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Capture of Chernobyl nuclear plant

Date: 28 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Invading Russian forces have managed to capture the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after a brief war with Ukrainian forces.

 

Background

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a war on Ukraine and Russian troops have entered Ukraine from all the three sides.

 

Details

  • Chernobyl is the site for one of the most devastating nuclear disasters in history.

  • It caused a major embarrassment for erstwhile Soviet Union regarding its technical capabilities.

 

The plant

  • The plant, also known as Vladimir Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, is located near the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine on the banks of river Pripyat.

  • The plant was commissioned in 1977 and consisted of four RBMK-1000 reactors. It was the first nuclear plant on Ukrainian soil and third in Soviet Union.

 

The disaster

  • The reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl power plant exploded and caught fire in 1986. It resulted in emission of radioactive material into the sky.

  • The radioactive strontium, caesium and plutonium affected Ukraine and neighboring Belarus, as well as parts of Russia and Europe.

  • A number of direct and indirect deaths were reported due to effects of the radiation caused by the nuclear disaster.

 

Post disaster

  • The Soviet authorities decommissioned the plant and constructed a sarcophagus to limit radiation.

  • Still, the catastrophe seems to have contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union few years later.

 

Reasons for capture

  • The plant zone lies between the Belarus-Ukraine border and the Ukrainian capital. It is a strategic location for Russian troops to enter Ukraine.

  • There was a belief that Ukraine would destroy the plant to spread radiation and prevent Russian troops from advancing into the country.

  • Russia also wanted to make sure that their shelling or rocket attacks did not cause damage to the structure resulting in radiation leak.