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The Chernobyl tragedy refers to the nuclear accident that took place on 26 April 1986 at the nuclear plant at Chernobyl in what was then the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine. In different works of literature, the tragedy is widely referred to as the Chernobyl accident.
Investigations indicate that the accident was triggered by plant operators who organized the reactor in a way that was contrary to the checklist provided; this culminated in unregulated reaction conditions that led to water flashing into steam, which created a highly explosive vapor explosion and eventually exploded into an open graphite fire lasting nine days.
The effects of this disaster included permanent evacuation of about 145,000 persons from their place of residence since the territories were contaminated, and those who were exposed to these fumes have suffered chronic health problems which have resulted in a division in their life into before and after Chernobyl accident. More than 60,000 clean-up workers, mostly composed of military personnel, did the cleanup with minimal or no protective gear. Some of these workers have suffered severe radiation-caused health problems such as leukemia, cancer, and skin diseases among others and they are often called "bio-robots" (Van der Pligt 46). This was due to the fact that these men completed the task that the robots failed to accomplish. The use of robots was first utilized for the cleanup; however, since the region contained dangerously high levels of radiation, the electronic device programmed to provide power to the robots failed. Hence using human labor was the only option left.
The effects and impact caused by this accident are carefully constructed in the Chernobyl museum in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv. Beck Ulrich emphasizes the facts of the accident and the devastating health consequences for children.
I strongly agree with Ulrich Beck when he terms Chernobyl as an anthropological shock (1987). Chernobyl effects occurred at once since they were visible to the bare eyes, revealed the dangerous levels to which communities have become dependent on established institutions and the media in order to get information on what is happening and evaluation of danger and risk. Beck also notes in some sections of the anthropological shock rise from the disasters many unanswered questions of "What Ifs." What if the rise in radiation levels had not been noticed in the neighboring city of Scandinavia after the Chernobyl disaster? What if the global media houses had opted to remain silent and "kill" the story? What if the nuclear scientists had not had any misunderstanding with each other about how and what caused the accident? This disaster could have passed undetected by millions of people living on the other side of the planet.
Chernobyl brought into light that those who pretend to know don't know since neither the experts nor we are aware of the danger when it comes to atomic accidents. Beck points out that there are inadequacies in expert knowledge when it comes to containing and reducing the effects of disasters. A similar case study to the Chernobyl disaster is the Fukushima Daiichi NPP crisis in Japan; people watched as the Japanese nuclear scientists attempted to contain the catastrophe through experimental methods which can be described as trial and error.
Beck, Ulrich. "The anthropological shock: Chernobyl and the contours of the risk
society." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 32 (1987): 153-165. Print
Van der Pligt, Joop. Nuclear energy and the public. Blackwell Publishing, 1992. Print
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