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What a Power Cutoff Could Mean for Chernobyl’s Nuclear Waste.

What a Power Cutoff Could Mean for Chernobyl’s Nuclear Waste. With no
working reactors, there is no risk of a meltdown. But the ruins from the
1986 disaster still pose considerable dangers.

The plant’s remaining
three reactors were eventually shut down, the last in 2000. The nuclear
fuel has been removed from all of them, and the turbines and other
equipment that generated power have mostly been removed. With no operating
reactors at the plant, there is no risk of a core meltdown as there would
be if an operating plant lost power and could no longer circulate water
through the reactor. This is what happened at the Fukushima reactors in
Japan in 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami wiped out backup power
systems.

But Chernobyl carries some other risks related to the large amount
of nuclear waste on site. If the water in storage tanks got so hot it
boiled off, the fuel would be exposed to the air and could catch fire.

That, too, was among the risks in the Fukushima disaster. The I.A.E.A. has
said that the used fuel assemblies at Chernobyl are old enough and have
decayed enough that circulating pumps are not needed to keep them safe.
“The heat load of the spent fuel storage pool and the volume of cooling
water contained in the pool is sufficient to maintain effective heat
removal without the need for electrical supply,” the agency said. New York Times 9th March 2022https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/09/climate/chernobyl-nuclear-waste-power-outage.html

March 12, 2022 - Posted by | safety, wastes

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