Monday, April 14, 2008
Chernobyl. How the world found out
Information about the Chernobyl disaster was not disclosed by the Soviet Authoritities until strangely high levels of radiation were detected on the suits of workers at a nuclear power facility in Sweden. Nuclear particles were discovered on the suits of workers at the Forsmark facility. High levels of radioactive particles were discovered when power plant workers were tested for presence of radioactivity before entering for work shifts. After the alarming levels were discovered the power plant was put into alert mode, however, no explanation could be given that would trace the particles to the power plant in Sweden. By this time a radioactive cloud had spread through much of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. Finnish authorities also detected alarmingly high levels of radioactivity that could simply not be traced back to domestic power plants. After much investigation by Swedish experts it was determined that the source of radiation originated somewhere in the Soviet Union. Once the suspicions were made public, the Soviet Union had not choice but to inform the world of what had happened in Chernobyl. The delay in reaction had probable negative effects on the response that should have been taken as a result of the high levels of radioactivity that engulfed much of Europe. Belarus that received over 60% of the radioactivity suffered the most in terms of immediate and long term health effects. Once the news was made public, iodine especially, was adminstered to children in regions that experienced the radioactivte cloud. Many speculate that whatever measures were taken were too little and too late.