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On April 26, 1986 one of the history’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power station in Ukraine. At 1:23 AM, technicians at the plant allowed the power in the 4th reactor to fall to low levels as part of a controlled experiment, which went terribly wrong. The reactor overheated and caused a meltdown of the core. This resulted in an explosive force of steam, which blew off the lid of the reactor. Large amounts of the radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere. The reactor-4 explosions released more radioactivities that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Most of the discharged material was deposited close by as dust and debris, but wind carries the lighter radioactive material over the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and parts of Europe.

The operator’s over-confident decision-making, a flaw in the design of the reactor and inadequate safety systems are believed to be the major factors that caused the Chernobyl disaster. Many people were affected by this catastrophe. The accident caused 31 immediate deaths that were mainly the result of exposure the radiation. The main casualties were among those who fought the fires caused by the explosion. Once the fires were extinguished, a liquidating crew of around 200,000 people was initially employed to clean up the site. Later the number swelled to 600,000. This crew was exposed to high doses of radiation, which might affect their health in the long run.

Many children in the surrounding areas are developed thyroid cancer due to the radiation emitted. Many Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians were evacuated and later given new homes in a different area.

Today reactor-4 is buried in cement tomb which was quickly built in order to allow the other reactors at the power station to continue working. However, this shelter is not strong and will not last and there are plants to replace it. Many people have suffered in some way as a result of the Chernobyl disaster and millions of dollars are still being spent today to contain reactor-4 and assure that no further radiation leakage occurs.

core– ядро, серцевина casualty - жертва lid - покриття crew - команда to release, deposit - випускати to clean up - прибирати to leak - витік dust and debris – пил, уламки to enclose - огороджувати lack - недолік flaw - тріщина

1. The Chernobyl disaster is thought to be …

a) as serious as Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings;

b) a minor accident with no future consequences;

c) one of many similar accidents;

d) Europe’s greatest catastrophe.

2. When the Chernobyl-4 reactor overheated …

a) technicians turned it down;

b) it melted the core;

c) the power plants was filled with steam;

d) it sealed the lid of the reactor shut.

3. One of the causes of the accident was …

a) the raising of the power in 4th reactor to high levels;

b) a design faults;

c) the installation of proper safety back-up systems;

d) the technicians lack of confidence.

4. The 4th reactor explosion resulted in the …

a) spread of the heavier radioactive material by the wind;

b) immediate death of 200,000 people;

c) release of dust and debris into the atmosphere;

d) release of the 4th reactor’s cover.

5. Most of the people who died as a result of the explosion were…

a) firefighters;

b) members of clean- up crew;

c) operators of the reactor;

d) children.

6. The members of clean-up crew…

a) developed thyroid cancer;

b) put out the fires;

c) were subject to high levels of radiation;

d) were unharmed by the radiation.

7. Reactor-4…

a) is steel leaking radiation;

b) is enclosed in cement;

c) will be replaced in future;

d) cost millions of dollars.

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