The modern world is a witness and a judge of the tragic events associated with one of the most terrible catastrophes in the history of mankind. It occurred on April 26, 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power station.
According to various estimates of specialists, the consequences of a heavy explosion of the 4th power unit of a nuclear installation are equated to the explosion of 500 atomic bombs dropped by the Americans on Japanese Hiroshima in 1945. The spread of radioactive material was swift and massive. Radioactive rains fell not only throughout Europe, but also in the British Isles and Ireland.
According to the data of expert commissions, about 1 million people from all over the USSR took part in the liquidation of the Chernobyl accident. About 10 thousand people died of the effects of the explosion, more than 70 thousand became disabled.
Directly in Ukraine, about 2 million people were exposed to radioactive emition as a result of the accident. About 9 million people in Belarus, Russia and European countries. Almost 48 thousand people were permanently evacuated from Pripyat.
The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was assigned the 7th level of danger according to the International Nuclear Event Scale, as a local disaster with global consequences for the world’s population.
The impact of the disaster on the further development of the nuclear industry
The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power station radically changed thousands of human destinies. It led to huge economic losses and caused incredible damage to the nuclear industry. These obvious consequences of the tragedy at the nuclear power plant are a proven fact, but there are those echoes that the world community will continue to feel for decades.
The Chernobyl disaster is a demonstration of the whole mechanism of flaws and weaknesses in the world nuclear energy.
Immediately after the tragedy, protests broke out in the world community due to lack of awareness, lack of specificity about its causes and consequences. A wave of progressively-minded activists demanding truth from scholars has stirred the whole world.
At the same time, scientists tried to systematize their conclusions about the causes and consequences of the accident. In the countries of the former Soviet Union, design gradually ceased, and the construction of new nuclear reactors was frozen. A similar picture developed in the Western Europe, North America.
There weren’t built any nuclear power plant for 15 years after the Chernobyl tragedy.
Ecological consequences of the disaster
As a result of two powerful reactor explosions, as well as over the next few days, a huge amount of radioactive substances and heavy metals were released into the atmosphere. The level of radiation and radiation dust exceeded the permissible hundreds of times. The foci of pollution were concentrated primarily in open areas.
The streets of the exclusion zone, carriageways, walls, roofs of houses and buildings, squares and park areas showed a radiation background that was many times higher than its permissible value.
This became so obvious and life-threatening that it prompted the authorities to apply security measures for civilians. The population of the city of Pripyat, the nearest villages and towns on the territory of 30 km around the nuclear power plant was evacuated. They remain virtually deserted to today.
Ecology of the agricultural land
Thousands of hectares of black soil intended for the production of agricultural crops were unsuitable.
A catastrophic situation has arisen with the migration of radioactive substances along soil chains. As a result, they accumulate in the human body. In this regard, dozens of collective farms and state farms were closed, and farms were liquidated. The agro-industrial complex suffered serious losses.
Over time, the concentration of radioactive substances in the soil decreases. There are several reasons for this. This is primarily due to weathering, decay, and also the gradual penetration of decomposed waste into deeper layers of the soil. Nevertheless, even now, huge tracts of agricultural land remain unsuitable for use for their intended purpose.
Water is the source of life, so it was critically important to solve the problem of infection of water bodies quickly.
The aim was both water bodies located in proximity to the nuclear power plant, and in distant water arteries. Initially, radioactive dust fell onto water surfaces, but diluting them with water significantly reduced pollution.
It helped that water was concentrated in most of the substances with a short decay period. After some time, their content naturally decreased. This also applies to leaching of long-lived radiation waste from groundwater.
Their level today is close to the permissible norm and does not harm human health and the environment as a well.
Chernobyl today: Ecology of forest and animal resources
The spread of radioactive dust, a high degree of its absorption led to the total destruction of conifers and shrubs in the 10 kilometer zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Deciduous trees were less affected.
Affected forest areas have been called the “red forest”. Mushrooms, berries and other foods are still banned for food. The risk of cesium content in food products remains quite high in the territory conventionally designated as the exclusion zone.
Given the long decay time of this element, even with a general relatively favorable environmental situation, hundreds of hectares of forest will remain unsuitable for at least several tens of years. Nature, deprived of more than 30 years of human presence in it, strikes with its diversity of the animal world today.
And although for the first time after the tragedy, it was impossible to watch dead or lonely wandering animals in the exclusion zone without tears, today the Chernobyl territory inhabited by birds and animals can safely compete with world reserves and national parks.
The population of some animal species affects not only tourists arriving here, but also specialists in zoologists due to natural selection. The tragedy at the nuclear station claimed the lives of hundreds of representatives of flora and fauna, but life did not stop here.
The population of wolves and foxes, moose and deer, owls and eagles, beavers and river otters, lynxes and wild boars, hares, roe deers thrives brightly. Some species of animals have already been listed in the Red Book.