BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Thirty years have passed since the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, but opposition to such power has faded with time, and now it lies almost forgotten.
In 1986, on April 26, a tremendous blast followed by a fire instantly killed 31 people. While the total number of individuals who died because of the disaster is disputed, the World Health Organization estimates it at no less than four thousand subsequent fatalities that can be linked to the nuclear radiation.
The reactor in Chernobyl burned for days, time during which the population was evacuated while being followed by the noxious cloud. There have been records of fallout as far as Norway and Britain, more than 1,450 miles away from the northern part of Ukraine where the explosion took place.
The whole world was outraged by the unfortunate event, and many called for a reassessment of the nuclear industry. At the moment, Germany is known to decommission all its reactors before 2022. While locals have been exposed to the dangers of such nuclear plant, Ukraine remains one of the most dependent countries on atomic fission. For instance, uranium powers each second light bulb in this country.
According to Energoatom spokeswoman Ilona Zayec, the electricity generation system of Ukraine is based on nuclear energy. Only last year, 56.5 percent of the total energy consumption of the country, or 82,000-megawatt-hours of electricity were produced by the fifteen reactors of Ukraine. This places the country in the second place worldwide, after France. In comparison, the United States generate 19.5 percent nuclear power.
Even though the industry is no longer trusted after the disaster, the majority of the population cannot see an alternative to nuclear energy. Ukraine has worked with both American and European agencies to improve its safety procedures, and in this respect has received six million euros ($685 million) from the European Union.
According to the chief of Energoatom, Yuriy Nedashkovsky, in 2010 the reactors did meet almost all of the safety requirements of the IAEA. The security procedures have also been revised after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.
In the end, the decision of Ukraine of keeping nuclear energy is because of its low cost. It is the cheapest source of energy after hydropower. However, there are some that believe they chose to do so because decommissioning would have cost a lot.
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