Today, 34 years have passed since the tragical accident at the Chernobyl power plant. How it all happened
The destruction of the reactor led to terrible consequences: in the first three months after the explosion, 31 people died, 134 liquidators were faced with radiation sickness, radionuclides of iodine and cesium were distributed throughout Europe. For residents of Ukraine, the homeland has become an exclusion zone.
Local residents of Pripyat and employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, this hell began at 1:24 on April 26, 1986, when the reactor of the fourth power unit was destroyed, accompanied by a huge emission of radiation.
People were dying in terrible agony: the station operator was the first to die from the explosion, and in the coming days, firefighters who bravely fought with the flame died from severe exposure.
The full picture of what happened did not immediately open to the world: at first, people who took part in the events themselves did not realize the scale of the disaster. In addition, the Soviet government desperately wanted to hide the truth about the disaster: documents on the causes of the accident were classified, as were the results of medical examinations of the victims and information on the degree of radioactive contamination.
On the anniversary of this tragic event, we recall the chronology of those terrible days and heroes who sacrificed their lives to save the people.
On April 1986, the fourth power unit was prepared for the next scheduled repair. This practice has existed for years and did not cause concern among NPP employees.
However, equipment was always tested during stops, this time checking the “turbine generator rotor run-out”. This mode would allow the use of the stored kinetic energy in the event of a blackout of the station. Until 1986, the experiment was carried out three times, but it had never been successful.
So, from the night of April 25, station workers began to reduce the power of the generator. Allegedly violating safety precautions, employees turned off automatic protection - the reactor emergency cooling system.
However, later it turned out that this action was not a mistake: in tests of abnormal operating conditions of reactors, they always did this. But then the readings of sensors and devices began to jump, and without an experienced chief nearby the operator did not understand what to do in an unusual situation.
Why, then, was there no tightened control by the physicists-designers and chief engineers? These questions were repeatedly mentioned in court records several months later ...
April 26, 0:28: the reactor power “failed” to 30 megawatts, and the test program clearly indicated - keep the level at 700-1000. Manually, the staff tried to eliminate the imbalance in the system, and at one o'clock in the morning the indicators suddenly jumped seven times to the level of 200 megawatts.
Something obviously went wrong, but the station staff continued the test: after all, it was necessary to carry out the order ...
To explain what happened in the next few minutes, you need to understand how the reactor is build. Inside is a two-ton graphite cylinder pierced by 1700 channels through which water flows, slowing down the speed of neutrons. In the event of an accident, the liquid heats up and evaporates, and the reactor literally "brakes" itself, preventing an explosion.
And here there is a small “No”: the engineers did not take into account that there is too much graphite in the equipment, the material slowed down the processes, and when the water began to boil, at the critical moment, the reactor acceleration could continue.
This error could not be known to simple engineers who worked at nuclear power plants that night. At 1:07 in the morning, they connected two more working pumps, hoping in the future to provide cooling of the system.
The amount of fluid in the channels decreased, then the water level stabilized. At 1:22, the staff saw that the reactivity margin was critically small, which meant that you had to turn off the engine.
But the test continued and entered the active phase of “run-out”, although the thermal power was steadily growing. At 1:23, the shift supervisor of the fourth power unit gave an urgent command to press the emergency button of the A3-5 reactor: the rods from the material absorbing neutrons were supposed to sink to the bottom of the reactor.
However, the design of the rods was far from ideal: displacing water, they accelerated, rather than slowed down the reaction.
The rods stuck at a height of two meters, the temperature soared, and self-acceleration of the generator began. At 1:24, two explosions thundered at the station, destroying the reactor. Multi-ton debris buried underneath the pump operator of the MCP Valery Hodemchuk.
A fire started…
Through the eyes of witnesses
A minute later, the fire station number two received a signal about the ignition of a nuclear power plant. The group was led by 23-year-old lieutenant Vladimir Pravik, and soon he was joined by the guard of Lieutenant Viktor Kibenok. Nobody knew yet that the reactor has vanished, and instead there was place a column of ethereal white-blue light shining, streaming into the night sky ...
Deputy Chief Engineer Anatoly Dyatlov believed that the reactor was intact, you just need to supply water and cool it. The real picture was opened to Alexander Yuvchenko, who came down from his workplace a couple of floors below. On the way he met cameraman Viktor Degtyarenko: bloodied, in blackened clothes. The victim assured that everything was fine with him, but help was needed for people left in the pump room.
The tragic events of that night were quite accurately described in the episode of the HBO series about Chernobyl.
Yuvchenko, along with his colleague Yuri Treguba, went to the cooler tanks and through the slot covered with debris of the door he saw the destroyed walls and tanks. There was no roof, and in the place of the reactor there was only a glow caused by radioactive ionization of the air.
But back to the firefighters, who were in the center of events. They did not have any special protective equipment, only canvas suits, mittens and helmets. They couldn’t get through to the dispatcher’s manager to find out the details of the incident, so they just got to work. At two in the morning, fighters who fought with fire at the station began to be sent to clinics with signs of radiation sickness. Looking ahead, we note that the brave lieutenants Pravik and Kibenok died on May 11 ...
“I got a call from the Chernobyl medical unit just home, the phone is always near my bed: here, they say, Angelina Konstantinovna, a strange story - there was a fire at the station, some explosions and patients with a reaction very similar to radiation.
Then came such information: a typical reaction - vomiting, redness, weakness, one has diarrhea. What to do?
The first patients are still arriving. I say: “It is very similar to radiation sickness,” recalled Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Angelina Guskova. “But, you know, all the technicians say that this is simply not possible.” Calls continue: they say there are more and more people. Already 80 people, 120 ... ".
By six in the morning, the fire in the fourth power unit was under control, but this was only the beginning. To assess the scale and eliminate the consequences of the disaster, in the morning of April 27 in Moscow they created a Government Commission led by Boris Scherbina.
At 13.10 local residents of Pripyat announced the evacuation of residents. Preparations for transporting people were carried out the night before, and now, in three hours, 47 thousand people were able to take them out. They threw houses, land, dogs and cats ...
Against the background of the evacuation, military helicopter pilots began to dump sand, clay and boron into the explosion site to stop the spread of fire and fuel leakage. People died or ended up in hospitals with serious exposure, but it was not until April 28 that the media broadcast the first official report of the disaster.
“One of the reactors was damaged. Measures are being taken to eliminate the consequences of the incident. The victims received the necessary assistance. A Government Commission has been created to investigate what happened, ”the announcement said briefly.
LIE AND RESCUE
On May 2, the Government Commission began to evacuate the population of villages within a radius of 10 kilometers from the accident, and on May 3, work began under the “body” of the fourth power unit: there was a threat of burnout of the lower part of the reactor. Without injuring themselves, the miners worked in terrible radiation fields.
Two days later, people have been evacuated from Ukraine and Belarus, who lived 30 kilometers from the nuclear power plant. 135 thousand people were forced to abandon their land, which received the name of the "exclusion zone".
Only on May 6, the reactor was completely under complete control, thereby stopping the release of radioactive substances. But not only the flame was the main problem of the liquidators. The Black Wind carried radiation in the form of a plume from the ashes to Russia, Finland, and Sweden, then turned south, sending nuclear dust to Asia and North Africa, and then to the United States.
According to Professor Goldman, a deadly cloud descended in the Florida area. According to rumors, worried farmers killed all the cows that could get infected through grass covered with nuclear waste, and received financial assistance from America for this.
Despite the critical situation, on May 9, the Minister of Health of the Ukrainian SSR Anatoly Romanenko announced on the radio that the level of radiation was declining and was currently in line with international standards. What kind of "norm" was discussed, if now nuclear pollution is compared with 400 Hiroshima?
According to official figures, eight and a half million people were affected one way or another, 23% of of them are from Belarus, 10% of Ukraine and 15% of Russia. For the first time, Gorbachev spoke on television on May 14.
In those days, the emergency zone was continued to be treated with a sorbent, and the next step of the liquidators was the construction of a rampart to prevent harmful substances from entering the rivers. In August, at an IAEA expert conference in Vienna, Academician Valery Legasov, who led the commission to investigate the causes and consequences of the accident at a nuclear power plant, presented a five-hour report on the analysis of the Chernobyl tragedy. His utmost honesty and an indication of the shortcomings in the design of such reactors did not please the Soviet leadership: subsequently Legasov was not elected to the scientific and technical council and was awarded the title of Hero of Russia only after his death, in 1996.
In record time, in only five months, a sarcophagus was created that covered the fourth power unit - the so-called Shelter. Building it turned out to be very dangerous: in some places of fuel accumulation, radiation reached a huge level of 3,000 x-rays per hour, despite the fact that a dose of 400 is lethal. But even so, civilian and military people did not back down and sacrificed their health for the sake of saving humanity.
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Russian customs officers detained 106 tons of scrap metal from a decommissioned nuclear submarine while trying to export it to China without a license. This was reported by the press service of the Federal Customs Service (FCS).
After cutting the hull of the submarine, they tried to export the steel by a private company under the guise of scrap of ferrous metals. As noted in the department, for the export abroad of metals that can be reused by melting and subsequent forging when creating military equipment, a license of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of Russia is required.
It was found that the scrap from the submarine was purchased at the shipyard at the auction. The director of the company participated in it, using the license of another company. It is issued to specialized state organizations that have received the right to foreign trade with products of a special category.
A criminal case has been opened against the head of the exporting company under article 226.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Smuggling of military equipment).
20 crazy photos you shouldn't even try to find an explanation for
Madness is all around us, but only a few examples of it are worthy of attention. Today we will amaze you with crazy photos, in which such a game is going on, that it is better not even to try to explain them. A snow woman in the shower, a carpet on the escalator, a hookah with sausages and many more brain explosions await you further.
1. Snow woman in the shower
2. Circus show at the crossing
3. Escalator with carpet
4. Hookah with sausage
5. This fashionable man
6. What could raccoons need so badly in this store?
7. Film suit
8. When they said that the ballet lacks expression
9. It is very difficult to explain how you can live with such nails
10. Tango mask. Dance the coronavirus!
11. Who even thought of making a similar mannequin, which is also a child's
12. And the pens are here.
13. Apparently waiting for the steamer
14. Facial care level: miner
15. Hopefully this is not a controller
16. I decided to ride a hare
17. Who needs to hang a car in the forest?
18. Oh, the leg bought herself a new phone
19. This catalog with children's knitted masks
20. Finally, this stylish coffin