Immediate health effects for the general public would not be expected from an accident at a nuclear power plant. This is because the amount of radiation present would be too small to cause immediate injury or illness. However, there is a risk of long-term health effects. Cancer can develop many years after exposure.
For example, many doctors in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union advised pregnant women to undergo abortions to avoid having children with birth defects or other disorders, although the actual level of radiation exposure these women experienced was probably too low to cause any problem, according to the World Nuclear Association. Some of the risks present at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant would be that the fighting disconnects the power grid installation or that the damage causes the cooling tanks to empty, according to James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, in his speech at the Rachel Maddow show. In early March, when Russia began bombing Europe's largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, concerns grew about a possible nuclear fusion. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is located about 81 miles (130 kilometers) north of Ukraine's capital, Kiev, and about 12 miles (20 km) south of the border with Belarus, according to the World Nuclear Association (opens in a new tab).
In most nuclear reactors, water is also used as a coolant and to moderate the reactivity of the nuclear core by removing excess heat and steam, according to the World Nuclear Association (opens in a new tab). In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (formerly part of the Soviet Union) exploded, creating what many consider to be the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. Sometime during the Russian occupation, looters stole radioactive material and isotopes from a radiation monitoring laboratory near the defunct nuclear power plant, according to the Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Safety Problems (ISPNP). Chernobyl disaster, accident in 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union, the worst disaster in the history of nuclear power generation.
But nuclear energy experts warned that the plant's approximately 20,000 spent nuclear fuel units, which are 22 years old, were quite cold and that such an event would be highly unlikely. Russian troops captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant at the beginning of the invasion and have now taken control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe. Despite contamination of the site and the risks inherent in operating a reactor with serious design flaws, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant continued to operate to meet Ukraine's energy needs until its last reactor, Reactor 3, was closed in December 2000, according to World Nuclear News (opens in a new tab). Thirty-five years after Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in the world's worst nuclear accident, fission reactions reignite in uranium fuel masses buried deep in a shattered reactor room.