Cheyrnobol Disaster

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Brandon Ho 117489 The Chernobyl Disaster The Chernobyl accident took place on April 26, 1986 at the fourth reactor in Chernobyl Nuclear Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. It was a major nuclear accident that spread huge quantities of radioactive contamination to over 20 countries. It started with a systems test that’s goal was to observe the reactor when it ran with limited power. To perform the test, it required the power to remain around 30%. The problem started when an operator forgot to reset a c
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  Brandon Ho117489The Chernobyl DisasterThe Chernobyl accident took place on April 26, 1986 at the fourth reactor inChernobyl Nuclear Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. It was a major nuclear accident thatspread huge quantities of radioactive contamination to over 20 countries. It started with asystems test that’s goal was to observe the reactor  when it ran with limited power. Toperform the test, it required the power to remain around 30%. The problem started whenan operator forgot to reset a controller, which sent water into the core and xenon (aneutron absorber) began building up, causing the power level to plummet to 1%, whichwas too low for the test. To counteract this, another operator raised the power level byremoving control rods below the safety minimum amount, which forced the power levelup to 7%. The removals of those rods are the primary reason for the disaster. At thatpoint, the reactor was unstable because water was going back into the core through theturbines manually, and those small temperature changes from the water flowing causedlarge power fluctuations. The operator then tried to control the water flow and obtain themost stable conditions but was unsuccessful. With the reactor still unstable, theyproceeded to turn off the turbines anyways to continue the safety test. As a result thepower level began to rise because of all the steam (that was supposed to go through theturbines that were shut off). Just 44 seconds after the test began the power level reached120 times its normal amount from the excess steam and blew off the top of the entire topshield of the reactor. Then a second more powerful explosion caused by hot graphite  (from the control rods) and steam occurred and blew the reactor core apart as well as the  plant’s roof  (that was made out of flammable material). As a fisherman eyewitnessrecalls, “It was more like a volcanic eruption . ” Immediate effects of the disaster was the biggest radioactive release into theenvironment ever recorded, and caused serious social and economic trouble for largepopulations in countries around Ukraine. It also caused 31 deaths by the end of July1986, six of which were firemen that attended the initial fires of the explosion. Anotherimmediate effect is the evacuation of thousands of people from Pripyat and other citiesclose to the plant.Long-term effects include 700 cases of thyroid cancer among children that can betraced back to the disaster. Down syndrome, along with other chromosome irregularitiespeaked 9 months following the fallout, suggesting that the accident had caused it. Afterthe disaster many animals were born with mutations along with trees having oddlyshaped leaves. Fortunately, many rare species of animals have once again begun to showup around the plant and some people have moved back into their old homes close to theplant. To help prevent the incident more qualified operators could have been present andthe lower operators should have been better trained for the situation. The disaster isgenerally blamed on the operators, as they breached several safety requirements thatwould have prevented the explosion if followed. For example, when trying to generate ahigher energy level, they went below the minimum amount of control rods supposed tobe used. If they had followed procedure properly and not broken any safety rules, theaccident would not have occurred.  The situation could have been handled better after the explosion if the USSRgovernment had not tried to cover up the experiment and asked for help earlier. Thegovernment covered it up for about 2 days but could not deny the accident any longerwhen radiation was all over Europe. The firefighters were also not told that the fire wasat a reactor; in fact they had not even known the accident was anything more than anormal electrical fire. Also, the communities around the plant should have been toldearlier that the explosion had occurred; so vulnerable people such as children could havestayed indoors and minimized their radiation exposure.Chernobyl is still dangerous to visit because some radioactive isotopes such asStrontium-90 and Caesium-137 still linger in the atmosphere today, although the levelsare not as nearly as dangerous as they were years ago. Overall the Chernobyl Disasterwas a very grave incident that released huge amounts of radiation and should have neverhappened. Furthermore, the accident was handled very poorly even after it occurred,which caused even more harm then it should have. In 2000, the last reactor at Chernobylwas shut down. Currently, a new concrete sarcophagus is being built around the reactor toprevent the release of more radiation.    T., Peter, and William F. The Disaster. Http://library.thinkquest.org . OracleResearch Foundations, 1996. Web. 10 Jan. 2012.<http://library.thinkquest.org/3426/>.    Back to Chernobyl Producer Bill CurtisNOVA, 1989 Video Cassette Seconds from Disaster  Meltdown in Chernobyl National Geographic Channel, 2009
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