INT1: TASK 1
The Chernobyl Disaster
The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1984 in what was known as Ukrainian SSR. “Reactor Four” was hit with a catastrophic power surge that caused the core to explode. This disaster is considered to the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. Only two nuclear accidents have reached the level 7 classification, the Chernobyl Disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster in 2011. Belarus suffered the worst of the fallout, receiving about 60% or the radiation.
The first nuclear reactor was put into commercial use in Russia on June 26, 1954.
Nuclear power plants are identified as Generation I, II, III+, and IV with Gen I being the earliest developments, and Gen IV being current generations. Gen I power plants are referred to as “prototypes” and were developed mainly to show proof that the concept could be achieved. Gen II reactors were ...view middle of the document...
In the United States, all Gen III+ reactors must be approved by the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commision).
Using experience of the American, Japanese, and the Western European LWR fleets, manufacturers developed Gen III+ systems in the 1990’s.
The most significant improvement of the Gen III+ is the incorporation of passive safety features that do not require the operator intervention or require active controls. As of January 18, 2013 there are 437 nuclear power plants in operation capable of producing 372 GW and another 68 power plants that are under construction with the ability to produce another 65 GW of power.
Nuclear Reactors since Chernobyl
The Chernobyl reactors were RBMK (reaktor bolshoy moshchnosty kanalny) power plants. Since the disaster, all RBMK reactors have been outfitted with more efficient and safer control rods making them much more stable at less power. Many safety features have been added and modified, like adding automatic shut-down mechanisms that now operate faster. The installation of automatic inspection equipment. Over 1000 Soviet Union engineers have visited the Western power plants resulting in over 50 twinning arrangements between the East and West.
Historical and Social Context of the Chernobyl Disaster
The first of two official explanations that caused the disaster was the error of the power plant operators. Gross violations or the operating rules and regulations during testing. During a routine maintenance, the personnel disconnected many technical protection systems all for the sake of an exercise. No emergency protection system was created because the developers considered such catastrophic events to be impossible.
Impact of the Chernobyl Disaster
350, 400 people were evacuated from 1986 to 2000. The Soviet government tried to cover up the disaster which became a catalyst for glasnost which paved the way for the Soviet collapse. Over 530,000 local workers were exposed to a calculated 50 years worth of extra radiation. Caused 1,000 cases of thyroid cancer and over 4,000 cases or other types of cancer.