On April, 26, 1986 the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl experienced an explosion which led to a nuclear accident which left the area devastated. According to sources 38 people were killed instantly while up to 100,000 died from the effects of the leaked radiation. Perhaps most disturbing was the fact that if it were not for the acts of heroism from a few volunteers to rush into the plant to shut down the reactor, the casualties would’ve been much higher. Said volunteers had to build concrete enclosures around the plant.
Aside from the billions of rubles in economic costs to contain and clean up the accident, it was a pivotal moment in the Gorbachev administration. Up til then, Gorbachev preached that the Kremlin would practice “glasnost” or “openness/ transparency” in its affairs. The Chernobyl incident saw Gorbachev practice glasnost by allowing international aid come in and help. On May 14, 1986 Gorbachev addressed the issue on TV. Journalists were also free to criticize the government and the Gorbachev administration began to assume more accountability than the leadership of years past.