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What happened to the Chernobyl disaster?

On 26 April, it was the 30th anniversary of the chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. To commemorate it, some media echoed the anniversary through photographs of the current state of the cities near the reactors. With the passage of all these years, the hospitals, schools, nurseries, shops and buildings that once formed the surrounding cities have been left in ruins with many personal belongings of the previous inhabitants. On the day that reactor 4 of the plant exploded, as a result of safety tests that were being carried out, the inhabitants of the surrounding area, mainly in the city of Pripyat, had to be evicted urgently and unexpectedly. People had to flee and leave their homes quickly. Although some people were able to return some time later, many left their personal effects in the houses.

The uranium dioxide and other radioactive and toxic substances released after the explosion endangered the lives of the reactor’s neighbors, as they were even greater than those released after the Hiroshima bomb. According to official counts, 30 people died directly in the accident. However, many people have had radiation-related health problems and even some time later children were born with malformations possibly caused by the explosion. In total, levels of radioactivity were detected in at least 13 central and eastern European countries. Along with the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, it was considered one of the largest environmental disasters in history.

After the nuclear accident, a massive decontamination process began involving some 600,000 people who helped contain the disaster. The liquidators, as they were known, isolated an area of 30 kilometers around the nuclear power plant. In addition, the interior of the reactor was sealed with a kind of sarcophagus to prevent contamination.

Consequences of the disaster

According to the report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), 30 employees of the plant died in the first weeks, radiation ailments were identified in 134 emergency employees and a total of 116,000 people were evacuated from the vicinity of the plant, in addition to the relocation of some 220,000. On the other hand, Greenpeace commissioned a report from various scientists in which it was estimated that there would be about 270,000 cases of cancer attributable to the nuclear accident.

As for environmental damage, National Geographic notes that the nuclear power plant burned for 10 days and polluted 142,000 square kilometers in northern Ukraine, southern Belarus and Russia’s Briansk region. In addition to the devastating effects caused by the fallout. On the other hand, the economic losses in terms of health costs, cleaning costs, compensation and loss of productivity have been estimated at billions of euros.

Nuclear disaster in the insurance

If you live near a nuclear power plant it is advisable that you review your insurance policy, to know if in the event of an accident on the premises, the risk could be covered in the Home or Car insurance. Most policies do not include this risk and the Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros (CCS) excludes this risk from its competences. According to them, the coverage of the Consortium “would not come into play” and, therefore, “there would be no right to compensation for damages derived from nuclear energy”. However, they report that “damage caused to nuclear facilities as a result of an event” would be covered. However, the CCS does cover certain phenomena of nature such as earthquakes or floods, those caused violently as a result of terrorism rebellion, sedition, mutiny, popular tumult or events or actions of the Armed Forces or the Security Forces and Bodies in peacetime.

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