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World Chernobyl's nuclear fuel is smoldering again and there's a 'possibility' of another accident, scientists say

19:10  16 may  2021
19:10  16 may  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

Debate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next?

  Debate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Since Russia, China and North Korea favor and fear ICBMs, is it wise to eliminate the best U.S. nuclear deterrent? Isn't abolishing ICBMs more dangerous than modernizing U.S. missiles that helped keep nuclear peace for 60 years?If U.S. ICBMs are eliminated, potential adversaries no longer have to achieve a coordinated, accurate, disarming nuclear first strike against 400 hardened ICBM silos. Isn't greatly simplifying adversary capabilities to execute a surprise attack riskier than modernizing U.S. ICBMs designed to deter surprise attack?If U.S ICBMs are eliminated, Russia, China or North Korea could destroy all U.S.

a man standing in front of a building: Workers walk past the covered exploded reactor inside a shelter construction at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 15, 2021. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky © AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky Workers walk past the covered exploded reactor inside a shelter construction at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 15, 2021. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
  • Nuclear reactions are smoldering again in an inaccessible basement at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
  • It's a "possibility" that another nuclear accident could take place, a researcher told Science magazine.
  • Any potential explosion, however, would likely be less catastrophic than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Nuclear reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses deep inside an unreachable basement room of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, LiveScience reported.

Spikes in Radioactivity at Chernobyl Prompt Fears of Future Accident

  Spikes in Radioactivity at Chernobyl Prompt Fears of Future Accident There are concerns an increase in nuclear activity could damage the old container built to house the power station.The nuclear plant, located in northern Ukraine, was the site of the world's worst-ever nuclear accident in 1986 when a runaway nuclear reaction partially destroyed a reactor unit.

A rising number of neutrons can signal new fission reactions. Researchers at the catastrophic 1986 explosion site have recently detected a steady spike in neutron numbers in an underground room called 305/2, LiveScience said.

The radioactive waste is smoldering "like the embers in a barbecue pit," Neil Hyatt, a professor of nuclear materials science and engineering at the University of Sheffield, told Science magazine.

And it's possible, according to scientists, that the embers could fully ignite and result in another explosion. "There are many uncertainties," Maxim Saveliev, a senior researcher with the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, told Science. "But we can't rule out the possibility of [an] accident."

Nuclear Fission Reactions Are Happening at Chernobyl Again

  Nuclear Fission Reactions Are Happening at Chernobyl Again Scientists are scrambling to neutralize the threat.Ukrainian scientists recently realized that leftover nuclear fission fuel made of uranium has begun reacting again in an“inaccessible room” deep within a damaged area of the shuttered plant. The telltale sign is increased readings of neutron activity—a measurable byproduct of nuclear fission, according to the scientists from Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, who held discussions about dismantling the reactor last month, according to Science magazine.

Read more: New York is about to spew a lot more carbon into the air, thanks to Andrew Cuomo and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s anti-nuclear crusade

A potential explosion is unlikely to be as deadly as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that killed around 50 people and resulted in thousands of radiation-related deaths. A $1.8bn protective confinement shelter, the New Safe Confinement (NCS), was built in 2019 to prevent the release of radioactive contamination.

The shelter was also expected to keep neutron counts low, Science magazine said. While this has worked in most areas covered by the NCS, Room 305/2 has seen neutron levels rising for four consecutive years. This could continue for several more years without causing an accident and it might eventually resolve itself, Saveliev said.

But scientists will have to step in if the numbers continue to spike, Saveliev warned.

Ukraine hopes to present a detailed plan for doing this and work towards removing Chernobyl's nuclear waste by September, Science reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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usr: 3
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