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Unformatted text preview: GEO 101 – Section E Dr. Jacqueline A. Housel Environment Essay 3/22/11 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster In Ukraine, previously known as the Ukrainian Republic of the Soviet Union, on April 26, 1986, a nuclear accident occurred that is commonly referred to as the “Chernobyl Disaster.” The International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) classified the event at the nuclear power plant as a level 7 – safety of significance (ICRIN, 2010). The event is rated the highest in history by the INES and is one of the most serious accidents regarding the nuclear industry. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is divided into different sections of reactors. Close to the town of Pripyat, an unauthorized systems experiment test failure took place in the Unit 4 reactor. The experiment was designed to test the behavior of a specific electrical system’s power in case of a main electrical supply failure. The failure of the experiment was caused by an exponential reactor power output that was ignored by the operators; the Unit 4 reactor had a low number of control rods in order to safely complete the experiment, and the intentionally disabled reactor safety systems (Smith and Beresford, 1995). The operator ignored the system’s emergency shutdown warning that was caused by an unusual growth rate in reactor power leading to a pressurized cooling water system failure. The failed experiment test started multiple explosions creating fires that were quickly contained by firemen, emergency workers, and helicopters. The burning reactor continued for 10 days after the original explosions (Smith and Beresford, 1995). During the experiment test, many warnings were ignored which led to the disaster. An emergency evacuation of Pripyat and Chernobyl took place just days after the disaster. The town of Slavutich took in families within 30 kilometers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Although there was a timely evacuation locally from the Chernobyl site, there were no direct warnings to the general public to stay indoors and out of the contaminated air surrounding areas of the Power Plant (Smith and Beresford, 1995). Hundreds of thousands of...
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- Spring '08
- Nuclear power plant, Chernobyl disaster, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Chernobyl nuclear power