The Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Meltdown Essay

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The Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

April 26th 1986 marked the date of the worst nuclear accident to ever occur. Chernobyl, a nuclear power plant in Russia was undergoing routine safety tests that envolved running the reactor on less then full power, followed by a standard shut down. At Chernobyl’s reactor number 4 a specific test was designed to show that a coasting turbine could produce enough power to pump coolant through the reactor core while waiting for electricity from diesel generators. During the test turbine feed valves were closed to initiate turbine coasting, and automatic control rods were withdrawn from the core. When the steam valves to the turbine close, the pressure in the reactor should go up causing the
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All of the firemen died, either a result of the fire, or from breathing radioactive debris. Unfortunately, their heroic attempts were useless, because the core of the reactor was exposed making the fire much to hot for water to cool. The first thing the Russians did was try to cover up the accident. This turned out to be impossible, considering the amounts of radioactive debris released into the air. Shortly after the accident a nuclear power plant in Sweden measured high amounts of radioactivity in their area, called the Russians to inquire if there had been an accident. The Russians shortly thereafter alerted the press, and evacuated towns surrounding Chernobyl. This of course wasn’t their biggest problem. They needed to find the fuel that had escaped from the reactor in order to avoid another massive chain reaction. This was a huge problem due to the extreme amounts of radioactivity inside the sarcophagus. They didn’t have the money for robots, so they sent in the Soviet Army. 3400 men were used on “roof runs” in which they’d go and collect samples from the roof of the reactor. During these missions soldiers could be subjected to 20 Rankin’s of radiation. Many people who have worked at Chernobyl have died from sudden heart failure. The Russian government denies that this has anything to do with their work at Chernobyl, but their have been too many deaths related to heart failure for it not to be. The next move was to find the
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