For 35 years, that is, since the explosion of the nuclear reactor in ChernobylScientists are taking measurements under the Safety Dome. According to New Scientist, they recently observed a sharp increase in nuclear reactions in the inaccessible room of the destroyed complex. They are now investigating whether the problem will stabilize or require dangerous and difficult intervention.
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The suspected sub-reactor 305/2 may be at fault. It is likely that one of his rooms is filled with radioactive material. It has not been available since the disaster.
One suggestion as to why this is that the new structure that was placed on top of a rickety reactor in 2016 is causing the power plant to dry up. As the New Scientist writes, when uranium or plutonium fuel decays radioactively, it emits neutrons that can enhance the fission reaction. Large amounts of water slow down this process.
“We’re talking about very low fission rates, so it’s not a nuclear reactor that’s making a sound,” says Neil Hiatt of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. “Our estimate of the amount of fissile material in this room means that we can be sure that there will be no release of nuclear energy so violently that it will explode. But we do not know for sure.”
Hayat says the situation is “a cause for concern, but it is not an emergency.” If the situation worsens, then intervention will be necessary. It might involve drilling into the chamber and pumping out, for example, gadolinium nitrate, which absorbs excess neutrons and dampens the reaction.
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Source: New Scientist
Date created: May 14, 2021, 08:48