Term Paper: Chernobyl Disaster

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] " ("Health Impacts") From the years 1992-2000, about 4000 cases of thyroid cancer were found with the exposed population, with three-quarters, close to 3000 individuals, being children and adolescents between the years 1-18. ("Health Impacts")

In the aftermath of the world's greatest nuclear disaster Chernobyl has caused a major shift in views toward nuclear power and its safety. Chernobyl has created a fear within the minds of the general population that nuclear power plants are an accident waiting to happen, and as a result "the expansion of nuclear capacity came to a near standstill." (El Baradei) In effect, the world said that it no longer wanted nuclear power plants built anywhere near them or their families. However, in the decades that have passed since the disaster's initial impact, the world has learned a number of lessons. First of all is the fact that a "nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere." (El Baradei) Therefore nuclear safety is an international concern and requires international cooperation. The IAEA has set international rules for nuclear energy involving "peer reviews, safety upgrades, and multilateral assistance efforts, safety conventions, and the body of globally recognized IAEA standards." (EL Baradei)

The world has also come to recognize that despite the best efforts of international authorities, nuclear accidents, while unthinkable, may still happen and the world needs to be prepared for them. The recent tsunami and resulting accident in Japan is a perfect example of how, no matter how safe one thinks a nuclear plant is built, nature can still cause unexpected problems. Because of this possibility, the IAEA, along with other international organizations, have begun to plan for nuclear accident responses. Chernobyl has taught the lesson that increased international coordination is necessary in the aftermath of any potential nuclear disaster. Most of all the international assistance from individual governments, international relief organizations, and other groups needs to be coordinated in an overall strategy. There also has to be plans in place to deal with the potential masses of people who would need to be relocated, either temporarily or permanently. But most of all, the Chernobyl accident has taught international authorities that facts are the most important weapon in response to a nuclear accident. There were numerous cases of preciously needed resources being wasted on unnecessary resettlements, economic disruption from panicked people, and a "widespread distrust of 'official' information & #8230;." (El Baradei)

The nuclear accident at Chernobyl was the worst in the history of mankind, causing nuclear fallout to cover large areas, contaminating hundreds of thousands, killing thousands, either immediately or slowly over years, and panicking millions. The efforts to help and send aid were sporadic and uncoordinated, resulting in waste and suffering. But the world has learned from this disaster and now international cooperation and standards are the way to ensure that disasters like Chernobyl are avoided. International organizations have also learned to respond better to nuclear disasters and coordinate relief aid more effectively. Most of all they have learned that accurate information can be a major weapon in combating panic and misled efforts to help. Hopefully a disaster the likes of Chernobyl will never happen again, but if it does, the world is as ready as can be to respond efficiently and effectively.

Works Cited

"Chernobyl Accident 1986." World Nuclear Association. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html

El Baradei, Mohamed. "The Enduring Lessons of Chernobyl." International Atomic

Energy Agency (IAEA.org.) (2005). Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/2005/ebsp2005n008.html

"Health Impacts: Chernobyl Accident Appendix 2." World Nuclear Association. Web. 13

Nov. 2012. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/health_impacts.html

Parkin, D.M., Etal., "Childhood leukemia in Europe after Chernobyl: 5-year follow-up."

British Journal of Cancer 73 (1996):1006-1012. Print.

Smith, Jim, and Nicholas Beresford. Chernobyl: Catastrophe and Consequences.

Berlin: Springer, 2005. Print.

"The Chernobyl Accident." UNSCEAR. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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