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Chernobyl

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In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7366338/episodes?season=1&ref_=tt_eps_sn_1

An HBO miniseries (5 episodes)

Based on actual events

I have seen the first 2 episodes and I feel hooked. It's grim and captivating at the same time. All I can think of, after each episode, is how easy it is for such a disaster to occur. All that devastation left afterwards ...

Give it a try.

Trailer

 

Edited by ish

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Thanks for sharing, will definitely look into it.

One of my first childhood memories is that the playground near the house of my parents was closed shortly after the disaster, which I could not grasp as a child. Everything looked normal though everyone was concerned. The government had ordered public places to be closed temporarily due to increased radiation levels after the fallout over central Europe.

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Yes, I remember the event well. In Finland, there were lots of measures taken, because of the fallout and people were really afraid what might happen. 

And from the information I could gather, something like this actually happened. Chief engineer Nikolai Fomin actually ordered engineer Anatoly Sitnikov to go to the roof of the reactor building, to check out what was going on. Sitnikov was a nuclear engineer and core of the reactor was exposed. Must have been horrible, since Sitnikov must have known the outcome. 

The two first episodes have been very good so far, Stellan Skarskård and Jared Harris are very good at their roles as Boris Shcerbina and Valery Legasov, who are trying their best to minimize the damage caused by a horrible event. 

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The best sources for what really happened are the documentaries I am putting here. Please know that HBO is making use of "artistic license" in many ways. The first is a documentary featuring one of the men who was there, almost from moment one. The third was made by the BBC. The first is best for what happened at the time. The second is the most comprehensive about what happened that night. The fourth is about the aftermath of the catastrophe, it include interviews with many of the key players in the event and aftermath who were still alive at the time it was made including scientists and politicians. Though it is the longest of the 3 it is the most detailed starting from the original construction and continuing up to 2011 when it was made. This is the site run by former residents http://pripyat.com/ *NOTE* there is a drop down bar to change the language the default is Russian.

 

 

 

Edited by jaicne
Added link to former residents site; 2nd video; and fixed spelling errors

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16 hours ago, ish said:

^ Thanks

You're welcome. The HBO series is really great viewing and I too am enjoying it. Just had noticed some things that were not quite right and wanted to share.

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The podcasts are also interesting. The writer of the series explains some details, some decisions not to include certain information, or viceversa - to alter/reimagine it.

Podcasts are also on Youtube and other apps (like Hbo Go).

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22 hours ago, ish said:

The podcasts are also interesting. The writer of the series explains some details, some decisions not to include certain information, or viceversa - to alter/reimagine it.

Podcasts are also on Youtube and other apps (like Hbo Go).

Oh thanks for the heads-up l have to check them out.

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A very good series, indeed. Though some bits might be a bit "dramatized", but all in all a very solid series. I also have to give credit for the music by Hildur Gudnadottir. A very creepy ambient-type soundtrack, which is kind of like listening to the sound radiation would make. 

 

Band of Brothers just had a serious competitor for the best HBO-series of all time, IMHO.

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19 hours ago, Harvest said:

Band of Brothers just had a serious competitor for the best HBO-series of all time, IMHO.

Not for as long as there is memory of Deadwood. 

I am gonna watch Chernobyl over the weekend. 

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5 minutes ago, Baki said:

Not for as long as there is memory of Deadwood. 

I am gonna watch Chernobyl over the weekend. 

Or Rome. And yes, Deadwood was also a great series.

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I thought 'Deadwood' was quite average, but there you go.........opinions.

 

@Harvest

Watched 'Band of Brothers' (yes, all of it) again about 3 weeks ago. Still enjoy/appreciate/rate it so much after many re-watches.

 

I think I 've seen too many documentaries of all kinds about Chernobyl to really want to see this one. Am a bit nuclear disaster tired so to say. The outcome will always be the same.......depending on the backgrounds of the makers there will be cover ups, the same imbeciles are never getting persecuted, blatant lies and all that.  We were told not to eat ANY of our vegetables from our garden in 1986. Unfortunately nuclear disasters will not stop at borders of the country who causes it! We've got dodgy Belgian nuclear centres at our borders. Why do they always build such dangerous structures at the borders and never in the centre of a country?

Still there are enough people who pursue nuclear energy and never answer the question what you need to do with the nuclear waste.......dump it in sea, put it in kilometers deep caves, etc. etc. It's simple: there is not ONE SINGLE GOOD SOLUTION for it. But accidents will always happen. It's frightening!! Sorry for going all political about it. 

It's not like Chernobyl was the first disaster or will be the last one........Three Mile Island - Fukushima - Kyshtym - Blayais - Church Rock - Tokaimura - Windscale Fire - SL 1 Accident - Lucens reactor and all the rest. Not to mention all the nuclear submarine disasters and all cover ups (who knows really what happens in China and Russia for example?), which never were publicised.   

I always feel so frustrated and angry watching these nuclear documentaries/series, so I'd better not watch it!:dwarf: 

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55 minutes ago, hunebedbouwer said:

Still there are enough people who pursue nuclear energy and never answer the question what you need to do with the nuclear waste.......dump it in sea, put it in kilometers deep caves, etc. etc. It's simple: there is not ONE SINGLE GOOD SOLUTION for it. But accidents will always happen. It's frightening!! Sorry for going all political about it. 

It's not like Chernobyl was the first disaster or will be the last one........Three Mile Island - Fukushima - Kyshtym - Blayais - Church Rock - Tokaimura - Windscale Fire - SL 1 Accident - Lucens reactor and all the rest. Not to mention all the nuclear submarine disasters and all cover ups (who knows really what happens in China and Russia for example?), which never were publicised. 

Amen to that. I recommend anyone who praises nuclear energy the chilling experience of a fallout, if only remotely.

Btw, I love Finland for all the great music it gives us but building another reactor is an act of national folly (sorry Finns for being blunt here).

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10 hours ago, hunebedbouwer said:

Why do they always build such dangerous structures at the borders and never in the centre of a country?

Actually, that is precisely the reason - to minimise the effect of the potential catastrophe on domestic population, and "export" it to neighbouring countries. 

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14 hours ago, Spectre said:

Btw, I love Finland for all the great music it gives us but building another reactor is an act of national folly (sorry Finns for being blunt here).

In the case you mean the soon-to-be-introduced fifth reactor, it will be absolutely necessary, if we even tried to fulfill our government's strict goal for carbon neutrality. Secondly, the old four reactors need to be shut down at some point in the near future anyway.

I remember having seen a Finnish documentary where the engineers who were responsible for the construction of the first of our nuclear power plants visited the USSR in the early 1970's to learn how they operated their plants. From right the beginning it became clear that the way the Soviets did it was actually a good lesson on how not to do it. On the other hand the Soviet engineers chuckled about the Finnish safety-centred approach. They also wondered how the Soviets were able to build so complex structures with so rudimentary tools and instruments. The Soviet Union was a fairly closed country, so how poor it really was came to them at least as a little surprise because the propaganda they spread was totally different.

 

4 hours ago, Baki said:
15 hours ago, hunebedbouwer said:

Why do they always build such dangerous structures at the borders and never in the centre of a country?

Actually, that is precisely the reason - to minimise the effect of the potential catastrophe on domestic population, and "export" it to neighbouring countries.  

Virtually all commercially operated nuclear power plants use water as coolant, so they need big cold water reservoirs. This constraint is usually met by constructing the plant near a coastline or big river. Coincidentally, coastlines and big rivers often mark the borders of the countries (for different reasons, maybe).

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1 hour ago, whitenoise said:

In the case you mean the soon-to-be-introduced fifth reactor, it will be absolutely necessary, if we even tried to fulfill our government's strict goal for carbon neutrality. Secondly, the old four reactors need to be shut down at some point in the near future anyway.

That's just a fact that needs to be considered. Not that I am in any way against renewable energy sources, but wind and solar still have their limitations. Especially in countries like Finland, where the sun won't come up in months and most of the spikes in energy consumption are during the coldest winter days. Which sadly have a couple of things in common, usually there's no sunshine and there's no wind. Battery technology, as far as I know, isn't really even near to cover this gap. We need CO2-free 24/7/52 energy. 

There is also hope that the latest types of reactors would reduce nuclear waste, there are talks about small reactors placed alongside wind- and solar farms to moderate those spikes solar and wind makes and so on. 

But of course, safety should always come first. Nobody needs another catastrophe like Chernobyl was. 

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1 hour ago, whitenoise said:

Virtually all commercially operated nuclear power plants use water as coolant, so they need big cold water reservoirs. This constraint is usually met by constructing the plant near a coastline or big river. Coincidentally, coastlines and big rivers often mark the borders of the countries (for different reasons, maybe).

You are right,, of course, I did not look at it that way. But looking at the map of nuclear plants of Europe, I always had the impression that positioning them close to national borders was intentional. I think also relative seismic stability of the region is taken into consideration.

BTW, I find it funny how back before Chernobyl, nuclear energy was hailed as THE eco-friendly source. Now, the situation is completely the opposite. 

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21 minutes ago, Baki said:

BTW, I find it funny how back before Chernobyl, nuclear energy was hailed as THE eco-friendly source. Now, the situation is completely the opposite. 

As for CO2 emissions, it's sill one of the "cleanest" energy sources. As for nuclear waste, we will have to see if those molten salt reactors are a solution. 

And of course, nuclear power has been a solution for taking care of that nuclear weapon stockpile. 

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I fiercely and totally totally disagree with anybody that claims nuclear energy to be ecology clean, friendly or safe. It´s like a lot of inventions, that the inventers and opportunistic users and earners NEVER seem to care about the horrible comsequences. Nuclear power plants have NEVER been and will NEVER be safe, because it´s all human activity and they always will make mistakes. Depending on the country, it will lead to minor disasters to worldwide deaths and outfall. But it will NEVER stop at any border. 

And then there's the even bigger problem of the nuclear wastage. What the hell to do with it? For heaven's sake, why not deal and invent a way of solving that first, before using it at all. Just common sense, but clearly not for the imbeciles that just push it through whatever the consequences for others and the generations after them!!

All those governments (USA/USSR/France/Great Britain etc.) should be taken to court for annihilating Pacific islands with radio active fall out with their nuclear tests!!! If you want to do it, why not do it in the middle of New York? Nuclear energy has NEVER been the way to go forward to make this world better, no matter which way you look at it!

Coal energy and disasters , as dirty as they might be, will never effect their neighbours. The same goes for most of water (dams) energy. Many will destroy lots of natural and cultural habitats, but a dam in the Ukraine will not effect the environment of Luxemburg and vice versa.  People will NEVER have to be scared for radio active fall out!!!!!!

 

@whitenoise

 Your longer darker winters are ofcourse only a mildly excuse for not using and implying solar energy. You can also venture more on wind energy and by importing energy fromNorway for example.

For me, one of the biggest issues is: to reduce the use of energy at home, at shops, factories etc. Why not get rid off most neon stuff for example? Almost no one needs it, it's a big light polluter everywhere. Why have 3/4/5 tv's at every home? The same with fridges? There are hundreds of common sense solutions to bring back the use of energy big time, but it's a case of LESS, not wanting ever MORE and MORE.

Force working people who live within 10 km from their work (and who are not depending on a car for work) to go by bike or public transport. Some companies in the NL do that already and I'm a big supporter of that. Most of those companies do contribute to purchase those bikes as well! For some important issues you just need to force people to do things instead of giving them choices. Most of them will always chose the easy/lazy option.  

I'm also pretty sure that countries DO place their nuclear power plants at borders to reduce the possible fall out with a disaster. I don't have much confidence in humanity and politicians not to have double standards and motivations in that regard.

 

 @Baki

How's the nuclear situation in the Balkan? Lots of USSR nuclear power plants? At each other's borders? No clue about it really........until you suddenly are confronted with a disaster ofcourse.

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I haven't seen any of Chernobyl, it's something I would like to watch as I'm sure it's fascinating.

Did anyone see the BBC documentary about how they have literally now "covered it up"?  Very interesting....

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08650s6

 

And, if any of you can stomach it, the BBC made a drama series in the '80s called THREADS, about a nuclear war, set in Sheffield England.  It's on Youtube (I think; I watched it on there a few years back, but it seems difficult to find now).  It's not for the faint-hearted....

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@hunebedbouwer Not trying to ruffle feathers and I also haven't seen this documentary.

My understanding is that a manager at Cernobyl overrode safety protocols multiple times and over the objections of the engineers to make this go critical. Yes human stupidity is a real danger.

At Fukushima we saw what the complex was hit with and still I wouldn't call this a true disaster. I'm not claiming there were no consequences but that given the situations these actually speak for the safety of nuclear.

As you lived in a country with fallout conditions I totally get why this makes being objective difficult.

Hydro power is huge in parts of Canada and quite controversial. The size of some reservoirs is completely unreasonable and the environmental and social impacts immediate and very real. cf. British Columbia's Site 'C' project. Then there is decommissioning and remediation years later that we just have to trust will be handled appropriately. Nothing comes free.

I do agree science should be funded to address nuclear waste but far more deaths are directly and indirectly attributable to hydro and coal than to nuclear. It's far from perfect but I do feel it is unfairly demonized.

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@Figment-of-me

Unfairly demonized?

No, my friend, it is not. No excuses whatsoever (and sorry to say, but a lot of North Americans do have a weird worldview on these kind of matters as they think they're at the centre of everything - not meaning you), because you cannot produce something without having an answer for the nuclear waste. That should be at the heart of every major dangerous invention. Not produce the shit and have an attitude : 'okay, let's wait how it turns out!'

 

It's like you are being asked to appear in a nuclear laboratorium, get blindfolded and you have to try something they invented without you knowing what consequences it will have for your health. Good luck with that. I'm sure you will volunteer for that!   

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@hunebedbouwer Understood you don't mean me personally and really I'm not pro-nuclear. But we produce science and engineering without fully understanding the implications all the time. And this isn't to excuse it but is a pragmatic observation. When they sprayed the streets with DDT in North America, Africa, elsewhere? the science suggested this was reasonable. DDT seemed fairly safe - for humans! The consequences for shellfish and birds was not known or anticipated.

Chemists in the 60s thought pesticides and herbicides would allow us to feed the world. Literally. They were the good guys. Today hard to convince anyone that commercial registration of these compounds is (at least in the first world) governed by some serious regulation and that the trials involved are lengthy and costly. Then try to convince people they are safe? And ultimately only long use can really show this to be true.

Sometimes people do wrong through being irresponsible, sometimes guided by the best science and "common sense". Environmental issues are hugely complex, even assuming everyone is acting in good faith. And regrettably common sense sometimes turns out to be wrong.

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@hunebedbouwer 

*DISCLAIMER* I live 5km from the Point Lepreau Nuclear Station in New Brunswick Canada and my Father In Law worked there from construction until he retired 10 years ago.

The issue with most reactors used in the world is that they use enriched uranium. Here in Canada we used Candu 6 reactors that we specifically developed to use raw unrainim. They also unlike most others use a horizontal placement heavy water for cooling. The chance of one going anything like happened at TMI and Chernobyl is less than 1 one hundredth of a percent. The reason is that as the rods heat up they bend thus making space that leads to cooling. Furthermore our rods are not exposed like in other reactors they are in separate bundles. The emengery stop is both manual and automatic, it consists of the safety rods being suspend above the reactor by an electromagnet that in the event of a power failure will drop all on their own. There are also automated safety shut offs that can NOT be overridden, which was done at Chernobyl. 

By using raw uranium we are using a fuel that is no more radioactive than when sitting in the ground. That was one of the features the government DEMANDED when they were being designed. As for the disposal of spent fuel, it is stored in special tanks  water for 6 to 10 years. I could go on but for brevity sake I will put under a spoiler a full detailed explanation of the Candu reactor and its systems.

Spoiler

The reactor

All nuclear power plants in Canada use the CANDU design - a safe, reliable, reactor technology.

CANDU reactors produce electricity through a process known as fission. Fission is the process of splitting atoms of natural uranium inside the reactor, releasing radiation and heat.

The split atoms then continue a “chain reaction”: more atoms continue to be split, resulting in more radiation and heat.

The heat - energy - is harnessed to make steam to power the turbines and generators, which in turn produce electricity.

This image shows the heat from the fission reaction is used to produce electricity.

Used nuclear fuel pool

After the uranium, or nuclear fuel, has been used in the reactor, it is removed and stored securely in a pool for a period of 6 to 10 years.

The water in the pool continues to cool the fuel and provides shielding against radiation.

All of Canada's fuel pools are built in ground, in separate buildings at the nuclear power plant, and are designed to withstand earthquakes.

Fuel pool Fuel pool at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, Kincardine, Ontario

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Controlling the reactor

Normal operation

Controlling the reactor involves increasing, decreasing or stopping the chain reaction happening inside the reactor.

When the reactor is operating, the chain reaction (or power level) is controlled by moving adjuster rods and varying the water level in vertical cylinders.

Sensitive detectors constantly monitor different aspects, like temperature, pressure and the reactor power level.

When necessary, CANDU reactors can safely and automatically shut down within seconds.

Shutdown systems

All nuclear power reactors in Canada have two independent, fast-acting and equally effective shutdown systems.

The first shutdown system is made up of rods that drop automatically and stop the chain reaction if something irregular is detected.

The second system injects a liquid, or poison, inside the reactor to immediately stop the chain reaction.

Both systems work without power or operator intervention. However, they can also be manually activated.

These systems are regularly and safely tested.

Cutaway view of a CANDU reactor showing the poison system and the shutoff rods.

 

Restarting the reactor

Once a CANDU reactor is shut down, it will stay that way until restarted by the operators in the control room.

There is no possibility of the reactor accidentally restarting on its own after it's shut down. The reactor must be manually restarted. This is another important safety feature.

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Cooling the fuel

Decay heat

Following shutdown, the amount of energy produced by the reactor decreases rapidly.

The nuclear fuel will, however, continue to produce some heat and must be cooled.

That heat, called decay heat, represents a small fraction of the heat produced during normal operation.

Fuel bundle CANDU fuel bundle

Main cooling systems

Fuel cooling involves three main systems:

  • the heat transport system
  • the steam system
  • the condenser cooling system

The heat transport system brings the heat produced by the reactor to the steam generators.

This system is made up of very robust pipes, filled with heavy water - a rare type of water found in nature. Pipes and other components are maintained and inspected regularly, and replaced if necessary.

Inspections include measuring pipe wear and tear and identifying any microscopic cracks or changes well before they become a problem.

Quick fact

On average, one out of 7,000 drops of water is heavy water. It is 10% heavier than regular water because it includes a heavy form of hydrogen called deuterium.

Cutaway view from a CANDU nuclear power plant indicating where the heat transport system is located. Heat transport system

The second system, the steam system, uses normal water. The heat from the reactor turns this water into steam to run the turbines and generators.

Cutaway view from a CANDU nuclear power plant indicating where the steam system is located. Steam system

That steam is then cooled and condensed using a third system that pumps in cold water from a body of water such as a lake or reservoir. This is called the condenser cooling system.

Like other components, the steam and condenser cooling systems are regularly inspected.

These inspections take place throughout the life of the nuclear facilities to confirm that aging equipment is functioning as originally designed.

Cutaway view from a CANDU nuclear power plant indicating where the condenser cooling system is located. Condenser cooling system

 

Shutdown cooling system

A simpler cooling system is used when the reactor is shut down for an extended period, for example during a planned outage.

It requires little power to function and is connected directly to the heat transport system. It allows the primary coolant system to be partly drained to perform inspection and maintenance work (e.g., inspection of the steam generator tubes or replacement of pump components).

Multiple power supplies

Cooling systems need electricity to operate. Under normal operation, they get their electricity from the same power grid as the rest of us.

Nuclear power plants in Canada are also equipped with multiple sources of backup power if they get disconnected from the grid.

Sources of backup power include onsite power - that is, the power produced by the plant itself.

In addition, the following are available:

Emergency power generators Emergency power generators
  • two or three standby power generators
  • two or three emergency power generators
  • emergency batteries

Some plants include even more equipment.

You can learn more by watching what would happen in the very unlikely event of a total station blackout – the situation that led to the Fukushima accident following the large tsunami that destroyed all available power sources onsite.

Natural circulation

One of the inherent and proven safety features of CANDU reactors is their ability to cool the reactor through natural circulation.

In CANDU reactors, natural circulation takes over when the pumps that normally push the coolant through the heat transport system stop functioning.

For natural circulation to continue over time, steam generators need to be filled with cool water.

How does it work?

This cooling feature of CANDU reactors works because of the difference in temperature and elevation between the steam generators (cooler and physically higher than the reactor core) and the reactor core (hotter and lower than the steam generators)

Emergency injection systems

Emergency pressurized nitrogen tanks Emergency pressurized nitrogen tanks

In the unlikely event of a loss of heavy water, which could, for example, be caused by a pipe break, the emergency injection system would ensure water continues to circulate over the containers holding the fuel to cool it.

They would do this by working with pressurized tanks of nitrogen or pumps.

A collection basin located in the basement of the reactor building would recover the water and pump it back into the reactor until repairs could be made.

 

Emergency mitigation equipment

Verification of a portable emergency power generator CNSC inspector verifying a portable emergency power generator

As one of the actions mandated by the CNSC following the Fukushima accident, nuclear power plant operators in Canada have been acquiring emergency mitigation equipment, such as portable power generators and pumps, which could be used to bring reactors to a safe shutdown state during a severe accident.

The equipment, located onsite and offsite, is easily transported and could be used in several ways.

For instance, it could be used to stabilize reactors, supply power to the control room and add water to the used nuclear fuel pools so they could continue cooling the used nuclear fuel.

 

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Containing radiation

Containment layers

Nuclear reactors are built with multiple barriers to safely contain radiation.

At the heart of all CANDU reactors are hardened ceramic pellets made of natural uranium.

These pellets contain the radiation. They form the first layer of containment.

The pellets are enclosed in rods, which form the second layer of containment. CANDU fuel rods are made of zircaloy, a metal alloy extremely resistant to heat and corrosion.

The rods are then loaded into pressure tubes, which are part of the heat transport system. This is the third layer of containment.

The pressure tubes are contained inside a metal tank called the calandria, which itself is contained inside a thick vault made of reinforced concrete.

The image shows different layers of radiation containment, which include the fuel pellet, fuel rod and pressure tube.

The fourth layer of containment is the building that houses and protects the reactor.

The walls of the reactor building are made of at least one metre of reinforced concrete.

The reactor building is surrounded by an exclusion (buffer) zone.

Minimizing radiation releases

During normal operation, nuclear power plants release very small amounts of radiation into the air and water.

These releases come from the reactor and its system and from waste management activities.

In order to reduce airborne releases, highly efficient filters and radiation monitors are installed as part of the ventilation systems.

Filters remove over 99% of the radiation from the air before it is released to the environment.

Similar systems are also installed to remove radioactivity from waterborne releases.

Verification of radiation levels CNSC inspector verifying radiation levels

These releases usually come from wash water used to clean surfaces, floors and laundry, as well as from water draining from showers and sinks.

All radiation releases from nuclear facilities in Canada are very small. They are monitored and controlled by the plant operator, and reported to the CNSC.

The release levels are well below regulatory limits and do not pose any risk to the health and safety of persons or the environment.

Filtering systems are regularly inspected and power plant operators must, by law, report all radioactive releases into the environment.

Protecting containment in case of an accident

Safety systems are in place so that, in case of an accident, they can protect the containment from internal pressure due to steam releases inside the reactor building.

In a single-unit station, internal pressure would be lowered by spraying water from a dousing tank.

Cutaway view of the reactor building of a single CANDU unit, indication the location of the dousing tank, steam generators, the reactor and the collection basin. Cutaway view of CANDU single unit reactor building

In a multi-unit station, pressure would be lowered by releasing steam and hot gases from the reactor building to the vacuum building.

The vacuum building is a structure specifically designed to quickly and safely lower pressure inside the reactor building. This building also has a dousing system to control pressure.

The vacuum and dousing systems work without power and are tested periodically under the supervision of CNSC inspectors.

Multi-unit reactor building Cutaway view of a CANDU multi-unit nuclear power plant
 Multi-unit nuclear power plant text version.

Hydrogen management

Inspection of passive autocatalytic recombiner CNSC inspector taking a first-hand look at a newly installed passive autocatalytic recombiner.

Hydrogen gas can be produced during a severe accident. Hydrogen gas, which is flammable, could cause an explosion and damage the containment, as well as to personnel and other parts of the plant.

To deal with the potential hazards of hydrogen gas, most CANDU plants are equipped with hydrogen igniters or burners.

Recently, nuclear power plant operators have begun installing passive autocatalytic recombiners.

These are devices which passively (without need for external power) remove hydrogen from the containment and effectively reduce the risk of an explosion or fire.

Please do not judge all countries with Nuclear Energy the same, some have been doing just the disposal research you spoke of and have found ways to minimize the risks to a level that is no more than found in nature. If done right it can be safe. The problem is safe and right are expensive and well let's face it governments usually want the cheapest. 

Hate ne, dislike me all you want but I will continue to promote safe usage and for other countrie to switch to the type of system we use.

**********

Yes all reactors NEED to be next to a body of water for cooling purposes, regular water is effective for that purpose.

As for chernobyl yes the lead scientist demanded they run the test at a lvl 500 units lower than the minimum safe operating lvl. That was a HUGE factor in the subsequent catastrophe.

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16 hours ago, hunebedbouwer said:

How's the nuclear situation in the Balkan? Lots of USSR nuclear power plants? At each other's borders? No clue about it really........until you suddenly are confronted with a disaster ofcourse.

Don´t know what you mean, there are no USSR nuclear plants here, all were built by domestic authorities. 

There is actually one just 30 km from where I live, just across Slovenian border, constructed during Yugoslav times (nowadays operated jointly by Croatia and Slovenia). As far as I know, it is functioning just fine, and actually contributes to a large chunk of electrical production for both countries. 

As for the rest of Balkans, I know there are plants in Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, all located close  to their borders, but no idea how updated or safe they are, I would assume they are fine for the time being. 

Without going pro-nuclear, but much bigger problem for the environment here are coal plants that still operate in the part of the region that is not yet in EU. These countries produce more pollution through coal than all EU combined, and there is one coal plant in Bosnia that pollutes more than all plants in Germany combined! And just like radiation, air pollution does not know state borders, so you can imagine how dangerous all of this is. Of course, I am against building new nuclear plants to remedy this problem, but I´d say these coal plants are right now much bigger problem than a couple of still well functioning nuclears. 

BTW, watched first two episodes last night, the series is fantastic! 

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