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Extra info for All About History: The World’s Worst Disasters
The nearby city of Pripyat was not immediately evacuated after the incident and with the townspeople oblivious to events just down the road many of them fell ill and complained of a metallic taste in their mouth before suffering uncontrollable fits of coughing and vomiting. Soviet authorities started evacuating people from the area around Chernobyl within 36 hours of the accident and told the people who were forced to leave their 36 homes that it was only a temporary measure and that they were safe in leaving behind any personal and materially valuable possessions.
Shortly afterwards, the government in Moscow was warned and the town of Pripyat evacuated but further mistakes were then made. First, extinguishing water is added but the high temperature separates the water into hydrogen and oxygen and the resultant explosion releases heat. Thus, the fire is not extinguished but fanned. After three fruitless attempts to quell the flames with water, the authorities decide to throw sand, lead and boron carbide onto the reactor from helicopters. This causes the temperate to finally drop but all those in the helicopters died soon afterwards – of unrelated causes, according to Moscow.
What is fact is that he stayed with his crew in the reactor building until morning, sending members of his crew to try to pump water into the reactor and that none of them wore any protective gear. The radiation leak wasn’t the only danger. In flagrant disregard of safety regulations, a combustible material, bitumen, had been used in the construction of the reactor building and turbine hall’s roof. Parts of the exploded roof from reactor four landed onto the roof of the still-operating reactor three and several fires sprung up, dancing on its roof.
All About History: The World’s Worst Disasters