Chernobyl and its Drastic Consequences


On April 26, 1986 around 1:24 am, unit four nuclear reactor exploded in Russia (then known as U.S.S.R.) in Chernobyl located in the Ukraine when it was still owned by Russia (Malinauskas et al). The incident occurred because they ran the reactors at a very low power during a test which made them unstable. A sudden surge in heat caused some tubes containing fuel to rupture. There have been cases of other nuclear reactors, but none compared to the Chernobyl accident which was the first to causesevere damage on the environment and living organisms. This event has caused short term to long term physical effects as well as psychological trauma. The radiation exposure caused deadly diseases and genetic mutation to travel and affect people, killing them and changing their DNA. Panic and chaos stirred, the population and even the medical community were afraid of contamination and discriminated against the people that had to relocate. Scientists targeted children, cleaners, and adults who were contaminated or supposedly exposed to radioactivity.

They were emotionally and physically affected, the Chernobyl incident caused many crucial amounts of consequences which later caused the Soviet Union to collapse. (Bromet, Havernaat, Guey May 2011). The contradiction of media reports and scientific evidence spiraled the situation even more out of control. Workers that cleaned up Chernobyl have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, psychosomatic disorders. The wellbeing of children may have affected IQ in younger children. The Chernobyl disaster was caused due to human error and lack of discipline by failing to have the reactors under the right conditions.

Radiation was migrating through the city causing genetic mutation, thyroid cancer and child birth defects. In the district of Belarus people have been continuously exposed to radiation and were heavily surveyed. Belarus was affected by the explosion, it borders Poland and Russia and is 11 miles away from Chernobyl. Scientist found mutations in embryos and in newborns that were not related to either parent (Dubrova et al 1996). No thyroid cancer was found before the explosion, but one in 31 children out of 2409 were exposed after the accident on April 1986. Children ages 10 and under were at higher risk to have thyroid cancer than embryos and newborns (Shibata Y et al 2002).

The Soviets kept their findings under wraps for a while according to Malinauskas et Al article. The first mention of a nuclear reactor problem was released by Swedish scientists 2 days after the accident occurred. Therefore, it makes this a valid engineering ethics epic fail and worth the further research. It is interesting to see how in this case it is highly unlikely that it could have happened in the U.S since most of the disasters we have covered in class deal with American companies, their engineers and how they respond to their fallouts. The engineering ethics code specifies that the public’s safety is paramount to an engineer. It also states that reports must be truthful in nature. In this case by the Soviet scientists not giving a detailed explanation of the accident is a clear of example that omission when it comes to the safety of the public is considered lying if one looks at it from a radical but reasonable deontologist perspective. From a consequentialist perspective, there was no way to minimalize the effects of Chernobyl and maximize happiness. There was no plan in place that could have been concocted to hurt the least amount of people. Due to negligence and secrecy, it forever changed the history of Chernobyl and Belarus, it was one of the major causes for the fall of the USSR and this event will forever be studied as an example of what must never happened again. The people in charge clearly lacked integrity and humanity which are qualities engineers must have.