Around 1 am Moscow time, the town of Pripyat in northern Ukraine was sleeping; only the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was awake. They were going to conduct a test to find an alternative way of cooling down the RBMK reactor after the energy shutdown. This experiment was conducted due to the 7% of thermal energy emission, they needed more source of energy.
This experiment began after midnight at rector 4, around 1.23.40 the EPS -5 buttons were pressed. It was a trigger to an emergency shutdown of the reactor. This button triggered the massive nuclear explosion in epic proportions. This explosion is considered as level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Many people gave their lives trying stopping the spread of contamination that was spreading due to the radioactive radiation.
As the wind direction was in the favour there was enough time to evacuate the inhabitants of Pripyat with neighbouring towns and villages. This event was recorded in many documentaries to show what the after effects of nuclear fallout would look like. The environmental, biological and medical consequence of this event is still studied.
The question that still arises today is why the button was pushed! What was the emergency? There is no one alive today to answer these questions.
To mark this tragedy, many countries issued stamps. The above-shown image illustrates the stamp issued by Maldives Post. It is the part of the Mysteries of Universe series. In 1991, USSR released stamp related to the 5th anniversary of this tragedy, it was also the last stamp USSR has ever issued.
The other nuclear disaster of this level is the tragedy of Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011.
Image Courtesy: Ebay.com