If you’re wondering what happened at Chernobyl than we can help put it in historical context.
On April 26, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster took place at Unit 4 of the nuclear power station of Chernobyl, Ukraine, located in the former USSR.
On the day of the accident, the operating crew was determining whether turbines could produce the right amount of energy to maintain the coolant pumps until emergency diesel generators could be activated.
The safety systems were switched off to avoid interruption with testing. At this point the nuclear reactor was powered down to 25% of its original capacity. But the procedure never went as planned, the reactor’s power dipping below 1%.
Workers attempted to slowly increase the power but there was an unexpected surge. The reactor’s emergency shutdown operation would inevitably fail, leading to one of history’s great disasters.
A rupture occurred within the reactor’s fuel elements, causing a catastrophic explosion. The reactor’s sealing cap was destroyed in the blast, temperatures reaching over 2000°C and melting the fuel rods.
The resulting fire burned for nine days and released more radiation into the atmosphere than the deliberate bombing on Hiroshima during WWII.
Today the cleanup effort at Chernobyl is still considered an ongoing operation. The fallout of the disaster still has reaching effects within the region.