The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster may have happened 30 years ago, but up until now, it still haunts the world.

The event may be one for the books, a past event, a part of history. What most people do not know is that it still contributes negative impacts to the health of people, the environment and the overall situation of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The Chernobyl Foundation even reports that the incident's long-term effects have just started to flourish.
"The governments of the affected countries continue to spend resources on the recovery of the contaminated areas," the group says.

Going Back

The date was April 26, 1986. Technicians were in the midst of a reactor systems testing when a sudden jolt of power destroyed Unit 4 of the nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The combination of the incident and the fire that occurred afterward released high amounts of radioactive materials.

Emergency staff aboard helicopters then poured sand on the reactor remnants to stop the fire and radiation emissions. They also poured boron to prevent more nuclear reactions.

The crew was able to fully contain the area in a temporary concrete structure called the sarcophagus.

Authorities also cut down and buried a pine forest nearby and closed 18 miles of the area near the plant.

All in all, the then Soviet government evacuated approximately 115,00 people in 1986 and another 220,000 in the following years.

Haunting Health

The immediate health effect of the incident is the death of two workers hours after the explosion due to non-radiological causes.

The outpour of radiation following the incident was what caused the bigger health problem. About 28 out of the 600 site workers died in the first four months and another 106 were exposed to high doses of radiation, causing them to develop acute radiation sickness.

At present, thyroid cancer is the only radiation-related cancer linked to the event. Many children had drunk milk contaminated with radioactive iodine, which significantly affected their thyroid glands.

So far, about 6,000 thyroid cancers linked to the incident have been recorded. The good news is 99 percent of patients have been successfully treated.

Experts say, however, that some cancer mortalities among workers, staff and nearby residents may soon be attributed to the incident.

Up until this day, contaminated land still has high amounts of radionuclides. Experts even gave the land three levels of severity derived from radiation measurements. Despite this, animals were found to thrive in the area.

Three decades may seem like a long time. Unfortunately, it is not long enough to bury the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster completely. The effects of the event are expected to affect the environment and many people in the decades to come.

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