26th April
It was on this day...
1986 Chernobyl Power Plant Disaster

32 died and dozens more suffered radiation burns on the first day following the explosion. Eventually, possibly 5,000 Soviet citizens, and countless others, died of cancers caused by the high levels of radiation.

The accident was initially reported to the world by Sweden and the, later, by the Soviet authorities after their attempt at a cover-up failed.

The accident happened after a poorly designed experiment on the plant's fourth reactor (of four) went wrong.

To undertake the experiment the engineers apparently recklessly disconnected the reactor's emergency safety systems and power-regulating systems.

Despite initial evidence that the reactor was becoming unstable, it is said that they then removed too many of the reactor's control rods.

The eventual explosion was caused when, in an attempt to regain control of the unstable reactor, all 200-some control rods were apparently reinserted. Unfortunately the rods had graphite tips and the result of all those rods being inserted at once caused a chemical (not a nuclear) explosion which blew off a heavy steel and concrete lid at the top of the reactor, releasing 50 tons of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

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Duane Eddy
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Other News

1865 Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, dies (either he is shot or he commits suicide) when troops corner him.

1962 Ranger IV becomes the first US rocket to land on the moon.

1989 Comedy great Lucille Ball dies aged 78. (Link to Clips of the Lucy Show)

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