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Could The Chernobyl Disaster Have Been Prevented?

1490 words - 6 pages

Period 5 March 9th, 2014
Justin Peterkin
A- Plan of Investigation-
For my Historical Investigation, I wanted to research the catastrophic nuclear meltdown that occurred on April 26th, 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. My research question is: Could the Chernobyl disaster have been avoided, if so, which moments in the chain of events leading to the accident needed to occur differently? To carry out my investigation, I plan on utilizing the Internet, encyclopedias and finding books that explain how accidental Chernobyl really was, the variety of mistakes made by the Ukrainians, as well as the Soviets, and how these problems could be fixed in accordance to the time period. I will use Chernobyl, global environmental injustice and mutagenic threats by Nicholas Low and Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl from Adriana Petryna for references that can help me in my investigation. Hopefully, with accurate analysis and innovation my research will teach the world of its past so this disaster doesn’t occur in the future.

B- Summary of Evidence
Chernobyl (chĬrnō´byēl) is the uninhibited city in north Ukraine, near the Belarus boundary, on the Pripyat River. Ten miles to the north, in the town of Pripyat, is the Chernobyl nuclear powerstation, site of the worst nuclear reactor disaster in history ("Chernobyl", Columbia Encyclopedia). To specify, On April 26, 1986, Unit Four of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in Ukraine, injuring human immune systems and the genetic structure of cells, contaminating soils and waterways. Nearly 7 tons of irradiated reactor fuel was released into the environment—roughly 340 million curies. Included in the release were radioactive elements with a half-life of 16 million years. Yet, we humans cannot defend ourselves from such radiation because we are biologically not fortified to do so. We are unable to taste, touch, smell, hear or see radiation. Its effects are silent but deadly. Less than six years after the coincidence, already there had been a hundred fold increase in thyroid cancers in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Most of these will be lethal (Shrader-Frechette 70)
. The main reason for the mishap is by now well recognized (Petryna 1). However, initially the Chernobyl catastrophe baffled the minds of people in the 20th century and definitely left the people of Ukraine disordered while living in anxiety. Now, without question, the public knows that the accident at Chernobyl was the result of a disastrous combination of ignorance from the Ukrainians and complacency from the Soviets in control of Ukraine at the time. As according to American physicist and Nobel laureate Hans Bethe, “…the Chernobyl disaster tells us about the deficiencies of the Soviet political and administrative system rather than about problems with nuclear power." The immediate basis of the...

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