The Chernobyl accident : AN OFFICIAL HOURLY CHRONICLE

On Saturday night  the 26th of April, 1986, when the clock was set at 1.24 a.m.

The explosion occurred at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant as a result of the destruction of the heat transfer system and the release of vapors of water into the reactor core. The catastrophic consequences have resulted from the experiment, which was to use thermal energy to rotate the turbine when the reactor was shut down in order to understand the amount of electricity powering the auxiliary equipment 4-Its power unit, available in the event of an emergency shutdown or lack of external connection.

Current versions of the story called into question the expediency of such a hasty experiment in an effort to complete it by the May Day holidays. But the staff of the station was convinced in the safety and positive results of the research they had no idea that this could end in a fatal worldwide disaster.

The explosions that have followed during the experiment completely destroyed the fourth reactor, destroying the core structure, resulting in the release of a huge amount of radioactive elements into the atmosphere. In doing so, part of the reactor and its fuel cells have melted under the influence of high temperatures. The fire stream has reached the bottom of the radioactive compartment.

In the first 10 days after the accident  between 5% and 30% of the 192 tonnes of uranium-235 dioxide and other radioactive elements (fission products) found in the fuel cells (fuel cells) entered the environment. The main isotopes were strontium-90 (half-life ~29 years), cesium-137 (half-life ~30 years), americium-241 (half-life ~432 years), and plutonium-239 (half-life ~24 110 years).

The radioactive substances carried by the blast wave and hot air streams to a kilometer height destroyed the normal organic life in the surrounding area, continuing to spread by wind farther away from the crash site.

A cloud of radioactive elements has covered all Ukrainian Polesie, part of the regions of Belarus and Russia. Continuing his journey north it has reached areas in Sweden and Finland where an elevated radiation background was detected. Later, it   has spread throughout Europe, capturing Poland, Denmark, Germany, and France, where radioactivity was also increasing.]

A total of 12 regions in Ukraine were directly affected by the Chernobyl disaster. More than 50,000 km2. – 74 districts with 2,294 settlements have been contaminated. The total number of victims of the Chernobyl technological disaster in Ukraine is more than 3.2 million people, including almost a million children.

Ruins of the 4th reactor

Hour by hour

On the 26th of April,1986, at 1:23 a.m., the HPV-2 post for the protection of the ChNPP received a fire alarm, and within a few minutes, the first calculations of the fire service of the ChNPP and the city of Pripyat arrived at the site of the crash. Under the command of Lieutenants V. Kibenk and V. Pratik, they began to shoot down the flames that had flared on the roof near the reactor compartment.

This timely action prevented the fire from spreading to Unit 3. By the morning, fire brigades from Chernobyl, Kyiv, and other nearby regions had arrived. Almost all of the heroes who entered this crucial moment in the fight against the flame and the deadly atom received huge doses of lethal radiation.

By 8 a.m on the 26th of April the firefighters had managed to shoot down the open flames at Unit 4 and prevent the fire from spreading throughout the ChNPP. The struggle against the inner hearth continued for two weeks and ended on the 10th of May. During this time a large number of equipment and rescue units were used. The military helicopters were used to extinguish the smoldering sections of the structure above the reactor.

When the accident happened there were 200 attendants at the station. The nine people sustained different degrees of burns, one died in the hospital room and three were brought in in extremely serious condition. The operator Valery Hodemchuk was killed from the explosion of the reactor. His body lies forever beneath the rubble of the 4th Power Unit of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station, which has become a memorable grave for him.

After an examination at the hospital, where 108 persons, including 20 firefighters were taken within 24 hours and 26 persons were selected with clear signs of radiation exposure. On the night of April 27, the seriously injured were sent on a special flight to the Moscow Radiology Clinic.

In the morning the  26th of April, 1986 at approximately 9.30 a.m. the MCC Central Committee received information about the accident at the Unit 4th  reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power station. After double-checking the data about the disaster and receiving the confirmation, the report was sent to the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Shcherbytsky. At 1:15 pm, with his signature, the message was received by the CPSU Central Committee.

On Sunday,  the 27th of April, 1986 due to the emergency, all work on the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was stopped. The State structures of the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Defence have begun to mobilize all resources to eliminate the consequences of the man-made disaster and to ensure control and public order in the dangerous zone.

On April,27 at 2 p.m. on the decision of the Special Government Commission, the evacuation of 44,460 citizens from Pripyat began. For this purpose, 1,390 buses from Kyiv and the Kyiv region were used. The reserve included195 buses, 3 trains, and 2 river vessels. The evacuation took place in an orderly manner and was completed at 6:00 p.m.

On Monday, the 28th of April, 1986, the Radio Telegraph Agency of Ukraine (РАТАУ) transmitted a report prepared at the main office in Moscow (ТАСС) about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station and the damage to one of the reactors. On Tuesday, the 29th of April,1986 “РАТАУ” reprinted a message from TASS, which referred more extensively to the leakage of radioactive isotopes, the first victims, and evacuation activities for the inhabitants of Pripyat and the surrounding area.

Then, on April 29, the magazine «Soviet Ukraine» on the third page informed its readers about the damage to the 4th power unit of the Chernobyl. The article also referred to measures to deal with the consequences of the accident, the establishment of a special commission, and the provision of comprehensive assistance to the victims. On the 30th of  April, a special commission headed by Boris Shcherbina reported on the technogenic disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It referred to the accident at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the shutdown and storage of all active reactors, the leakage of radioactive substances, and the plan to deal with the consequences of the accident.

Foreigners should not be prevented from doing so.

On the 30th of April, 1986, representatives of foreign embassies began to arrive in Moscow to investigate the situation after the tragedy at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Foreign Ministry officials met with representatives and diplomats of foreign countries for more than two hours. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On the 1st of  May, the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued instructions to the all-Union and republican ministries and departments that dealt with foreign citizens to conduct explanatory work among them in order to convince them of the health consequences of the Chernobyl accident and the inexpediency of leaving the territory of the USSR because of this incident. However, if the foreign national decided to leave the USSR, it was recommended not to obstruct his decision.

The secret agents working with foreigners were instructed to resist provocation and to behave with the utmost sensitivity. Only on May 14, 1986, the Soviet leadership made an official statement about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. By this time, an increased radiation background had already been detected not only in Europe but also in China, the Middle East, and Africa.

 

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