Chernobyl: The Night And The Melancholy

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Written by Akshat Shukla

April 26, 1986. The night was as silent as ever in the small Ukranian town of Pripyat, a minor part of the then Soviet Union and the site housing one of the most infamous nuclear facilities in the world, The Chernobyl, but soon something was going to happen that the world would never forget.

At approximately 1:23 AM, the power station started exhibiting worryingly suspicious behaviour. Authorities comprehended this as a technical default, but they were soon forced to change their inference. A few hours later, nuclear reactor numbered 4 started to erupt vigorously and emit enormous amounts of radioactive radiation. Soon, the radiation rushed out of the facility and make their way to the urbanised areas. In less than an hour, the deadly radiation waves covered all the adjacent towns and cities, which included those in Ukraine, Bylorussia, Poland, Scandinavia and beyond.

Following the incident, a team of engineers along with trained facility workers were hurried to the site. The foremost task at hand was to prevent the nuclear plant's molten uranium from burrowing into earth. The explosions at the reactor had caused a highly active graphite moderator fire, which at that time was very difficult to extinguish due to lack of technology. However, a decision to layer the fire with different materials was made, the execution of which claimed the lives of over 30 workers. Many others died as a result of exposure to radiation at the site along with some being killed at the explosions.

By May 9, the fire had been extinguished and a tunnel was dug underneath the third unit of the reactors in order to prevent melted radioactive material into the groundwater. The construction took 15 days and 400 workers.

Near a quarter century later, the Chernobyl disaster remains a calamity through the aid of which all such future accidents will be measured. Various stories are told still today about the horrors of this incident and those who sacrificed and risked their lives to save many others, who today are rightfully regarded as heroes by those who were witness, and indeed, survivors to this nightmarish mishappening, the memories of which are still fresh in their minds.

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