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Science Technology

Workers Raise First Section of New Chernobyl Shelter 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the giant-portable-stadium-roofs dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this AP report: "Workers have raised the first section of a colossal arch-shaped structure that eventually will cover the exploded nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power station. Project officials on Tuesday hailed the raising as a significant step in a complex effort to clean up the consequences of the 1986 explosion, the world's worst nuclear accident. Upon completion, the shelter will be moved on tracks over the building containing the destroyed reactor, allowing work to begin on dismantling the reactor and disposing of radioactive waste.'"
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Workers Raise First Section of New Chernobyl Shelter

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  • by will_die (586523) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:58AM (#42115211) Homepage
    There are no plans to dismantel the reactor at this time, except some parts that prevent the cover from getting into place. The new cover will allow dismantelling of the current sarcophagus and protect the reactor and what remains of the building from the weather.
  • Re:Nuclear... (Score:3, Informative)

    by qazsedcft (911254) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @07:12AM (#42115273)
    Um... in case you weren't aware Chernobyl was run by the Soviet Union and certainly not driven by profit.
  • Re:Nuclear... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spazztastic (814296) <`spazztastic' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @07:20AM (#42115301)

    On top of that it wasn't because of profits that the incident happened. They intentionally disabled multiple safety triggers to perform an experiment and that's what caused it all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @07:34AM (#42115359)

    there have only been a handful of incidents and the vast majority of those have little, if any, impact

    Lies.

    List of civilian nuclear accidents [wikipedia.org]

    List of civilian nuclear incidents [wikipedia.org]

    List of civilian radiation accidents [wikipedia.org]

    List of crimes involving radioactive substances [wikipedia.org]

    List of military nuclear accidents [wikipedia.org]

    List of nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll [wikipedia.org]

    Accidents involving nuclear waste [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @07:56AM (#42115465)

    Alexei Ananenko
    Valeri Bezpalov
    Boris Baranov

    Were it not for the efforts of these three men Europe could have quite possibly been wiped out due to fallout. We are should be forever fortunate they decided to lay down their lives.

    Just because the world's worst accident didn't go a wrong as it could doesn't negate that the way we were constructing plants was horrendously stupid.

    I believe Nuclear has a place, even a prominant one, in fulfilling our energy needs. But let's not think that people don't have a right to be afraid.

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @08:52AM (#42115809) Journal

    And here's another list for you:

    Number of people killed due to wind power in 2008: 41
    Number of blade failures from wind power in 2008: 39
    Number of wind turbine fires in 2008: 110 (in which nothing can be done, since the fire is 300+ feet in the air)
    Number of wind turbine structural failures in 2008: 60
    Number of wind turbine "ice incidents" in 2008: 24
    Number of people killed in the US by candles per annum: 126
    Number of people killed in the US due to nuclear power in 40+ years of reactor operations (currently 104 generating stations): 0

    More people die from candles in one year, than have died from 40 years of commercial nuclear energy. Having reliable electric generation could save those 126 people, because they could use a light bulb instead of a candle.

  • Re:Nuclear... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:01AM (#42116343)

    Greed to know without regard to safety. Sure sounds like a profit motive. Not all profit means money.

    The person you responded to was not correct, it was a test not an experiment.

    Specifically what happened was they were running the cooling system off the plant's own output instead of external generators or external power sources. The idea being that in the event of a complete power loss to the backup generators the plant's own power could be used to continue cooling the reactor. When the reactor temp began to climb into dangerous levels, instead of aborting the test and switching back to external power they just turned up the reactor output in order to increase cooling capacity, which of course in turn increased the reactor core's heat output. Turning down the output would have reduced the cooling capacity, and heat would have kept climbing. The reason they didn't just abort the test, which is what the automatic controls attempted to do, is because they didn't want to end up in a Siberian Labor "camp" for the rest of their miserable lives.

    And you need to look up the definition of "profit" and "benefit", they aren't the same thing. Yes, they did it for their own benefit, but not for "profit".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:24AM (#42116571)

    Oh, I forgot about SL1 in ID. One of the first nuclear reactors. An engineer was pinned to the ceiling by a control rod when he inserted it too fast. Some will dismiss it as suicide, but after all I've read I lean more toward carelessness as the most plausible explanation. Also, I get a report from the Department of Homeland Security everyday. It's called "Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report for U.S. Department of Homeland Security" in it there is all news related to the security of energy infrasturcture. Included in it are often minor nuclear incidents that are never reported in the mainstream news. Some might take this as an opportunity to condemn nuclear power, but to me it shows that we catch things through a very thorough set of checks and balances that ensure problems are caught before they become catastrophic. The nuclear industry has regulations for their regulations regulations. And violation often means being shut down depending on assessment of safety concern. If it's a small problem that's likely to have no impact they can continue to operate, but they still get fined. But if there's any chance it might become a large problem that reactor is offline until it's fixed. Losses in the millions result from a reactor going down. The companies don't like to do it, so they do their level best to comply with the regulations.

  • Re:Nuclear... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ravenlord_hun (2715033) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:44AM (#42116791)
    Not really. They wouldn't have been sent to Siberia, as they weren't even the guys who were supposed to run the test. These were the night shift guys; the day shift - who were supposed to do this task and actually prepared for it - were told to stand by because of another plant falling out of the power grid in Ukraine. By the time the plant recevied the green signal for the test, the shifts rotated and this detail never seemed to be important to anybody. It's not widely publicized because it's not a very "interesting" detail, but this very test was attempted three times before the accident by the other crew; they failed to safely shut off the reactor on every three, but they neither blew up the reactor. (They simply aborted the test and switched back to external power for cooling.)

    The primary cause of the accident is two-founded. Firstly, the reactor was not safe by design, being a positive coefficient reactor. Secondarily, the crew was utterly ignorant on even the basic principles of nuclear power, let alone the operation of their own reactor. The reason why they never aborted the test was not out of fear. They never realized the reactor was in danger! Even after the fuel rods were strewn across Pripyat, these guys reported to Moscow that the reactor is intact and being fed with fresh coolant water - even though at this point the water they pumped in only flooded the electrical controls of the other units, almost causing a second catastrophe.

    The final bit of irony: the reason for the test? Israel bombed a nuclear plant in Iraq prior, and some people in Russia started to get worried if the RBMK reactors could safely shut down when NATO started bombing their power grid.
  • Re:Nuclear... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @11:17AM (#42117219)

    There are two additional issues that nobody has yet discussed. First, multiple RBMK plants refused to perform this test due to the danger involved, but Chernobyl had claimed that it had successfully done it years before (and the plant manager got a bonus). If they would have refused to perform a test that they faked the paperwork for, then there would be severe political consequences. Second, while a reduction in steam pressure caused a reduction in coolant flow which due to the positive void coefficient for this reactor caused it to increase in power, the real cause of the explosion was the control rod followers, ends of the control rods that were not neutron poisons but were designed to distribute the neutron flux better. When all rods were withdrawn and the scram initiated, only the control rod followers entered first. With a positive void coefficient, this was adding a void and a massive amount of reactivity was added. The reactor probably exploded before any of the neutron absorbing parts of the control rods were inserted.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @11:59AM (#42117725)

    The fact this blew up in 1986 and it's still being sorted in 2012 tells you how dangerous it is. -

    Wrong - all it tells you is how incompetent the original Soviet government was. If it had been dealt with from the beginning correctly it never would have happened (multiple safety features were disabled that would have prevented it to begin with).

    More to the point if they had correctly cleaned it up to begin with they wouldn't have this mess today. The Soviet Union and their vassal states had a deplorable environmental record. Leaving the environment trashed was status quo for them far more than it ever was for the West. A quick google search will find many, many examples of this that have nothing to do with nuclear. The only reason you ever heard about this instead of all of the others is because of the nuclear element.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:10PM (#42120669) Homepage

    I'm impressed. That structure was proposed over 20 years ago, but the USSR didn't build it and Ukraine couldn't afford it. Navarco, from France, is building it now, and the European Union is putting up most of the money.

    It's badly needed. The containment structure the USSR quickly put up (using 500,000 people in shifts) after the disaster is in bad shape. With protective gear, people can go inside for short periods, and they can see daylight.

    Only 47 people were killed directly. Maybe 4000 to 9000 had their lives shortened by radiation exposure.

    "We could deal with the cancer problem after a nuclear war by failing to rebuild the tobacco industry."

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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