An Explosive Time During Ukrainian History

1624 Words Oct 19th, 2015 7 Pages
Olivia Rutherford
Mrs. Smith
Pre-AP English 10
19 October 2015
An Explosive Time in Ukrainian History
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded April 25-26, 1986, near the town of Pripyat, Ukraine. At the time of the incident, Chernobyl’s reactors were owned and operated by the Soviet Ministry of Power and Electrification. The design of the reactor was unique to the Soviets and was called an RBMK, which stands for Large Power Boiling Reactor. Like the reactors in the United States, the Chernobyl reactors used ordinary water to cool the fuel but use graphite to moderate the neutrons produced in fission (Klevans, Farber). Another significant difference is Soviet reactors at the time did not have steel-lined, concrete-walled operating buildings like the ones in Western Europe, North America and Asia. The changes between the US and Soviet designs of their nuclear reactors at low power operation and under the right circumstances, the power of the Soviet reactors could increase in an uncontrolled and devestating way.
Tired and poorly trained night employees, operating without adequate safety precautions, were testing the reactor core system’s stability if and when a power shut-down would occur (“Alps”). The goal of this test was to determine if power from the spinning turbines would be able to operate while the backup diesel generators were brought in line. The test needed to be conducted at a 25 percent power level, but when the power was reduced 50…
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