Technology is something that can be likened to a double-edged knife. If we can make the most of it, then technology will be something useful. It’s just that in its application technology often becomes a disaster that is difficult to avoid.
One of the technologies that cause many disasters is technologies related to energy and its utilization.
It is recorded in history that even these technologies were able to “expel” residents from their hometowns. Call it Chernobyl, Pripyat, Fukushima, or cities like Wittenoom to Kantubek.
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Have you heard any of the names above? So if you have never heard of the cities above, or only some of them that you know, then we are here to summarize some of the city stories to add to your insight.
- Pripyat, Chernobyl
Of all the cities we have reviewed here, Chernobyl is perhaps the most famous. Twenty-five years since the biggest nuclear reactor accident of this century, Chernobyl is still uninhabitable by humans and remains a ghost town.
On April 26, 1986 there was an accident at a nuclear reactor which caused a radioactive cloud to spread which forced hundreds of thousands of native Chernobyls to leave their homes and possessions.
It is said that at that time the leaked radiation even had a dose of up to 400 times the radiation dose in the city of Hiroshima during World War II. It said at that time some 350,000 people were required to exit the nuclear exclusion zone which has a radius of up to 19 miles (about 31 km) around the reactor.
United States scientist and Nobel laureate Hans Bethe said one of the main causes of the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor was the power station, which when it was made to have a construction failure, he later called it built-in instability.
Another problem is the structure that supported the reactor at that time was made entirely of concrete, even though the material that should be able to prevent reactor damage was steel.
Apart from construction and materials, another cause of the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor was the failure of the electrical engineer experiment there at that time.
Chernobyl’s engineers wanted to test whether they were able to draw electricity from the turbine generator when the reactor died, even though the turbine was still running inertia at that time.
These engineers then attempted to lower the level of the reactor to begin their experiments. It’s just that they lowered the level of the reactor too fast so that it ended in a violent explosion that caused the biggest nuclear disaster of this century.
Until now Chernobyl is often an example of terrible cities due to technological breakdowns, often this Chernobyl story makes people also skeptical of the use of nuclear power generation technology.
- Wittenoom, Western Australia
During World War 2, Wittenoom was famous as a city that produced crocidolite which is often known as blue asbestos. At that time, technology was not as sophisticated as it is today, and many asbestos miners at that time “brought” asbestos material on their clothes to the middle of residential areas.
Then what is the result? Asbestos is a compound that is very useful, but very dangerous for humans, especially the human airway.
Asbestos is a small particle that very easily enters the human respiratory circulation. Some of the diseases caused by this compound are asbestosis and mesothelioma which are a form of lung cancer.
The two combinations later caused the death of up to 2,000 people there due to illness caused by this asbestos. Activities that have occurred since the 1940s then continued until 1978 and finally in 1993 all of the city’s education, health and safety infrastructure was closed.
According to the Western Australian Department of Lands, traces of crocidolite can still be found several kilometers from the mining center.
However, the numbers are very small and almost undetectable. However, the Australian government still has a policy to prohibit visiting Wittenoom.
In the future, the Australian government wants to try to re-fill the city again after at least one of the geologists from Australia stated that the asbestos levels in the city had dropped to a safe level.
As a result of this incident, the city of Wittenoom is remembered as one of the terrible cities due to technological breakdown in the world.