Chernobyl: 34 Years Later, How the Affected Ones Are Dealing with It?
The exact cost of the Chernobyl disaster has been bigger than it seems. The worst accident at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine shook the world in terror, permanently altered a region, and left many lives affected with radioactive radiation.
The April 1986 nuclear disaster was the product of the serious mistakes by the plant operators, workers violated safety protocols and power surged inside the plant exploding and burning the Chernobyl reactor killing 31 people on the spot and affecting millions of lives in the future.
Even with attempts to shut down the reactor completely, another power flow triggered a chain reaction of bursts inside. Finally, the nuclear core was uncovered, spewing radioactive substances into the atmosphere. The xenon gas and about half of the iodine and cesium, and It was projected that about 13%-30% of this product made it to the atmosphere in the Chernobyl 4 reactor which had 192 tons of radioactive fuel. Scientists estimated the zone around the nuclear disaster will not be inhabitant for more than 20,000 years. After a few months after the Chernobyl reactor 4 nuclear power plant went into toxic flames in 1986, it was encased in a concrete and steel “sarcophagus” to contain the radioactive material inside.
Around 116,000 people that had been living within a 30-kilometer radius had been evacuated and later relocated. Furthermore, 220,000 people were relocated into less contaminated areas, and the opening 30 km radius prohibiting zone around 2800 km2 was revised and extended to cover 4300 square kilometers.
Russia’s gas & oil reserves helped it deal with the post-Chernobyl disaster, while resource-poor Belarus & Ukraine had nothing equivalent. These two countries announced a special Chernobyl tax in the initial 1990s, amounting to Belarus to 18 percent of all wages paid in the non-agricultural sector.
When it came to Western backing, Ukraine got the utmost resources & attention mostly because it inbred the Chernobyl nuclear plant and its destroyed reactor 4. In June 1997, G-7 countries vowed $300 million toward the realization of the resettlement shelter project, estimated costing at the time was $760 million. A different Chernobyl Shelter Fund was formed at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to accumulate the rest of the funds. Which later turned out to be a major challenge.
The shelter was originally planned to be completed by 2005, the construction originally began in 2010, and the deadline planned by 2005 postponed to 2012 than 2013, so on till finally 2018. The cost was projected at 1.5 billion euros, with the total cost of the New Safe Quarantine Resettlement Project exceeding 3 billion euros. In April 2016, when the world marked the thirtieth anniversary of the disaster, there was a sigh of relief as the half-life of the harmful nuclides contained in the sarcophagus was passed till then.
Now it’s been 34 years since the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster, But the effects can be seen alive. Currently, Chernobyl is a ghost town as it was evacuated right after the accident. Forests near are called red forests as the woods went brown and reddish due to radioactive exposure in the air. Even though the majority of the area was banished, long-term possessions still linger. Diseases have developed in the years after the disaster upon peoples who worked there at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, or in the surrounding places. Some diseases that are more widespread as a result of the radiation contact from the accident include cardiovascular disease, cataracts to the eyes, psychological effects, birth flaws such as hydrocephalus, as well as amplified risk for cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and papillary thyroid cancer. Other effects include unusable land for farming or unstable livestock from the accident. The world has already been dazed by one Chernobyl and exclusion zone. It cannot pay for anymore. It must learn lessons from the happenings in and around Chernobyl on April 26, 1986.