Chernobyl


“No center of population on the earth’s surface is secure from surprise destruction in a single attack. There is no defense in science against the weapon which can destroy civilization.” (Gale 210) The disaster on April 26, 1986 is described as one of the most frightening environmental disasters in the world. The plant was made up of four graphite reactors, which were the most modern Soviet reactors of the RBMK-type. (Medvedev 4) Two more of these reactors were still under construction at the station. was an obscure town in north central Ukraine (former Soviet Union) on the Pripyat River near the Belarus border. (Gale 135) Immediately its name was joined to the Nuclear Power Plant ...

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(Gale 27) In my paper I will discuss the causes and effects of the accident.
Human error is what basically caused the disaster. (Medvedev 1) These operators of the fourth unit slowly allowed power in the reactor to fall to low levels as part of a controlled experiment gone wrong. The purpose of the test was to observe the dynamics of the RMBK reactor with limited power flow. Twelve hours after power reduction was initiated, power reached 50 percent. (Medvedev 36-39) Only one turbine was needed to take in the decreased amount of steam, so no. 2 was turned off. Power was then reduced to 30 percent. Leonid Toptonov, a young, inexperienced and tired operator allowed the level of reactivity to fall dangerously low. As he attempted to correct this, the power in the reactor rose dramatically and uncontrollably. Instead of keeping power at 30 percent, he forgot to reset a controller, which caused the power to plummet to 1 percent. Now water was filling the core, and xenon ...

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radioactive fuel disintegrated, and pressure from all excess steam broke every one of the pressure tubes and blew the entire top shield of the reactor. All of these factors including serious violations of safety operations, dangerous design flaws, and imperfect control systems is what led to the virtually instantaneous catastrophic increase of thermal power which led to core meltdown. The steam explosion also destroyed part of the building. Radioactive material was then thrown out into the atmosphere for over 10 days. (Medvedev 26-36)
Multiple fires were formed both inside and out of the reactor. By five o'clock the firemen had smothered the flames. In later ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/24/2003 08:22:23 AM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1731
Pages: 7

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