The Task

Groups working on this task are reminded that they must first offer an abstract or summary to introduce / induct the reader to the event before offering their answers to the questions.


1. What exactly happened on that fatal day? What led to this disaster?

2. What lessons can be learned from the Chernobyl disaster?

3. What can mankind do to prevent the repeat of Chernobyl?

Lessons Learned

Lessons for the use of nuclear power in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
After the nuclear accident, Belarus halted all plans for nuclear power stations of its own. This moratorium is still officially in place. In the first few years following the accident, broad swathes of the Ukrainian public were critical of any further expansion of nuclear power. In 1990 a moratorium was therefore declared, which put further construction and extension plans temporarily on hold. This moratorium was, however, lifted two years later, because of the energy crisis and the dependence on fossil fuels, which had to be imported using expensive foreign currency.

Lessons for the international nuclear power sector.
The accident had a disastrous impact on life, health and the environment in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia and prompted fear and concerns in other nations of the world about the effects of radiation. The disaster rekindled the international debate on the controllability, benefits and costs of nuclear power. In the West, because of tightened safety requirements, and the increased costs of plant insurance and transport and storage of radioactive waste, new plants had previously been considered unprofitable. From 2002, the European Union's Euratom Framework Programme will no longer include research funding for the development of new nuclear reactors. Investments are only to be made in new strategies to improve the safety of existing plants, and in research on disposal.

Lessons for reactor safety and disaster management.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster dramatically demonstrated to the countries concerned that they had not been prepared for an accident on this scale. But it also led to a review of reactor safety and emergency planning for plants in both East and West.
In 1990 only 70 inspectors, trained in the West, were available to oversee nuclear power stations in the whole country. Six years later the number had increased fivefold.
In all former Eastern Bloc countries, a new awareness of safety arose in response to the Chernobyl disaster. Quality assurance programmes at nuclear plants impose more stringent requirements on technical installations and maintenance, as well as on staff training and information. However, critics continue to point to problems such as reactor design, frequently defective construction materials from the Socialist past and operating constraints due to inadequate funding.
In the countries of the West, too, tighter regulations were introduced for the operators of nuclear power stations after the Chernobyl accident. For example, the German Nuclear Safety Commission (RSK) carried out checks at all plants. So-called catalytic recombiners were installed so as to ensure that, in the event of a reactor accident, the hydrogen released would combine with oxygen to form water, thereby preventing an explosion.
According to the IAEA, the Chernobyl accident not only stimulated nuclear safety research ; the management of major accidents at nuclear power stations was also rethought. The first lesson drawn from Chernobyl was that emergency plans must assign responsibilities clearly and provide for measures such as the rapid distribution of iodine tablets without delay - and across national frontiers. The second lesson drawn was the need for well-equipped rescue teams and well-trained staff to be on standby at all times to ensure rapid measurement of radiation around a nuclear power station.
The importance of rapid communication beyond frontiers led, after Chernobyl, to improvements in the international early-warning system for nuclear accidents. Another important lesson for the IAEA is the need for flexible contingency plans: every accident is unique.

Lessons for research
Especially in Belarus, the country that was most severely affected, the Chernobyl disaster called for Herculean efforts in the area of research.
After the accident - and even more so after the CIS states declared their independence in the early 1990s - Time was short in all three affected countries. The researchers had to produce results that would provide the basis for rapid political decisions on limit values and resettlements. Their work took them into new territory: the Chernobyl disaster was without precedent. They also had to contend with the problem that in some cases data had not been systematically recorded in the first weeks and months after the disaster. One example is the patchy documentation of the radiation levels to which liquidators were exposed at the reactor complex.
In parallel with international aid for the victims of the disaster, international research cooperation with the three affected countries also got underway. The collaborations that developed can be divided into two broad categories: research projects that are closely linked to aid projects for the people in the contaminated territories, and scientific research concerned primarily with long-term observations of the impact of radiation on humans, animals and plants.

Posted by Sherman

What lessons can be learnt from the Chernobyl disaster?

The Chernobyl disaster has been caused by mainly the incompetence of the workers and officers on duty in the plant on April 26, 1986.

The failure to notice that the control rod inserted into the reactor has reacted inversely and instead of decreasing the power it has increases the power of the plant and caused the explosion. The explosion happened as the officers are unable to notice the mistake and thus, no action was taken. Officers are also inexperienced with large power plants like that of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. An inexperienced officer when tasked with heavy responsibility will definitely create problems as they do not know what to do in times of danger and also how to respond or check for mistakes. As of the inexperience, the officers are unable to see the counter-intuitive nor do anything about it, sparking the explosion of the plant.

From this explosion, we have learnt that even though an officer may be highly educated, without the neccessary experience, the officer should not be entrusted with this huge task. Furthermore, an experienced officer should be present to guide them along the way over a period of time to ensure that they are more used to operating huge power plants. also, the company should also hire a much more highly skilled personnel to operate as compared those hired to manage the plant such as one which worked only with conventional plants and another whom only worked with small plants before. Such inexperience causes them to be unable to control and manage big plants properly and thus, we learn that proper guidance needs to be ensured as with experience and qualification, as the management committee are not even qualified.

The second problem that leads to the downfall of Chernobyl is because of the partial containment, built in a bid to cut costs, instead of the full containment built for regular plants. This causes 100 and more different types of radioatcive substances to escape into the air and atmosphere which leads to the widespread of radioactivity, causing the whole place to be unsuitable for human, and leading to high death rates and high cancer rates. This tells us that safety is much more important a matter as compared to the cost and capital.

From this, we can thus learn that even if we were to save cost by hiring inexperienced and unqualified staff and also building un-safe plants, the biggest loss will be when the problems arises from the infrastructure, where the cost saved will not even be enough to cover up for the disaster.

Thus, in conclusion, one should not cut costs on the neccessary and instead, spend on the safety of the plant, in prevention of another such accident.

by: lianghao [pls help update]

What mankind can do to prevent the repeat of Chernobyl!

The Chernobyl disaster was a major accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant situated in Ukraine, Russia on April 26, 1986 at 01:23 a.m., consisting of an explosion at the plant and subsequent radioactive contamination of the surrounding geographic area.

Two causes leading to the Chernobyl disaster are the flaws in the RBMK reactor( reaktor bolshoy moshchnosti kanalniy, meaning reactor (of) high power (of the) channel (type)) design and plant's management was largely composed of non-RBMK-qualified personnel: the director, V.P. Bryukhanov, had experience and training in a coal-fired power plant. His chief engineer, Nikolai Fomin, also came from a conventional power plant. Dyatlov, deputy chief engineer of reactors 3 and 4, had only "some experience with small nuclear reactors", namely smaller versions of the VVER nuclear reactors that were designed for the Soviet Navy's nuclear submarines.

The main flaw is the control rod which is inserted in the reactor to slow down the reaction. In the RBMK reactor, the control rod increased the reactor power output instead of reducing it as desired. This behavior is counter-intuitive and was not known to the reactor operators.

To reduce costs, and because of its large size, the reactor had been constructed with only partial containment. This allowed the radioactive contaminants to escape into the atmosphere after the steam explosion burst the primary pressure vessel.

From the causes of the Chernobyl accident listed above, we can see that to prevent the repeat of Chernobyl accident we should have stricter safety checks and have people with understanding and knowledge of the machine to work in the Plant. Also, safety above all else.

[information taken from]