In the wrecked basement, the nuclear reaction is smoldering again. Chernobyl According to news reports, a nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
Researchers monitoring a plant that exploded infamously during a deadly meltdown in 1986 detected a steady spike in neutron numbers in a basement called 305/2.The room is full of heavy rubble, hiding radioactive muddy uranium, zirconiumGraphite and sand that seep into the basement of plants, like lava, before hardening into a formation called Fuel-Containing Material (FCM).
Elevated neutron levels indicate that these FCMs are undergoing a new fission reaction as neutrons collide with uranium nuclei and split. atom, Create energy.
So far, this radioactive waste is smoldering “like the embers of a barbecue pit.” Neil Hyatt, a nuclear material chemist at the University of Sheffield, UK, Told science magazine.. However, if left unattended for a long time, the embers may ignite completely and another explosion may occur.
This potential explosion was not as devastating as the one that destroyed the plant in 1986, resulting in the deaths of thousands and the eruption of radioactive clouds in Europe. Maxim Saveriev, a senior researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Safety Issues, a plant in Kiev, Ukraine (ISPNPP), told Science. If the nuclear material reignites, the blast will be mostly contained in a steel and concrete cage called a shelter built by the authorities around the abandoned Unit 4 reactor one year after the accident. ..
Still, even a contained explosion would make the long-term mission of removing FCM in the plant much more difficult, Saveliev said. The shelter was old and could easily collapse under the force of an explosion, filling the area with heavy debris and radioactive dust. (The shelter itself is contained in a larger steel structure called the new safety confinement completed in 2018.)
According to Saveliev, neutron levels have been steadily rising in Room 305/2 for four years and could continue to rise for several more years without incident. In the meantime, these nuclear nuggets can disappear spontaneously. But if neutron levels continue to rise, scientists must intervene.
Of course, it’s easier than it sounds. Factory managers do not yet understand how to access large amounts of radioactive material buried under thick concrete debris in the room. According to ISPNPP, radiation levels are unbearably high for humans, but radiation-resistant robots may be able to drill through rubble and install neutron absorption control rods in the room.
Ukraine wants to present a detailed plan to remove Chernobyl’s still smoldering FCM by September, Science reported.
Originally published in Live Science.
Chernobyl nuclear fuel “smolders” again and can explode
Source link Chernobyl nuclear fuel “smolders” again and can explode