Chernobyl Disaster - 1986



  • The April 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was the product of a flawed Soviet reactor design coupled with serious mistakes made by the plant operators. It was a direct consequence of Cold War isolation and the resulting lack of any safety culture.
  • The accident destroyed the Chernobyl 4 reactor, killing 30 operators and firemen within three months and several further deaths later.
  • The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel.
  • The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind – some 5200 PBq (I-131 eq).
  • Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident, and a further 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning.
  • UNSCEAR says that apart from increased thyroid cancers, "there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident."
  • Resettlement of areas from which people were relocated is ongoing. In 2011 Chernobyl was officially declared a tourist attraction.            

It is a must watch documentary for an UPSC aspirant to get a deeper understanding of the environmental impact created by nuclear accidents. This accident is also a reminder for future generations and nuclear scientists to be more careful and prudent when it comes to dealing with nuclear fuels.