On April 26, 1986, an accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Kiev in the Ukrainian Republic of the Former Soviet Union. With the release of radiation, human casualties, physical damage to the plant and contamination of the surrounding environment, Chernobyl marked the worst accident in the history of nuclear power production. It also demonstrated the importance of strong safety culture, independent regulators, and well designed plants, reinforcing nuclear safety efforts for the years to come.
According to the World Health Organization, the accident led to the fatalities of thirty-six workers. More than 200,000 people in the Ukraine and Belarus Republics were evacuated and resettled as a result of significant fallout from the Chernobyl accident. Land was contaminated in the Ukraine Republic, Belarus Republic, Russia, Europe, and Scandinavia. Recovery efforts continue to be managed by the international community.
The world nuclear community quickly determined that an accident similar to Chernobyl - 4 could not happen in any other type of plant, due to higher design and operational standards outside the Soviet Union. The remaining Chernobyl type reactors throughout the former Soviet bloc were modified for safe operation. Some were shut down. Many are still in operation. Health and Environmental studies are still going on, and will continue into the foreseeable future.
The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) to promote cooperation, was founded as a result of this tragedy.
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Last updated June 27, 2012, 8:50am CDT.