The explosions caused the ejection of large amounts of highly radioactive material from the reactor core. Evidence of this can be found in areas of the Exclusion zone to this day, in radiation hotspots. Radioactive material was escaping from the reactor in a thin smoke, contaminating the clouds above Ukraine with radioactive material that would later fall as rain across Europe, as far as Norway, Wales and Ireland. The temperature of the air 200m above the reactor was between 120° and 200°C for many days afterwards, the core melting into a type of ‘magma’, which melted the fuel rods and stubbornly defied attempts to extinguish it.
On the night of the accident, firefighters attended the scene, and attempted to fight the fire. All would be dead within 28 days, victims of the radioactive steam that they would inhale while fighting the nuclear fire.
In an attempt to stifle the fire, helicopters were recalled from the front in the Afghanistan war to fly sorties over the reactor. Sand and boric acid were dropped into the reactor, and later lead was also thrown in. Some of the lead vaporized due to the intense heat, and can be found contaminating the bodies of children born to ‘Chernobylites’ to this day.
The investigation of the Chernobyl disaster was officially closed with the result that the personnel of the power plant did not follow the necessary safety regulations. The V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant was just the beginning of an aftermath that re-wrote not just the safety rules in nuclear energy, but also the history of mankind.
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