1986: Chernobyl - Russia nuclear disaster

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The Chernobyl, Russia nuclear disaster was the worst nuclear disaster in history and occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Plant. A catastrophic eruption ripped through the power plant on April 26, 1986, spewing radioactive particles into the sky. The deadly blast was caused by the explosion of the RBMK reactor number 4, a result of human error and fualty equipment. More than 50,000 people from the nearby town of Pripyat were evacuated following the blast. But plumes of deadly radioactive matter were sent high into the atmosphere as the uranium core lay exposed in the days that followed. The particles were swept across Europe by winds. Officials in Sweden, almost 700 miles away were alerted of radiation levels within their atmosphere within 48 hours of the explosion. Soviet authorities initially denied the claims anything happened but were forced to reveal the mistake as the scale of the accident unfolded. The initial impacted areas were Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia, with some areas contaminated indefinitely and to this day are still wastelands. The World Nuclear Association said: “Most of the released material was deposited close by as dust and debris, but the lighter material was carried by the wind over Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and to some extent over Scandinavia and Europe. ”The weather was a big factor as rains and snow were responsible for bringing radiation down to the ground, where it would penetrate into the Earth. The World Health Organization says an estimated 7,722 square miles of land in Europe was affected by radiation.

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