02 May 2011
Hard to believe that it is now the 25th anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl. There has been a lot of coverage in the news, especially in light of the nuclear problems that are occurring at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after the tsunami. See, for example, A Nuclear Cautionary Tales turns 25. Strange, there are still people poking around the Chernobyl Exclusion zone (much of the area is a modern-day ghost town), and there are even some residents who have returned to live there. There are a lot of answers to common questions on the IAEA site. Please note this: "The initial explosion resulted in the death of two workers. Twenty-eight of the firemen and emergency clean-up workers died in the first three months after the explosion from Acute Radiation Sickness and one of cardiac arrest." From what I recall, those fireman stood above the core as it melted down and frantically directed water onto the core in an effort to reduce the magnitude of the disaster. They had to know that they were going to die from the radiation exposure.