Posted: February 15th, 2022
Evaluation of Technical and Ethical Issues for Chernobyl Disaster
Evaluation of Technical and Ethical Issues for Chernobyl Disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant built near the Pripyat River of Ukraine on April 26, 1986 (Rana 2014). The plant consisted of four reactors. The explosion occurred in the 4th reactor during scheduled tests of power supply mode, contaminating modern-day Belarus, Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine (Rana 2014). Research on the incident discovered multiple irregularities involved in the build-up leading to the incident. The scientific assessment established that the technical parts of the plant involved were strained, and regarding ethical issues, other research found communication incompetency. This discussion expounds on these two aspects. The technical aspect consists of three factors, the technical parts involved, how they worked, and how they failed. The second aspect comprises an ethical perspective explaining underlying communication issues, new regulations and safety standards discovered consequence of the accident, and measures used today to prevent similar failures in future.
Technical Evaluation of Chernobyl Disaster
The reactors in the Chernobyl Plant were pressurized water reactors-RBMK-1000, of Soviet origin, classified as High-Power Channel Reactors. They produced Plutonium and electric power by combining a graphite moderator and water coolant (Nuclear Energy Institute, 2008). However, the reactors featured a significant shortcoming of increased reactivity attributed to the operation involving the insertion speed of reactor control rods (Kortov and Ustyantsev 2013).
Following the loss of primary electrical power supply, a group of engineers planned an engineering experiment on the length of time Reactor 4 would supply power to the main circulating pumps. Because of the low power, the reactors were very unstable due to the control rod design and the positive void coefficient, which accelerated power output and nuclear chain reaction (Nuclear Energy Institute, 2008). In this case, the reactivity increase was caused by the insertion of the reactor at a low speed. The control rods were inserted in a range of 18 seconds instead of 2-3 seconds, inhibiting the control system’s effectiveness over fast processes in the reactor (Kortov and Ustyantsev 2013).
Chernobyl accident and its consequences – large.stanford.edu. Stanford.edu. (2008). Retrieved January 2, 2022, from http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/moshkovich1/docs/Chernobyl-Accident.pdf
Rana, M. A. (2014). The Chernobyl reactor accident: Some selected facts. African Journal of Engineering Research, 2(1), 1-7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331021511_The_Chernobyl_reactor_accident_Some_selected_facts
Kortov, V., & Ustyantsev, Y. (2013). Chernobyl accident: Causes, consequences and problems of radiation measurements. Radiation Measurements, 55, 12-16. https://www.fcav.unesp.br/Home/departamentos/morfologia/ELISABETHCRISCUOLOURBINATI/materialdidatico/02–chernobyl-accident-causes-consequences-and-problems-of-radiation.pdf
Nuclear Energy Institute. (2008, November). stanford.edu. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/moshkovich1/docs/Chernobyl-Accident.pdf
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