In history only two cases have received the label of a nuclear accident “level 7” on the classification used by the International atomic energy Agency (IAEA) to refer to large events with widespread consequences for health and the environment. The first accident — Chernobyl is considered the worst nuclear accident in the world. Second — Fukushima — scientists often call even more devastating. The accident at Three Mile island occurred in the United States and received a “5 level”. Let’s compare them with each other.
The accident at Chernobyl has claimed more lives than the accident at Fukushima
Although the evaluation of human losses from a nuclear disaster is a complex task, the scientific consensus is that Chernobyl is superior to the other accidents (the use of nuclear weapons, we don’t consider here) devastating.
This disaster, which began to discuss with HBO, turned on 26 April 1986, when Chernobyl opened the reactor core and the air got jet radioactive material. Toxic gases not only pollute the local vegetation and water near Pripyat, but poisoned nearby residents, some of whom developed cancer.
Within three months after the accident, more than 30 people died from acute radiation sickness. By today’s scientists, from the accident was seriously injured dozens, and even hundreds of thousands of people.
Fukushima was not as devastating — in any case, if you start from what we know. March 11, 2011 earthquake Thoku and it emerged as a result of the tsunami led to three raspravlenija and multiple hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima reactor, the accident in Japan. Due to an event no one was killed directly by the explosions, however, approximately 1600 people have died from the stress (mostly elderly people) after the accident.
The environmental impact was also less serious. A study conducted in 2013 at the University of Colorado, showed that the station Fukushima released about 520 petabecquerels of radioactive material compared to 5,300 petabecquerels released by Chernobyl. While the Chernobyl radiation spread across Europe, a large part of Fukushima radiation fell into the Pacific ocean.
“In the case of Fukushima environmental issues a number of other than Chernobyl,” says Claire Corkill, researcher of nuclear waste disposal in Sheffield University, who helped with the cleanup of Chernobyl. Corkhill says that the site in Fukushima still generates millions of gallons of radioactive water that is currently stored in tanks, but the command to clear “very good”.
Three Mile island was not as destructive
Chernobyl and Fukushima are in a separate category from the Three Mile island, which, according to Corkhill was “absolutely others, not such a terrible scale.”
This incident occurred on 28 March 1979 when a system failure caused a partial destruction of the reactor at a nuclear power plant in Three Mile island, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. According to reports the world nuclear Association, this event had no deaths, injuries or adverse health effects, although some local residents have challenged these findings.
About 36 000 people lived within a 5 mile radius from the plant, when there was a partial obrushenie. Cargill said that the release of radioactive gases occurred in the station, but did not get into the environment. Therefore, the danger existed for workers, but not for the General public.
The nuclear regulatory Commission, the U.S. reported that about 2 million people were immediately exposed to radiation as a result of this incident, but the average radiation dose was lower than the dose received during x-ray examination of the chest. Statistics, however, the evacuation was similar to Chernobyl. Both incidents had the evacuation zone of 30 kilometers, and each of them more than 100 000 people have fled their homes.
The Chernobyl accident was the worst nuclear in the world
It is necessary to take into consideration that the residents of the Three Mile island came back home, eventually, but the residents of Pripyat — no.
Today, Chernobyl still have an exclusion zone with an area more than 1500 square kilometres, which limits the access of tourists. But there live a few families, and people over 18 are allowed to visit, however most of the territory is still contaminated.
Exclusion zone Fukushima is much smaller: about 200 square kilometers. Most of the 200,000 evacuees returned, but 43 000 people remain outside it, not wanting to go back.
The Chernobyl accident — far the worst of all. The combination of the explosion, which released radiation into the air, and fire, which has spread these radioactive particles for miles, just awful. Still possible to catch a “huge dose of radiation”, for example, in reactor number five on the incident says Corkhill.
“We had personal dosimeters, and suddenly my dosimeter was just freaking out,” she says. Although the students in her tour wanted to find the source of the radiation, Cargill decided to exercise caution. “I said no, let’s just move on. Don’t want to stand here too long.”
Read more why the Chernobyl accident could turn the exclusion zone into a Paradise on earth.