The disaster began during a routine systems test at reactor number four of the Chernobyl plant located near the town of Pripyat, on April 26, 1986. After a power surge, an emergency shutdown was attempted and after a subsequent power spike, there was a reactor vessel rupture and a series of steam explosions. The cascading course of events led to exposing the graphite moderator of the reactor to the air, causing it to catch fire. This sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere. The fallout from Chernobyl prompted mass evacuations as it drifted over an extensive geographical area, including the western Soviet Union and Europe. Over 350,000 people were resettled from contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine. Thirty-one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, and all the deaths were among reactor staff and emergency workers. This is the kind of atmosphere Nelson and Ochota are investigating on Life After: Chernobyl as they attempt to determine how the radiation continues to impact the affected areas. They are allowed to stay for as long as they need to in order to conduct their ground-breaking research, but the duo must also be sure to take the necessary safety precautions. Broadway World noted in their Life After: Chernobyl article that by staying in the area for too long, the radiation exposure could reach dangerously high levels in their bodies, and they must always monitor the radiation levels.
How has a small place in northern Finland managed to become Europe's most eco-friendly town? Ii has slashed its CO2 emissions by 80% and is producing 10 times more renewable energy than it consumes. This community project could be an inspiration for us all - but such rapid change is not without opposition.
Dr Helen Czerski reveals how shifting ocean water distributes heat and nutrients around the Earth. This process is linked to almost every aspect of human existence, and the lecture explores how dependent we are on the ocean for weather, food supply and connection between land masses - as well as exploring what needs to be done by humans to maintain this vital element of the Earth's ecosystem.