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Indybay Feature

The Battle of Chernobyl

Wednesday, May 04, 2011
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Humanist Hall
390 27th Street
uptown Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway

Film evenings begin with potluck refreshments and social hour at 6:30 pm,
followed by the film at 7:30 pm, followed by a discussion after the film.

by Thomas Johnson

This is the film that describes the Chernobyl catastrophe most thoroughly. Chernobyl was the most significant nuclear reactor failure in the history of nuclear power, to date. Thursday, April 26, 1986, was the momentous day when one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine exploded. The nuclear plant, just 20 km away from the town center, was made up of four reactor units each generating an output of 1,000 megawatts. The reactor in question exploded due to operational errors and inadequate safety measures and the meltdown was directly linked to routine testing on the reactor unit’s turbine generators. The test required reactor activity and the thermal reactor output to be run down to a lower level. During the procedure, however, the reactor plummeted to an unexpectedly low and unstable level of activity. At this point, it should have been shut down. But the operators chose to continue with the test, and subsequent events proved to be catastrophic.

More than 200 people died or were seriously injured by radiation exposure immediately after the explosion. 161,000 people had to be evacuated from a 30 kilometer radius of the reactor and 25,000 square km of land were contaminated. As time went on millions of people suffered radiation related health problems such as leukemia and thyroid cancer and around one million people have died as a result of the long-term effects of the accident. Forth percent of the European land mass has been devastated by radiation. Nobody was prepared for such a crisis. For the next seven months, 500,000 men waged hand-to-hand combat with an invisible enemy – a ruthless battle that has gone unsung, claiming thousands of unnamed and now almost forgotten heroes. Yet, it is thanks to these men that the worst was avoided: a second explosion, ten times more powerful than Hiroshima, would have wiped out more than half of Europe. This was kept secret for twenty years by the Soviets and the West alike.

Wheelchair accessible around the corner at 411 28th Street

$5 donations are accepted
Added to the calendar on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 12:37AM
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