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Study Break

The Grave of the Conscience

Chernobyl Anniversary

The Chernobyl disaster took place 30 years ago today, due to faulty designs and human error.

“The tombstone over the grave of the conscience always reads: “Human Nature.”

― Stefan Molyneux

 

  • The 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, then part of the former Soviet Union, is the only accident in the history of commercial nuclear power to cause fatalities from radiation. It was the product of a severely flawed Soviet-era reactor design combined with human error. Key differences in U.S. reactor design, regulation and emergency preparedness make it highly unlikely that a Chernobyl-type accident could occur in the United States.
  • Twenty-eight highly exposed reactor staff and emergency workers died from radiation and thermal burns within four months of the accident. Officials believe the accident also was responsible for nearly 7,000 cases of thyroid cancer among individuals who were under 18 years of age at the time of the accident. As of 2005, 15 children had died of thyroid cancer. Improved monitoring has been implemented to help ensure that thyroid cancer is detected early, when it is highly treatable.
  • Most emergency workers and people living in contaminated areas received relatively low whole-body radiation doses, according to a United Nations study published in 2011. The study found no evidence of increases in solid cancers, decreased fertility or congenital malformations. However, there is “some evidence of a detectable increase” in leukemia and cataract risk among workers who received higher radiation doses when engaged in recovery at the site. Long-term health monitoring of these workers is ongoing.

 

 

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