Place in news: Chernobyl
Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations and GS-III Man-made Disaster
Context: Ukrainian authorities have said that radiation levels had increased in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and warned the seizure of the nuclear plant by invading Russian troops could have terrible consequences.
- Ukrainian authorities also said that they had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that they had lost control of highly radioactive fuel rods from the power plant.
- Ukrainian Environment Ministry also pointed out that this significant amount of plutonium-239 can become a nuclear bomb that will turn thousands of hectares into a dead, lifeless desert.
- After a brief but fierce battle, Russian troops were able to capture the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history.
- Located around 16 km away from the city of Chernobyl and a little over 100 km away from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, the power plant witnessed the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
- The disaster occurred between April 25-26, when a group of technicians in what was then Soviet-controlled Ukraine carried out a botched safety test that led to a series of explosions at Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4 and a partial meltdown of its core.
- The explosions exposed the core and released clouds of radioactive material into the atmosphere.
- It is said to have released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan.
- In fact, the catastrophe is considered one of the key factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.
Why did Russia capture Chernobyl?
- Seizing Chernobyl was a strategic decision that gave Russian troops quick and easy access to Kyiv from Belarus, which is an ally of Moscow.
- By capturing Chernobyl, Russia has secured a route into Ukraine for its ground forces.
News Source: TH