Chernobyl - Death from Radiation Sickness

As deadly radiation spews from failed reactor number four, firemen fighting the resulting fires are getting sick. They cannot seem to get rid of the unusual taste in their mouths.

People in a nearby town also start to feel strange. The deadly plume of radiation reaches Belarus, on its way elsewhere.

Thirty-six hours after the blast, an evacuation order is given for residents to leave the nearby town of Pripyat and other villages. It is too late for many of them. Firefighters, meanwhile, are so highly radiated that nurses are afraid to touch them.

Failed reactor number four continues to burn for nine days.

A ten-day news blackout is instituted in the Soviet Union, even as radiation reaches Sweden. People exposed to the fallout soon die, including a firefighter. His baby daughter, born soon after the disaster, dies five days after her birth. She had absorbed radiation through her mother's womb.

With the evacuation of nearby towns, thousands of lives are disrupted.  About 350,000 people are involved with containing, then cleaning-up, what happened. 

Decades later, evidence of the disaster is still visible in this NASA photograph, Pripyat is a ghost town within the "zone of alienation" (also known as the "zone of exclusion," equipment used in the clean-up remains contaminated and Mikhail Gorbachev reflects on what went wrong.  Among other things, he notes (in the linked BBC interview):

The explosion at Chernobyl showed that we are capable of contaminating the planet for the long term, and of leaving a terrible legacy for future generations.

Today, mankind faces a challenge so huge that, by comparison, the Cold War appears like an incongruous vestige from the past.

Chernobyl clearly demonstrated that each disaster is unique and that no country can be prepared for every eventuality.

That is why we must deploy the maximum amount of effort to prevent disasters.

One must not compromise on nuclear safety. The social, ecological and economic consequences of these kind of disasters are much too heavy in every sense of the word.

Combining historical footage, witness interviews and recreated scenes, this video clip - from the BBC documentary Fallout From Chernobyl - examines what happened to the people and what made Chernobyl the deadliest nuclear accident in history.

See, also:


Media Credits

From the BBC documentary, Fallout From Chernobyl.  Online, via BBC Worldwide's channel at YouTube.  Copyright, BBC.  All rights reserved. Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the production.



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"Chernobyl - Death from Radiation Sickness" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 20, 2020.
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