#1 The Accident

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 22 January 2011

What happened on 26 April 1986

Much of what happened at Chernobyl in the early hours of 26th April 1986 is clear.

The plant’s senior management had undertaken a required safety test – an experiment, really – on the reactor in Unit 4, and it went disastrously wrong.

There was a least one explosion of hydrogen gas and a huge blast and fire which wrecked the reactor’s highly-radioactive core and blew it and its protective concrete shield onto their sides. The roof of the building (never designed as a shield) was ripped off and, in the intense heat, a funnel of highly radioactive material – metals, gases and building fabric – was shot a mile high into the sky. A plume of radioactivity spread patchily, mostly north-west. An aberrant sub-plume dumped stuff in an area to the south west of the plant.

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