On the 26 of April of 1986 the worst nuclear accident, in times of peace, occured in the nuclear plant of Chernobil. An explosion followed by fire in a reactor of this ukranian city contaminated 75% of Europe and its cosequences are still felt today. Chernobil is a city situated in the center of Ukraine, where a nuclear power station was built in the mid 70s, 110Km from the capital, Kiev. The first reactor was activated in 1977 by the Soviet Union. In the following years more three were activated. In 1985 a serious nuclear accident in one of the reactors decreased the plants potential by 25%. On the 26 of April of 1986 two strong explosions destroyed the central reactor, originating a breach in the nucleus of 1000 tons. Other explosions followed, caused by the release of vapor, spreading a gigantic cloud of radiation that contaminated 75% of Europe, from Ireland to the North of Greece. In the proximity of Chernobil 31 firemen or workers of the plant died that day and 135 000 people were evacuated. The Soviet Union tried to cover up theextent of the accident. Even before Moscow had officially admitted the catastrophe Sweden and Finland had already alerted to the increase of radiation. This catastrophe increased the antinuclear skepticism. That day, for example, in the South of Germany the measurments of the soil indicated 45000 bequerels of contamination by Cesium 137 ( the normal value is 300 bequerels).
Despite the evidence of danger, official sources such as The International Agency ofAtomic Energy and The German Nuclear Forum tried to minimize the consequences. All around the world the dilemma on the use and dangers of nuclear energy grew. After the accident thousands of soldiers built a protection of steel a cement called the sarcophagus to protect the destroyed reactor. In 1991 a fire of great proportions led to the shutting down of the activities of another one of the reactors. The International Agency of Atomic Energy inspected the nuclear power station in March of 1994 and found several security breaches in the two reactors still functioning. The sarcophagus that seals what is left of the exploded reactor was collapsing. In 1995 an agreement protocol between Ukraine and the seven most industrialized nations for the closing down of the activities of the nuclear power station of Chernobil was elaborated in exchange for economic assistance.