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Chernobyl Essay

1647 words - 7 pages


The accident

On April 26, 1986, Soviet's Union Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded letting out a massive amount of radiation that all Russian citizens would debate for years to come. At exactly 1:21 am. on April 26th 1986 in Chernobyl, a city near the Pripiat River the No. 4 reactor exploded and released thirty to forty times the radiation of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombing. The exact causes of the explosion are not known, however scientists and researchers, under thorough investigation, have uncovered possible causes to the explosion.

The reason

The main reason why the explosion might have occurred was that the operators of the plant were attempting to conduct an experiment with the emergency cooling system turned off, they made six fatal errors which sealed everyone’s fate. Soviet officials clamed that, if the technicians would have avoided at least one of those mistakes, then the plant could have been saved. The technicians began the test one day before the explosion. They started reducing the reactor's power level so they could run the turbine experiment, however in order for the plant to run at lower power they had to turn off the automatic control system, which powered all emergency limitations that the plant should make in case it goes out of control. Turning of the cooling system was an unnecessary action and though it did not cause the explosion, it made the consequences more fatal. Just then, the operator's receive a call from the local grid controller in Kiev who needed the power and asked the technicians to stop lowering it. Once that was done the reactor was running with out the cooling system, which was a very serious mistake. At 11:10 p.m. the grid controller said he no longer needed the power, and the operators returned to reducing the power. At twenty minutes past midnight the operators forgot to set the regulator properly, it was the second fatal error. At that point the operators would have abandoned the experiment, but they attempted to rescue it, for the next time they would be able to conduct would be in one year only.

The senior authorities that had ordered the test would have been furious and would have found out the regulator problem, so the operators decided to pull out the stops to restore the reactor's power. Their third fatal mistake was the pulling out of control rods. The plant's rule was to have thirty in at all times however they left all but six. By 1:00 Am the power was still to low for the experiment, however the operators continued. In a few minutes they made their fourth fatal error, by turning on two extra pumps to join the six that were already cooling the core. This procedure under such low power caused a massive steam disorder.

Fifth was the turning off of the automatic shut off, which would turn off the reactor. At 1:23 a.m. on Saturday April 26, the workers began the actual experiment. Then they turned off the last safety system. It took the shift manager thirty-seconds to...

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