字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント In the early morning of 26th April 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the former Soviet territory of Ukraine exploded, creating what is usually described as the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. The disaster spread radioactivity into the atmosphere in one of the largest bursts of unintentional radioactive release into the environment. Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were subject to significant exposure following the event and the rest of Europe was on red alert. Years of independent research and government investigation followed as the world tried to calculate the extent of the damage caused by the disaster. Today on the Infographics Show we take a look at the aftermath of this tragic event and see if the event was as disastrous as first predicted. Let's take a look at – The Worst Effects of the Chernobyl disaster. Just over 8 miles north of Kiev and about 12 miles south of Belarus four reactors stood next to a reservoir fed by the Pripyat River, and close to the town of the same name with a population of 50,000 when the disaster struck. The town of Chernobyl was inhabited by 12,000 and the rest of the land surrounding the plant was predominantly farms and woodland. Water from the Pripyat River was used to cool the reactors, as in most nuclear power plants. The reactor used at Chernobyl, the RBMK-1000, is now however well known to have a design flaw in the cooling system. On the 25th April plant operators were making preparations for a maintenance shutdown. In the early hours of the 26th hot fuel rods were lowered into the cooling water creating steam, and owing to that design flaw a power surge caused an explosion killing two plant workers. For the following few days emergency crews attempted to contain the fires and radiation leaks. As more plant workers became exposed to the radiation they later died of radiation sickness, but fortunately most of the radiation leaked had a relatively short half-life of eight days. A day after the event on the 27th April 1986 the town of Pripyat was evacuated, many of the townspeople suffering headaches, vomiting, and other indications of radiation sickness. In the months following the event 28 plant workers died, and this number grew to 31 after 3 months, in addition over 6,000 cancer cases have been linked to the event, however the true number of cases attributed to the event are near impossible to calculate as people naturally suffer from various cancers. Many doctors in Eastern Europe advised pregnant woman to abort their unborn children for fear of them bearing children with birth defects, although in hindsight the level of radiation exposure was probably too low to have caused any such complications. The trees in the surrounding woodland were killed from the radiation and the region became known as the Red Forest owing to the color the flora turned after the radiation exposure. The contaminated trees were torn down and buried in purpose-dug trenches. Shortly after the disaster birds living in the area were found to have developed with smaller brains. Swallows in the area demonstrated albino plumage, deformed feet and tail feathers, and tumors. Some cattle born after the event exhibited signs of radioactive mutation. In 2011 though the Ukraine opened up the area to tourists wishing to see firsthand the effects of the disaster. The region nowadays has become one of the world's most thriving wildlife sanctuaries hosting thriving numbers of deer, wolves, boar, elk, bear, eagles and other species scarcely found in other surrounding regions. Despite this recent explosion in fauna experts predict that the area will not be fit for human habitation for another 20,000 years. Post-disaster children seem to have been most affected in the form of a thyroid cancer outbreak, caused by the absorption of iodine-131 into the thyroid gland in children in Ukraine and Belarus. Studies show that adults were less affected and the children who were youngest during the incident were most at risk. Before the event the cases of thyroid cancer in Belarus were under 1 case per million people- by 1995, cases were up to 100 per million per year. Clearly the nuclear event was to blame for this upswing. In West Germany Down Syndrome peaked for some 9 months with a cluster of 12 cases born in January 1987 that may have been connected to the disaster. In 2006 a group of 8 UN agencies including the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency along with hundreds of scientists and health experts assessed the damage of the event. The number of fatalities has not reached the tens of thousands that were predicted shortly after the disaster. Fewer than 50 deaths have been directly attributed to the event. 9 children died of thyroid cancer thought to have been caused by the disaster. The report concluded that “By and large we have not found profound negative health impacts to the rest of the population in surrounding areas, nor have we found widespread contamination that would continue to pose a substantial threat to human health.” It is interesting to note that over 1,000 reactor staff were heavily exposed to radiation and around 200,000 workers were involved in recovery operations yet only 50 died from cancer 20 years later. But we aren't out of the woods yet. Scientists are divided in predicting the number of cancer deaths we can expect over the next 20 years with the report suggesting a further 4,000 people will die of cancer. The town of Pripyat is still considered uninhabitable although popular with Dark Tourists who venture in to the zone to see firsthand how the event changed the landscape. Radiation in large volumes kills living things, but amazingly the flora and fauna surrounding the plant have learned to thrive and in some cases benefit from the radiation. For example a fungus exists that uses radiation to produce its own energy source much the way solar panels use sunlight. This radiotrophic fungi performs radiosynthesis using melanin pigment to convert gamma radiation into chemical energy growth. So while Chernobyl was undoubtedly a disastrous event we have learned much about the dangers of nuclear radiation as a consequence and hopefully this knowledge will help us understand nuclear energy better. So what do you think about the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster? Was the event as terrible as we first thought? Let us know in the comments. Also, be sure to watch our other video called What Was It Like to be Jailed at Alcatraz? Thanks for watching, and as always, don't forget to like, share and subscribe, see you next time!