Serene moment commemorating victims of Chornobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986 when Soviet Russian built electrical power plant blew up spewing radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere.
The Chernobyl nuclear power station located some 130 km north of Ukraine’s capital city Kiev and only 20 km from neighboring Belarus had four Soviet-designed RBMK 1000 graphite block reactors sitting near the Pripyat river to provide a cooling source for them.
The design now universally recognized as inherently flawed used enriched U-235 uranium fuel rods to heat cooling water creating steam to power massive turbines generating electrical power for the surrounding cities, towns, and villages including Kiev.
The RBMK-1000 was designed to produce plutonium, probably for the Soviet Union nuclear armament program, and also electric power for industry and lighting.
Criminal negligence by two plant workers and their management triggered a massive hydrogen gas explosion in reactor No.4 that detached a 1,000-ton steel plate covering the reactor’s core starting a chain reaction resulting in a second more powerful blast completely demolishing the reactor and its building.
Furthermore, hot, intensive, burning graphite fires then threatened adjoining reactor No.3 which was still in operation during this time.
We now know the Chernobyl No. 4 reactor contained about 190 metric tons of uranium dioxide fuel and fission products, and about 30 percent of this radioactive stuff escaped carried away by airflow into atmosphere.
Despite the severity of this emergency Moscow continued business as usual pretending nothing was going on meanwhile, the 115,000 residents of Pripyat, the nuclear workers model city, were finally being evacuated about 36 hours later.
Additionally, despite the whole world already knowing about the radioactive plume flowing around the globe Moscow continued their repressive, suppressive ways keeping their own citizens in dark about the disaster going on.
Soviet president Gorbachev and Communist party preferred to keep them ignorant therefore, scheduled May Day celebrations in Kiev, Ukraine were allowed to go on despite radiation deaths to plant workers already having occurred and local mass evacuations going on.
According to some “reliable” sources 28 reactor staff and “liquidators”or emergency workers were dead from radiation and thermal burns within 4 months moreover, there were about 7,000 cases of thyroid cancer in children less than 18 years old from affected areas when it happened.
Radiation is deadly, odorless, tasteless, an invisible killer that silently robs a person’s health eventually terminating life.
My picture depicts priest during a serene moment of silence solemn service at Mary Queen Of The World Cathedral commemorating the Chornobyl Disaster 30th Anniversary in 2016 by Montreal’s Ukrainian community.
This is my contribution for WP weekly photo challenge:”SERENE”.
My admiration for these atomic “liquidators” is very sincere and deep for their heroism during Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the world’s worst such catastrophe, that happened thirty years ago on April 26, 1986.
These three men are but a few of the hundreds of thousands that the corrupt, secretive, incompetent soviet government forcefully enlisted in wake of the “cleanup” after reactor N0.4 blew up and contaminated much of Europe. The radioactive isotopes fallout contaminated 80% of Belarus, about 10% of Ukraine, and 3% of Russia however it also landed as far as the Britain and the Scandinavian countries.
Last Tuesday, April 26, 2016, I attended a prayer service for victims of the Chernobyl Disaster that was held at Montreal’s magnificent Marie Queen of the World Cathedral downtown and was lucky to photograph these three brave men who survived the intense radiation from the ruins of reactor No.4. They were invited for this important commemoration by Montreal’s Ukrainian community to share their experiences.
Each of these men was wearing their special medal that they receive from the Gorbachev soviet Russian communist government which you can see pinned on their chests.
The man in the middle later interviewed by CTV National News interviewer for broadcast on the late news program that very night. Apparently, this gentleman although only a short time in Montreal, spoke very good French and his interview was in French later translated into English. The reason I mention this is because apparently they had an interpreter on hand that the Ukrainian community provided and was not needed for the task.
This is my contribution for this week’s WP photo challenge: “ADMIRATION”
The endemic Kremlin silence syndrome combined with flawed ideology, incompetent ruthless management, and a total lack of real transparency is Russia’s government. This is by design because enforced secrecy is how this vast country has been ruled since the 1917 communist revolution then again, come to think of it, forever.
The Chernobyl disaster was the undeniable result of this mentality because it ensured bad design, bad management and lousy communication practices in their nuclear industry.
Many a visitor to Ukraine has heard the same story about when the Chernobyl plant exploded. According to one middle-aged Kiev woman, for four days after it happened, the Kremlin pressured its Communist leadership minions to order that the traditional outdoor May Day celebrations happen.
Meanwhile, it was calling up thousands of young men and some women in the soviet military as “liquidators” to help control the nuclear disaster that was unfolding at Chernobyl. These were given scant information what awaited them and much less any proper safety equipment to protect them against the intense radiation escaping out of the ruins of reactor No. 4. They all paid the consequences afterwards, a small number died within a few days while many continue to die of cancer and other radiation induced illnesses years later.
The official story the Kremlin maintained was that nothing happened and everything was normal, they cared less how many perished as long as the system and the party remained in power. This same thinking persists today despite the CCCP(USSR) being officially declared dead in 1991. What has changed is that today the whole thing is ruled by small group of “beesinessmen” oligarchs connected and loyal to a new, (allegedly) non-communist “fearless leader”.
Chernobyl happened because of soviet arrogance,incompetence, and aggression similar to what we are seeing today. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea comes from the same Soviet style of thinking and culture according to one source very well acquainted with Stalinist USSR.
Thirty years ago, on April 26, 1986, Chernobyl’s Vladimir Illich Lenin Nuclear Power Station reactor No.4 exploded sending a radioactive plume of smoke-filled with deadly radio isotopes into the atmosphere. This dark, radioactive cloud triggered special sensors in nearby Sweden warning the world of the worst atomic disaster.
Most recent Ukrainian government statistics show that over 2,397,863 people are registered with the country’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children – none born at the time of the accident.
The fallout from Chernobyl was not limited to Ukraine and next door Belarus took the brunt of it statistics however, are hard to find probably due to the Belarus Lukashenko dictatorship strict repression of information.
As for Russia, it received the minimal amount of the deadly fallout resulting in few real casualties and therefore, not much statistics real or not.