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Additional resources for All About History: The World’s Worst Disasters
He established that the graphite in the reactor was burning and that it was giving off an enormous amount of radiation and heat. Shortly afterwards, the government in Moscow was warned and the town of Pripyat evacuated but further mistakes were then made. First, extinguishing water is added but the high temperature separates the water into hydrogen and oxygen and the resultant explosion releases heat. Thus, the fire is not extinguished but fanned. After three fruitless attempts to quell the flames with water, the authorities decide to throw sand, lead and boron carbide onto the reactor from helicopters.
A new anti-fascist campaign was launched by Mao, which purged anyone who wasn’t feeding him the lies he wanted to hear. In the end, he blamed communism itself. ” The Great Leap was no longer about grain, communism or even China. It was about Mao and his unquenchable ambition, as well as the forces of reality that were blocking him in his great quest As the months rolled by in 1960, and the population became weaker and weaker, Mao began to realise the country was in turmoil. The United States offered humanitarian aid and, in a final act of humiliation, so did Japan.
Due to these inaccurate low readings, Akimov assumed the reactor was intact – although to come to this conclusion he ignored the assorted pieces of graphite and reactor fuel lying around the building and the high readings of another dosimeter brought in that was dismissed as ‘defective’. Whether Akimov really thought the reactor was intact or he knew the importance of averting further disaster is mere conjecture. What is fact is that he stayed with his crew in the reactor building until morning, sending members of his crew to try to pump water into the reactor and that none of them wore any protective gear.