More than 35 years have passed but the Chernobyl nuclear power plant remains a latent threat to the region and the environment. The radioactive remains continue to heat up, which could provoke a new reaction.
With the construction of the new containment platform it seemed that the Chernobyl problem was solved, nothing could be further from the truth. More than three decades after the catastrophe, the plant remains a danger, like a dormant volcano waiting for the best moment to erupt.
The ISPNPP, the institution in charge of the central Ukraine, is in charge of monitor neutron levels in the destroyed building of Unit Four, which has recently been protected with a sarcophagus-like structure and is known as the Safe Confinement area. Those neutron levels they have doubled in the last four years.
That unusually high amount implies a possible new fission and comes from an inaccessible room in that Unit Four. “The situation is cause for concern but not alarm, although if the rate of neutron production continues to increase, intervention may be required.r “has explained Neil hyatt, Member of the UK Radioactive Waste Management Committee.
Despite all the time that has passed, in That Unit Four still contains tons of this semi-liquid nuclear material. In 1986, when part of the reactor core melted, the uranium fuel rods, their zirconium cladding, the graphite control rods, and the sand that was poured into the core melted into lava that flowed through the core until end up hardening.
All that stuff still there with more than 90% of the original fuelHence the need to enclose under a vault (the NSC) that protects the exterior of this still highly radioactive nucleus. Boston Dynamics robot dogs have even been used to guard the area and not employ flesh and blood personnel.
In the worst case, the radiation would get through that new confinement structure and contaminate the surroundings again. In that case the scientists would be forced to pierce the room and spray the material with a gadolinium nitrate solution that absorbs the neutrons and contains the possible reaction.
It is important to remember, after the premiere of the HBO series that chronicled the 1986 disaster, the safest area in the vicinity has been turned into a massive amusement park. With the pandemic, the influx may have decreased, but this increase in neutron levels casts doubt that visiting the area is a safe walk.