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12.12.2001

Berliner Zeitung: Official data on the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe were falsified

   

Dear readers!

We publish here an interesting material sent to us by Vadim Goncharuk ("InterEco", Vinnitsa).

Fifteen years after the Chernobyl catastrophe we even cannot estimate how much nuclear fuel (and, correspondingly, accumulated decay products) flew away from the 4th reactor and how much remained on the spot. The estimates do not agree: maybe almost all flew away and maybe almost all remained.

The former point of view became publicly known only recently. I heard it long ago from well-information people. They asserted that the measurements in the reactor indicate that it is practically empty. I am not an expert in this branch, but combining what I read and what I heard, I created for myself such a picture.

Most of the fuel flew away during the second explosion of the reactor in the small hours of 26 April 1986. The first explosion happened because, as a result of construction drawbacks and the personnel errors, the reactor for a short time passed to the supercritical state. The chain reaction generated too much heat in a moment. Although this quantity was too small to create the "fire ball" typical of a nuclear explosion, it sufficed to destroy many boxes, instantaneous boiling of water in tubes and their burst.

The reaction of vapor with the burning hot metal caused the creation of the large quantities of hydrogen, which combined with oxygen into a detonating mixture. It caused the second explosion. The explosion was so powerful that it annihilated the entire upper structure of the reactor, destroyed the walls and roof of the 4th block. The explosion threw outward the rector bowels – boxes with nuclear fuel and accumulated radioactive decay products, pieces of boxes, graphite blocks from the inner walls. All that was scattered tens of meters around the reactor, in particular on the roofs of the 3rd and 4th blocks. Later these roofs were scratched off by soldiers, who were appointed to be bio-robots by top and intermediate communist party bosses.

Later the reactor was burning for more than a week, and dumping from helicopters did not change the situation much.

The blast-furnace process was actually occurring in the reactor. The difference was that graphite served as coke and uranium dioxide from boxes served as iron ore. The metallic uranium obtained in the process partly flowed down and partly evaporated. Together with other volatile products it was carried away by winds, in particular, in the form of so-called "hot particles".

As a result little nuclear fuel and decay products remained in the reactor. In this manner almost all radioactive staff flew to the environment and what remained is much less than the official version is.

The official point of view, which dominated the late 15 years, asserts the contrary: there was a harm inflicted on the environment, but the most part of the nuclear fuel and decay products remained in the reactor and is very dangerous. Correspondingly during 15 years the attention and financing were focused on the object "Sarcophagus". Researchers, technicians and bureaucrats, who were fed by the version were not interested in refuting such a standpoint.

But, after all, the alternative point of view elbowed its way to the international level. Which of the two versions is nearer to truth can be established by science. Yet, the interested parties will try to impede the research, since the sarcophagus cost and brought millions.

Public cannot fulfil the functions of scientists, but the public attention in this situation may promote the search of the truth.

Along with the question how much fuel remained in the reactor another question is actual: which actually was and is the real damage to the environment and people health. Recently a series of publications devoted to the topic "end of the Chernobyl myths" appeared in the press. The publications were initiated by the UNO report in the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. But that we will discuss elsewhere.

I only want to remark that it is a shame that both in the report and in the publications there are references to international and Russian experts, not to the Ukrainian ones. The reason is not only the insufficient financing of the Ukrainian science. The money obtained by Ukrainian scientists for the Chernobyl set of problems would certainly suffice to prepare answers for some fundamental questions.

Sergiy Fedorynchik, the head of the information center of the Ukrainian Ecological, ssociation "Zeleny svit"


Berliner Zeitung: Official data on the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe were falsified


Russian and Ukrainian experts doubt the expediency of building the second sarcophagus for the protection of the destroy reactor in Chernobyl. In the documentary film devoted to the catastrophe in 1986, which was recently shown by the German TV channel ZDF, experts explained that the official governmental data about the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe were falsified, writes Frank Nordhausen in the German newspaper "Berliner Zeitung" of 4 February.

Besides the data about the fatal consequences of the catastrophe for the population health are somewhat neglected, not only by the Ukrainian side, but also by foreign organizations and authorities.

The Berliner Ministry of environment stated that they regard such opinions as not serious. The Ministry believes that the second sarcophagus is necessary, since almost all nuclear fuel still remains in the first shabby sarcophagus.

"THE REACTOR IS ABSOLUTELY SAFE"

The documentary is based, first of all, on the results of the researches by Konstantin Checherov, a physicist from the famous Kurchatov Moscow atomic institute, who until 1996 was a member of the Russian commission for investigating the cause of the catastrophe at the Chernobyl atomic station and now continues to work in the institute.

K. Checherov stated that in 1986 not only the emission of 3% nuclear fuel from the reactor to the environment, but the explosion happened inside the reactor. In the process about 95% out of 200 tones of uranium and plutonium evaporated.

Since June 1986 K. Checherov attended Chernobyl about one thousand times, the results of his researches are described in more than 100 publications. "The reactor is absolutely safe for the Western Europe", he says, "The second sarcophagus is not needed".

In the documentary shown by the ZDF Vladimir Usatenko, a consultant of the Ukrainian government in the Chernobyl problem, called the Western aid for building the second sarcophagus a "cash dispenser ": only a small proportion of the finances are used properly. He told that during the period until 1995 Europe gave out for this purpose about 565 million USD, but only 30% of the expenditures were confirmed by documents.

Russian institutes and Western organizations assert since 1986 that 96% of highly radioactive fuel remained within the sarcophagus.

"Western experts were never admitted inside the sarcophagus, but they managed to make their own measurements", told Valentin Kutsiy, the former head of the Chernobyl object "Sarcophagus".

The data approved by the Soviet political bureau in May 1986 are copied thoughtlessly. The Federal Ministry of environment believes that the Soviet data were correct. "The statements in the documentary are disappointing and seem dubious".

Sebatian Pflugbeil, a Berliner physicist and the president of the Society in charge of protection against irradiation, believes that Western experts did not risk to acknowledge that the kernel of the reactor not only melted, but fully exploded: "That would have some consequences also for the Western concept of safety".

Correspondent.net

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