Chernobyl – birds dropping out of the sky!
On 26 April 1986, at 01:23 (UTC+3), reactor four suffered a catastrophic power increase, leading to explosions in its core. This dispersed large quantities of radioactive fuel and core materials into the atmosphere and ignited the combustible graphite moderator. The burning graphite moderator increased the emission of radioactive particles, carried by the smoke, as the reactor had not been encased by any kind of hard containment vessel.
But no one knew about it for some time….
…..until birds started to drop out of the sky -dead!
I was teaching at the time and working on a project called School Links International where I was instrumental in developing ‘curriculum links’ with schools around the world.
My class was linked with schools in Kenya, Nigeria , Finland and others.
One morning (just shortly after April 26 1986) children were excited that they had news from their friends in Finland, but also confused, as were the children in Finland. The children in Finland were watching birds dropping out of the sky -and the birds were already dead!They did not know why.
Much later, although news was stifled, the world got to know about the Chernobyl disaster -but our young reporters got to know about the first signs that something terrible had happened, before the news broke.
The power of children communicating with children in other countries.
Location of Chernobyl nuclear power plant
The abandoned city of Pripyat with Chernobyl plant in the distance
I wonder, 40 years on , how those children (now 49/50 year olds) see the news today!