Boiling heat: Nuclear reactions are spreading in the depths of Chernobyl

Nuclear fission reactions began to flame again in an isolated basement room deep inside the destroyed pits Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 35 years since the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

Chernobyl control room

(Photo: Pixabay)

According to Science magazineUkrainian scientists from the Institute for Safety Problems at Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) recently discovered an extremely high number of neutrons emitting from an inaccessible room at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, suggesting that the fission reaction has begun to reappear.

Neil Hyatt, a professor of nuclear materials chemistry at the University of Sheffield and a member of the UK’s Radioactive Waste Management Committee, described it as “hot coals in a barbecue pit.” On April 26, 1986, most of the contents of the fourth unit’s reactor core melted in extreme heat of combustion, allowing 170 tons of irradiated uranium to be poured into the basement of the reactor hall, where it slowly cooled and hardened like solidified lava.

Radiation level in Chernobyl

Renewable energy provides lower carbon emissions compared to nuclear energy

(Photo: Pixabay)

Radiation levels remained relatively constant over time, but an increase in neurons was observed after the downpour (evidence of a nuclear fission reactor). Rainwater seeped into the problem area despite the original shelter located above the reactor hall soon after the tragedy.

Water has increased the level of fission because it slows down neutrons and increases their chances of entering and fissioning uranium nuclei, producing more neutrons, etc. In 2016, a new sarcophagus was built over the remains of the power plant to prevent radiation leakage. This worked long before the ISPNPP discovered unusually high levels of radioactivity near room 305/2, where most of the fuel was discarded.

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In the face of the nuclear crisis

The question now is how to deal with the crisis. One idea is to drill holes in the cured radioactive cleft using a robot and inject boron rods, which serve as a control rod in the reactor and reduce the number of neutrons thrown around.

But don’t worry. Although officials and scientists will certainly have to follow this new finding closely, it is very unlikely that it would cause another catastrophe on the size of the original, according to some tabloids. However, the topic highlights how the legacy of the 1986 disaster will be felt for many years. In order not to forget, the Ukrainian government has applied for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Chernobyl incident

Chernobyl

(Photo: CNN)

Chernobyl tragedy was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday, April 26, 1986 in the reactors No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Pripyat in the Ukrainian USSR.

It is the most expensive and deadliest nuclear tragedy in history. It is one of only two nuclear events to be ranked seventh on the International Nuclear Event Scale, followed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. The initial emergency response and subsequent decontamination of the environment took 500,000 people and is estimated at 18 billion Soviet rubles – about 68 billion USD today, adjusted for inflation.

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