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.

2 comments:

Jonathan Cohn said...

The way that the Soviet Authorities handled the Chernobyl disaster is absolutely horrible. The crazy part is that the truth might have never been released if it wasn't for the Swedish expert. I am wondering if people inside of Ukraine had been dying due to the immediate exposure of radiation prior to Soviet Authorities announcing what had happened. Also have there ever been any instances in which the American government was forced into telling its people something that they had not planned on speaking of? I am very curious of how the Soviets believed they were going to get away with this.

David said...

Yea it seemed to be an all-around snafu... I wonder how much differently our government would have handeled the situation.

Hopefully we ourselves have not been significantly affected by this disaster, but it is hard to tell.

Like Syvtlana said, they have some excellent videos on youtube.com about this true horror story.

-David