plume flowed over greater portions of the western Soviet Union and Europe.

The disaster emitted huge quantities of radioactive material into the atmosphere taking down 30 lives of the emergency organizations have employed labor on fixed term contracts. The organizations are, in effect, achieving flexibility by adjusting the nature and size of their workforce and staff in the plant.[4] The radiation contaminated large areas of Russia Federation, Belarus, and Ukraine, reserved by many people. According to International Atomic Energy Agency (2008), the approximated number of deaths from radiation was 64. The UNSCEAR assessed an international cooperative quantity of radiation exposure from the incident, giving a report of cases of childhood thyroid gland cancer. Adolescence and children, who were in the area in 1986, consumed contaminated milk from radioactive iodine, which deposited on their thyroid glands.

Current Situation

A research by Soviet scientists recounted that the reactor 4 of the Chernobyl confined fission products and about 190 metric tons of uranium dioxide fuel.[5] Approximately 13 to 30 percent escaped into the environment, which spread over a wide area facilitated by weather conditions.[6] According to western scientists, 60 percent of the radioactivity affected Belarus. The United Nations detected a default in the implementation made by the Soviet Union after the accidents. The operations consisted of the animal folder and milk production management such as illegalizing intake of fresh milk. The main purpose was to help reduce chances of radioiodine consumption among the affected population. The study gives a proof that the major contributor to the increased frequency of thyroid cancer was radioiodine unconfined during the Chernobyl disaster.

Henshaw (1996) assessed a report in 2005 by the UN organization and the Ukraine, Russian, and Belarus governments, which indicate the effects of radioactivity on the environment and health related consequences. It reported 15 deaths related to thyroid cancer.[7] Radionuclides emitted from Chernobyl incident were caesium, iodine, and strontium. When strontium gets into the body, it accumulates in the bone, which increases health associated risks to the bone marrow and lymphocytes. Caesium collects in the heart while iodine concentrates milk glands and thyroids. Radiation causes damages to animal cells, thus slowing down cell division and acute radiation sickness with hair loss and vomiting as major symptoms.

The International Physician for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) claimed that over thousands of individuals suffer from thyroid cancer. In 2005, UNSCEAR reported a case of 6,000 patients with thyroid cancer and 50,000 people who were at high risk of the infection. Other disorders such as mental disorder caused by the perception or reaction towards the loss of friends and loved ones. Some people exposed to radiation perceived their situation as fatal. The Post-Soviet Health System became poor leaving most disabled people to suffer from inadequate medical attention. The Soviet Forum reported an increase in some abortion due to fear of radiation effects.

The radioactivity in the atmosphere caused contamination to the plants, animals, and the aquatic systems. The Chernobyl plant is next to the River Pripyat, which supplies the Dnieper Reservoir system in Europe.[8] Millions of Pripyat residence depends on the reservoir as their main source of water for domestic and industrial consumptions. The radioactivity polluted the entire aquatic system since the spring season was still at the onset. Bioaccumulation of radioactivity in fish caused increased concentration of iodine, which is high than maximum intake level depending on the guidelines. The maximum levels differ about country guideline; therefore, neighboring nations became scared of certain species of fish that could have high iodine levels.

The most affected species was plants and animals. The Red Forest originated after a wide spread of radioactivity for about four kilometers on pine forest turning everything into reddish-brown.[9] The pollution caused the death of wild animals due to the destruction of their thyroid glands by the doses of radiation, with some stopping to reproduce. An Agricultural Authority in Norwegian in 2009 suggested a provision of uncontaminated animal feeds to the livestock for some duration at the time of slaughtering, which was to ensure intake of safe meat. The recommendation was due to the remaining radioiodine pollution on plants from Chernobyl accident, which the animals feed on during summer. Several factories dealing with animal products restricted animal movement, to prevent consumption of polluted meat.

The Chernobyl accident caused a huge impact on the political and economic sectors of the affected nations. The Soviet Union spent over 18 billion on decontamination and containment.[10] The Chernobyl Forum produced a report that indicated that the government of Ukraine spends approximately 7 percent annually on the accident.[11] It also caused the removal of large acres of agricultural land and forest production, hence raising the cost of farm production due to the need for new fertilizers and exceptional farming methods. Politically, Chernobyl accident became a pro-independence drive and prosperity was a new podium of individuality. A welfare system began in Ukraine though it converted into an ineffective and corrupt system.

Implications

Today, unit 4 of Chernobyl is under construction, enclosed in a huge concrete shelter other reactors of the plant still operate. The plant with the assistance of international shelter implementation plan initiates construction of a New Safe Confinement (NSC) building, which should be complete by 2017.[12] It receives donations from international contributors to fund the hermetically sealed building. To eliminate dangers associated with nuclear, the NSC aims at servicing the removal of hazardous materials from the site.[13] Ukraine’s Holtec International initiate a project on Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CFSF) as part of nuclear fuel management owned by the state.

There is an improvement in the safety of Soviet reactors due to the cultural development of investment. The safe encouragement is through increased collaboration between West and East. Modification process continues the operating reactors. The main cause of unrestrained power outpouring in reactor four was the increase in an atomic chain reaction and power output, when the activities that result to physical healthiness. For example, proper diet, ensuring that all meals are balanced and taking a lot of water turns into steam. The control roots alteration is still on including the addition of neutron absorbers and raising fuel enrichment, thus increasing their stability at lower power. An automatic device for a quick shutdown operates currently with an improved inspection on the equipment. Soviet engineers make frequent visits to Western nuclear plants to investigate on further alteration needed in the Chernobyl plant as compared to the Western power plants.

The Post-Soviet nuclear accident initiated several international programs such as the International Atomic Energy (IAEA), which is mainly for the review of safety in the operating reactors.[14] The programs’ main objective is to bring together Soviet engineers to focus on the improvement techniques for the Chernobyl plant. The Soviet government effected broad procedures to provide protection its citizen including pasture treatment, purifying settlements, clean and safe folder provision to farm animals, and removal of some types of food from the human consumption. The Council Ministry of Belarus initiated a program that is to continue up to 2020, on the mitigation of Chernobyl effect and reappearance of the areas for ordinary with negligible limitations.

Policy Recommendations

The Soviet Union should ensure a proper design of power plant to prevent large-scale accident and radioactive release into the atmosphere. Federal government guideline needs to provide broader spare readiness planning for its nuclear power amenities by considering its plan. An effective emergency response such fast evacuation of workers and residence reduces the exposure to the radiation. Nuclear plant operator should alert relevant authorities in case of accidents so that the public get the security of protection approvals public. The regulator should come up with a mandatory rule that forces posting of local checkers at each power factory to safeguard the required federal safety. The government should monitor and conduct an examination of water and food supplies that get into the food web. Removal of contaminated meeting the consumer needs. In the case of the café, the consumers often need to eat, fresh and tastefully prepared food from public consumption can help reduce mortality rates caused by ingestion of radioiodine.

Reference

Baverstock, K., & Williams, D. 2006. The Chernobyl Accident 20 Years on: An Assessment of the Health Consequences and the International Response. Environmental Health Perspectives,

Henshaw, D. L. 1996. Chernobyl 10 Years On: Thyroid Cancer May Be the Only Measurable Health Effect. BMJ: British Medical Journal,

Hjalmars, U., et al. 1994. Risk of Acute Childhood Leukaemia in Sweden after the Chernobyl Reactor Accident. BMJ: British Medical Journal,

Ingram, S. 2005. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster. New York: Facts on File.

Jacob, P., & Kaiser, J. C. 2009. Radiation Risk Modeling of Thyroid Cancer with Special Emphasis on the Chernobyl Epidemiological Data. Radiation Research,

Kalra, R., Henderson, & Gary, A. 1993. Effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident on Utility Share Price. Quarterly Journal of Business and Economics.

Ramana, M. V. 2006. Twenty Years after Chernobyl: Debates and Lessons. Economic and Political Weekly,

Nakashima, M. 2009. Radiation health-risk sciences. Tokyo: Springer.

Parazzini, F., et al. 1988. Induced Abortions After The Chernobyl Accident. British Medical Journal (clinical Research Edition),

Romanenko, A. Y. et al. 2008. The Ukrainian-American Study of Leukemia and Related Disorders among Chornobyl Cleanup Workers from Ukraine: III. Radiation Risks. Radiation Research, 170(6), 711–720.

Schuler, D., & Fekete, G. 200. Childhood Leukaemia Incidence in Hungary, 1973-2002. Interpolation Model for Analysing the Possible Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. European Journal of Epidemiology,

Sich, A. R. 1994. Chernobyl Thesis. Science, 266(5191), 1627–1628. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2885207

Tondel, M., Carlsson, G., & Axelson, O. 2004. Increase of Regional Total Cancer Incidence in North Sweden Due to the Chernobyl Accident? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Walsh, L. et al. (2006). Thyroid Cancer Risk in Areas of Ukraine and Belarus Affected by the Chernobyl Accident. Radiation Research.

  1. Baverstock, K., & Williams, D. 2006. The Chernobyl Accident 20 Years on: An Assessment of the Health Consequences and the International Response. Environmental Health Perspectives,
  2. Ingram, S. 2005. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster. New York: Facts on File.
  3. Schuler, D., & Fekete, G. 200. Childhood Leukaemia Incidence in Hungary, 1973-2002. Interpolation Model for Analysing the Possible Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. European Journal of Epidemiology,
  4. Kalra, R., Henderson, & Gary, A. 1993. Effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident on Utility Share Price. Quarterly Journal of Business and Economics.
  5. Ramana, M. V. 2006. Twenty Years after Chernobyl: Debates and Lessons. Economic and Political Weekly.
  6. Hjalmars, U., et al. 1994. Risk of Acute Childhood Leukaemia in Sweden after the Chernobyl Reactor Accident. BMJ: British Medical Journal,
  7. Jacob, P., & Kaiser, J. C. 2009. Radiation Risk Modeling of Thyroid Cancer with Special Emphasis on the Chernobyl Epidemiological Data. Radiation Research,
  8. Romanenko, A. Y. et al. 2008. The Ukrainian-American Study of Leukemia and Related Disorders among Chernobyl Cleanup Workers from Ukraine: III. Radiation Risks. Radiation Research, 170(6), 711–720.
  9. Sich, A. R. 1994. Chernobyl Thesis. Science, 266(5191), 1627–1628. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2885207
  10. Walsh, L. et al. (2006). Thyroid Cancer Risk in Areas of Ukraine and Belarus Affected by the Chernobyl Accident. Radiation Research.
  11. Nakashima, M. 2009. Radiation health-risk sciences. Tokyo: Springer.
  12. Henshaw, D. L. 1996. Chernobyl 10 Years On: Thyroid Cancer May Be the Only Measurable Health Effect. BMJ: British Medical Journal,
  13. Tondel, M., Carlsson, G., & Axelson, O. 2004. Increase of Regional Total Cancer Incidence in North Sweden Due to the Chernobyl Accident? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
  14. Parazzini, F., et al. 1988. Induced Abortions After The Chernobyl Accident. British Medical Journal (clinical Research Edition), ↑   
5/5 - (11 votes)