Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, Our meeting is devoted to the 30-th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster. The accident occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, when operators of this plant ran a test on an electronic control system of the fourth reactor.
The accident happened because of combination of basic engineering deficiencies in the reactor and faulty actions of the operators:
the safety systems had been switched off;
the reactor was being operated under improper, unstable conditions;
a situation which allowed an uncontrollable power surge to occur.
This led to a series of explosions, that severely damaged the reactor building, then completely destroyed the reactor and caused the release of 60 ton of radioactive materials over a ten-day period into the environment and a radioactive cloud spreading over much of Europe. As result, the greatest contamination occurred around the reactor in areas that are now part of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
The area closest to the reactor site was most heavily contaminated and the 116.000 people who lived there were evacuated soon after the accident.
At present, more than 5 million people live in areas that are considered to be «contaminated» with radioactive materials from the Chernobyl accident.
Since the accident, some 600.000 people have been involved in emergency, containment, cleaning and recovery operations.
Those who received the highest doses of radiation were the emergency workers and personnel that were onsite during the first days of the accident (approximately 100 people).
31 highly exposed reactor staff and emergency workers died from radiation and thermal burns within 4 months of the accident.
Officials believe the accident also was responsible for nearly 7.000 cases of thyroid cancer among individuals who were under 18 years of age at the time of the accident.
A massive metal structure, a shelter was constructed in order to halt the release of radiation into the atmosphere following the Chornobyl disaster.
It was also established the «Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone». This zone covered the areas worst affected by radioactive contamination, designated for evacuation and placed under special control.
The effects of radioactive contamination in Ukraine have steadily decreased over the 30 years since the Chernobyl accident. This is due to the natural decay of radionuclides, measures taken to limit exposure to radioactivity and to the creation of safe living environments within the contaminated territories.
But even today radioactive contamination within the Exclusion Zone affects every aspect of the environment.
Due to the redistribution and migration of radioactive nuclides, new secondary sources of contamination are emerging and their impact on the environment beyond the Exclusion Zone is difficult to predict.
The Exclusion Zone will continue to be contaminated for many years. This represents a potential danger to people living within, or close to, the Exclusion Zone.
In 2007 upon completion of an open international tender, with Consortium «Novarka» was signed a contract for design, construction and commissioning of New Safe Confinement.
New Safe Confinement as a multipurpose complex with 100-year service life will enable in the future to dismantle the unstable structures of the existent shelter, to remove fuel containing materials, to provide their conditioning for further safe storage.
In 2010 the Ukrainian Government adopted National Program of Chernobyl NPP Decommission and The Shelter Transformation into Environmentally Safe System. According to this program 2065 is determined as a year of final dismantling of reactor facilities.
In conclusion, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact, that use of nuclear energy looks like walking on the razor’s edge.
On the one hand, it is an attractive prospect, and on the other hand – one wrong step and disaster is inevitable (guaranteed).
If you play with fire, sooner or later you get burned.
The Chernobyl accident showed how such an event could have world-wide implications. We should be aware of extremely dangerous nature of the nuclear power.
Thank you for attention!