The reactors of the same type that caused the Chernobyl disaster are still in operation, though improved in quality and safety.
April 26, 1986, an atomic power plant in Ukraine exploded, creating the most serious atomic disaster in human history. The accident, known as the "Chernobyl catastrophe" , has now become an inspiration for the hugely popular name miniseries produced by HBO.
The accident has many mysteries not yet clarified. But on that day, the core of a reactor near the city of Pripyat exploded, pushing a huge column of radioactive fuel into the air.
Within 3 months, more than 30 people died from acute radioactivity. Today, scientists estimate that tens and even hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering long-term consequences from this disaster.
The reactor that caused the explosion was a high-capacity type of RBMK , which was changed many times by the Russians to solve the problems that caused serious consequences. Many of the original details of the RBMK kiln were removed today to reduce costs.
The representative of HBO said that the purpose of recreating this topic is to prevent accidents similar to the Chernobyl disaster. However, according to the World Nuclear Association, it is a story that is easy to say, starting to make many new problems.
According to the association, there are still 10 reactors belonging to the RBMK category in Russia, of which one has stopped operating in Saint Petersburg in 2018. Four are located in the city of Kursk in Western Russia. Other 3 kilns in Saint Petersburg - 5 million inhabitants, and 3 in Smolensk (5 hours away from Moscow).
Only one kiln in Smolensk still has a license to operate until 2050. All remaining units, licenses will expire between 2021-2031.
As stated, the Russians changed the RBMK design to address dangerous errors, such as changing the control bar material and transferring uranium fuel to a lower enrichment type. However, worry about that child.
"There are fundamentals in design that can't be changed no matter how much effort is made," said Edwin Lyman, UCS's director of nuclear safety projects (Committee of Concerned Scientists).
"It is difficult to say that we are able to raise the safety of the RBMK furnace to above the standard, especially when compared to today's light water reactors."
A light water reactor is a type of furnace that uses water as a refrigerant and regulates radioactive fuel. RBMK uses graphite plates to slow down the reaction of neutrons in the process of generating electricity. But the use of graphite caused so-called "positive hollow living systems ", causing the reactor to become unstable when operating at low energy levels.
A RBMK reactor is capable of operating for 30 years, but it seems that the authorities are trying to extend that deadline. In 2015, half of these reactors operate on renewed licenses.
However, Russian scientists argue that they have upgraded these plants to achieve international safety standards. They are currently responsible for 19% of national electricity production, and are likely to reach 80% by the end of the century.