Chernobyl, Pripyat & Duga Radar

The Chernobyl disaster, also referred to as the Chernobyl accident, was a catastrophic nuclear accident. It occurred on 26 April 1986 in the No.4 light water graphite moderated reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, in what was then part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union (USSR).

The event occurred during a late-night safety test which simulated a station blackout power-failure and in which safety systems were deliberately turned off. A combination of inherent reactor design flaws and the reactor operators arranging the core in a manner contrary to the checklist for the test, eventually resulted in uncontrolled reaction conditions. Water flashed into steam generating a destructive steam explosion and a subsequent open-air graphite fire. This fire produced considerable updrafts for about nine days. These lofted plumes of fission products into the atmosphere. The estimated radioactive inventory that was released during this very hot fire phase approximately equalled in magnitude the airborne fission products released in the initial destructive explosion.Practically all of this radioactive material would then go on to fall-out/precipitate onto much of the surface of the western USSR and Europe.

The Chernobyl accident dominates the energy accidents sub-category, of most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history, both in terms of cost and casualties. It is one of only two nuclear energy accidents classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. The struggle to safeguard against scenarios which were, at many times falsely, perceived as having the potential for greater catastrophe and the later decontamination efforts of the surroundings, ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles.

During the accident, blast effects caused 2 deaths within the facility, later 134 were hospitalized with acute radiation symptoms, of which 28 firemen and employees died in the days-to-months afterward from the effects of acute radiation syndrome, in addition, approximately 14 cancer deaths amongst this group of initially hospitalized survivors was to follow within the next ten years(1996). Whilst among the wider population, an excess of 15 childhood thyroid cancer deaths had been documented as of 2011. It will take further time and investigative funding to definitively determine the elevated relative risk of cancer amongst both the surviving employees and the population at large.

The remains of the No.4 reactor building were enclosed in a large cover which was named the "Object Shelter". It is often known as the sarcophagus, and its purpose is to reduce the spread of radioactivity from the wreckage and to protect the wreckage from the elements. It was finished in December 1986 at a time when what was left of the reactor was entering the cold shut-down phase; the enclosure was not intended as a radiation shield, but was built quickly as occupational safety for the crews of the other undamaged reactors at the power station, with No.3 continuing to produce electricity into 2000.

The accident motivated safety upgrades on all remaining Soviet-designed reactors in the RBMK (Chernobyl No.4) family, of which eleven continued to power electric grids as of 2013.

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Pripyat is a ghost town in northern Ukraine, near the Ukraine-Belarus border.

Named after the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970, as the ninth nuclear city (a type of closed city) in the Soviet Union, to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.[3] It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360[4] by the time it was evacuated, on the afternoon of April 27, 1986, the day after the Chernobyl disaster.[5]

Though Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankiv Raion, the abandoned city now has the status of city of oblast significance within the larger Kiev Oblast (province), being administered directly from Kiev. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine's Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The following statistics are from January 1, 1986.

Population: 49,400 before the disaster. The average age was about 26 years old. Total living space was 658,700 m2 (7,090,000 sq ft): 13,414 apartments in 160 apartment blocks, 18 halls of residence accommodating up to 7,621 single males or females, and 8 halls of residence for married or de facto couples.
Education: 75 primary schools for about 100,000 children, 19 secondary schools, 7 professional schools.
Healthcare: 1 hospital that could accommodate up to 410 patients, and 3 clinics.
Trade: 25 stores and malls; 27 cafes, cafeterias and restaurants could serve up to 5,535 customers simultaneously. 10 warehouses could hold 4,430 tons of goods.
Culture: 3 facilities: a culture palace, the Palace of Culture Energetik, a cinema and a school of arts, with 8 different societies.
Sports: 10 gyms, 3 indoor swimming-pools, 10 shooting galleries, 2 stadiums.
Recreation: 1 park, 35 playgrounds, 18,136 trees, 249,247 shrubs, 33,000 rose plants.
Industry: 4 factories with total annual turnover of 477,000,000 rubles. 3/4 nuclear power plant.
Transportation: Yanov railway station, 167 urban buses, plus the nuclear power plant car park which had 400 spaces.
Telecommunication: 2,926 local phones managed by the Pripyat Phone Company, plus 1,950 phones owned by Chernobyl power station's administration, Jupiter plant and Department of Architecture and Urban Development.

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Duga (OTH) radar system used as part of the Soviet anti-ballistic missile early-warning network. The system operated from July 1976 to December 1989. Two operational Duga radars were deployed, one near Chernobyl and Chernihiv in the Ukrainian SSR (present-day Ukraine), the other in eastern Siberia.

The Duga systems were extremely powerful, over 10 MW in some cases, and broadcast in the shortwave radio bands. They appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise at 10 Hz, which led to it being nicknamed by shortwave listeners the Russian Woodpecker. The random frequency hops disrupted legitimate broadcasts, amateur radio operations, oceanic commercial aviation communications, utility transmissions, and resulted in thousands of complaints by many countries worldwide. The signal became such a nuisance that some receivers such as amateur radios and televisions actually began including 'Woodpecker Blankers' in their circuit designs in an effort to filter out the interference.

The unclaimed signal was a source for much speculation, giving rise to theories such as Soviet mind control and weather control experiments. However, because of its distinctive transmission pattern, many experts and amateur radio hobbyists quickly realized it to be an over-the-horizon radar system. NATO military intelligence had already given it the reporting name STEEL WORK or STEEL YARD. While the amateur radio community was well aware of the system, this theory was not publicly confirmed until after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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