Chernobyl Disaster in the Soviet Union

From Nuclear Heritage
Revision as of 14:58, 28 September 2019 by ATOMI (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigationJump to search


Picture of the exploded Chernobyl reactor unit 4 after the accident of INES level 7 on April 26, 1986
Action in front of a market hall in Minsk for Chernobyl Day 2011
The protests in Minsk reminded that constructing an NPP in the most Chernobyl affected country is no good idea
Action on April 27, 2010 in front of the Parliament building in Helsinki
Poster announcing the Chernobyl theatre piece in Belarus 2014
Demonstration outside Ålands Lagting on Chernobyl Day 2009
Chalk slogans on the road connecting French EPR project and Chernobyl experiences (Network meeting in Bure, 2008)

On April 26, 1986 Chernobyl NPP unit 4 exploded. 500,000 people and 485 villages have been relocated, more than 500,000 victims suffered from this by then biggest atomic catastrophe in human history.


The nuclear power plant (NPP) was constructed in the former Soviet Union, situated in the Ukrainian village Chernobyl in distance of 16 kilometers to the town Prypiat close to Belarusian border. When the accident happened in 1986 the Chernobyl NPP was composed of four reactors in operation and two more under construction. The construction of the concerned unit 4 had been planned in 1972 and completed in 1983.

"Official" accident scenario

There are different interpretations of the course of the accident in Chernobyl, including several conspiracy theories. The "official" scenario reads like this:

  • April 25th: A new emergency cooling system was to be tested.
  • April 26th, 1.23 AM: Unit 4 of the Chernobyl NPP explodes.
    • 7 AM: 186 fire fighters combat the fire.
    • A few hours after the explosion Prypiat is exposed to radiation 15,000 times the normal (normal: 12 millionth roentgen).
    • In the evening the radiation is 600,000 times the normal.
    • Emergency rescue services operating at the wrecked reactor are exposed to a lethal dose already after 15 minutes.

Impact on the Baltic Sea region

Although far from that water body, the disaster is until today the biggest Baltic Sea polluter. At the same time the Baltic Sea is also the marine area most affected by this accident classified as INES 7. The reason is the route the radioactive cloud traveled after the explosions in Chernobyl. It went to the north and caused a strong deposition of radioactive nuclides in the watershed of the Baltic Sea. Cesium-137 first dispersed directly onto sea surface. Radionuclides came from the entire drainage area and from surrounding terrestrial as well as coastal areas due to runoff, river discharges and coastal currents. The total input from Chernobyl to Baltic Sea accounts for about 4,100-5,100 TBq Cs-137 and 80 TBq Strontium-90 calculated on the basis of the year 1991. Half of the Chernobyl Cs-137 settled in the seabed. The strongest accumulation took place during the first 5-6 years. It is still an ongoing process. The majority of radioactivity is deposited in the Baltic Sea sediments.

Actions and events


  • lecture "The Reactor Catastrophe in Chernobyl"
    • Information about the Chernobyl site, basic facts of the accidents, rescue measurements, radiation doses, consequences of the catastrophe, lies of authorities and politicians, Chernobyl as a political symbol and conclusions. 62 slides with images of the accident and from Belarus (victims of the accident, liquidators, "empty villages", actions).
    • The slides are currently provided in German (smaller file)only, but the presentation can be held in English, too.
    • duration: some 2 hours
    • technical requirements: digital projector & screen, computer/laptop
    • contact: Falk Beyer, Falk AT nuclear-heritage DOT net[1]
  • theater group: Theatre Kryly Halopa
    • Since 2013 the theatre “Kryly Halopa” has started work on a documentary theatre project “Stories of Belarus”. The documentary theatre Chernobyl based on the authentic texts and documents, interviews and the fates of real people, technology verbatim and the most actual and contemporary topics of reality, is a genre that exists on the border of art and social analysis.


Guided tours to the nuclear exclusion zone of the catastrophe - caution! This article downplays the risks of radiation while scientific sounding data is mentioned without telling that any additional radiation dose is to be avoided. They don't speak about the alpha and beta radiation regular Geiger counters can't detect. Don't trust travel agencies promoting adventure trips to atomic disaster zones - there safety measures and advice will probably again underestimate the actual threats.

Media releases


Further information

  1. For protection against automatic email address robots searching for addresses to send spam to them this email address has been made unreadable for them. To get a correct mail address you have to displace "AT" by the @-symbol and "DOT" by the dot-character (".").