Radioactive activity at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine has resumed years later. While experts said the mobility was continuing to increase, they could not offer a solution to the situation but said it was almost impossible to implement a possible plan because of the high risk of accidents.
When the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine caught fire 35 years ago, it caused the world’s worst nuclear accident, and the fallout spread across Northern Ireland, Britain, and the Black Sea. Desperate Soviet authorities covered the dilapidated reactor with a thick concrete sarcophagus to prevent the spread of more radioactive contamination from the wreckage of the plant’s reactor 4.
In 2010, a second shield was built around the reactor to prevent a deadly leak. Now, the movement of nuclear reactions inside the protective shield has resumed, according to Milliyet. It is not yet known how to deal with this unexpected problem.
Neil Hyatt, a nuclear materials chemist at the University of Sheffield, said the fire had restarted “like embers in a barbecue pit.” A closed chamber deep inside the reactor reveals a small but ever-increasing flow of neutrons, an indication that nuclear fission is occurring in the reactor.
One of the most important problems for scientists trying to control radioactive pollution is rainwater. During severe storms, water enters the shield, causing deadly radioactivity to seep into groundwater.
The Ukrainian authorities have no clear plan for how to prevent a new meltdown. There’s a longstanding plan to remove the reactor’s fuel cells, FCMs, and store them underground. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has offered to fund this complex and dangerous procedure, but as long as the fire’s “embers” continue to heat up, the operation remains on hold.
Maxim Saveliev of Ukraine’s Institute for Nuclear Power Plants Safety Issues told Science magazine that it would be dangerous to try to dismantle the closed reactor to determine exactly what happened. “There is a lot of uncertainty, but we cannot rule out the possibility of an [one] accident,” Saveliev said.
Worst of all, scientists are still not entirely sure why the nuclear reaction has restarted. “It is not yet clear what the mechanism might be,” Hyatt said.