chernoybl - Kunle Atewologun Eng 102.60 Prof Cherrie Dubois...

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Kunle Atewologun Eng 102.60 Prof. Cherrie Dubois 5/12/2009 The Chernobyl Explosion In today’s society providing energy has been very important. Some countries have depended on the use of fossil fuels to provide energy. Another variation of energy comes from Nuclear energy. Nuclear energy has been proven to provide the same amount of energy produced compared to its alternative sources for energy. However, building and maintaining a nuclear plant can be dangerous due to the hazardous materials. The Chernobyl explosion, serves as an example of the possible dangerous of a nuclear plant if it is built poorly. The accident also displayed the Soviet Union as not being well prepared for to handle the situation. With society today the Chernobyl explosion also pushed for the nations with nuclear plants to provided better regulations. The Chernobyl Nuclear power plant is located in Pripyat, Ukraine in the Soviet Union. The station consisted of four reactors of type RBMK-1000, each capable of producing 1 gigawatt of electric power. These four reactors would account for more than 30% of Ukraine’s electricity (Gale 20). At the time of the explosion there were two more reactors being built to add more energy output to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. On Saturday April 26, 1986 at 1:23:58 a.m. reactor 4 suffered a steam explosion that resulted in a fire, a series of additional explosions, and a nuclear meltdown. 1
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Kunle Atewologun Eng 102.60 Prof. Cherrie Dubois 5/12/2009 This accident may have been able to be avoided if the people who designed the reactor built it better. Although the Soviet Union denies that it was built with flaws there have been numerous problems found in the making of the reactors. The Chernobyl accident has been linked to the poorly designed reactors. The reactor had a dangerously large positive void coefficient. The void coefficient shows the measurement of how the reactor responds to increased steam formation in the water coolant. Many other reactor designs produce less energy as they get hotter, because if the coolant contains steam bubbles, fewer neutrons are slowed down. Faster neutrons are less likely to split uranium atoms, so the reactor produces less power. Chernobyl's reactor, however, used solid graphite as a neutron moderator to slow down the neutrons, and neutron-absorbing light-water to cool the core. This means that neutrons are slowed down even if steam bubbles form in the water. Since the steam absorbs neutrons much less than in water, it increases an RBMK reactor's temperature which means that more neutrons are able to split uranium atoms, increasing the reactors power output (Petryna 252) This makes the RBMK design very unstable at low power levels, and prone to suddenly produce too much energy if the temperature rises. At the time of the explosion this was
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chernoybl - Kunle Atewologun Eng 102.60 Prof Cherrie Dubois...

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