Lisa Grabowski

                                                                                                                                                Chemistry 180

                                                                                                                                                Pg. 188, #20

Nuclear Disasters

              In the post-World War II era, people have an acute fear of nuclear weapons and their consequences. The dropping of atom bombs during wartime is not the only means of causing nuclear catastrophes. There is also the risk of nuclear accidents at nuclear power plants around the globe. Two famous accidents are the incidents at Chernobyl, USSR, and at Three-Mile Island, Pennsylvania. The question facing the American public and the leaders of this country is whether such accidents could expand to include the deaths of many Americans.

              In Chernobyl, a nuclear accident occurred on April 26, 1986. Reactor operators were conducting an experiment to lower maintenance costs. The project required shutting off several safety features of the reactor core. The experiment was far from a success. The power in the reactor core reached 120 times its normal level, causing an explosion that blew off the roof and sent pieces of the graphite reactor core into the atmosphere. In the aftermath of the accident, 31 people died, 230 were hospitalized, and many more were exposed to high levels of radiation.

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