ADVERTISING

TECHNOLOGY

An unprecedented expedition gets inside Chernobyl to re-evaluate radiation

A team of researchers deployed equipment to Reactor 4 at Chernobyl to reassess radiation levels.

On April 26, 1986, one of the most devastating nuclear disasters in history occurred. Reactor 4 of the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin power plant exploded, devastating the nearby city of Chernobyl. Since then, the place has been relegated to exclusion because of the radioactive contamination that continues to emit. Until now, permits haven’t been obtained to enter the control room of reactor 4 due to the dangers it represents. Yet, a team from the University of Bristol gained unprecedented scouting access to the Chernobyl plant to conduct a reassessment of the radiation levels.

An unprecedented exploration

Together, with their Ukrainian counterparts, nuclear energy experts at the University of Bristol have been working to conduct pioneering research in radiation mapping. And, in an unprecedented event, they gained access to the infamous Reactor 4 control room. There, they deployed state-of-the-art radiation mapping and scanning sensors to withstand nuclear contamination. They also deployed the arsenal of sensors inside the New Safe Confinement (NSC), the structure erected to cover the remains of the nuclear explosion caused in 1986 and the original casket.

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The team included several robotic systems equipped with state-of-the-art detection devices developed between the University of Bristol and the University of Oxford. The goal of each system is to collect high-precision 3D models to reassess the distribution and severity of radiological hazards.

“Venturing for real into the failed reactor control room was a tense but exhilarating experience. The team did a fantastic job of deploying our systems quickly and in challenging conditions. It’s a great reward after months of hard work and planning to know that our technology works well in real nuclear environments”, said Tom Scott of the University of Bristol and head researcher.

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Reassessing radiation levels at Chernobyl

The main goal of the research is to develop new technology capable of operating under significant radioactive conditions. In this way, it could be used safely in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Researchers are working to enable the decommissioning of the nuclear reactor that caused the Chernobyl disaster. They seek to implement new ways to reduce the risks that arise when dealing with radioactive waste.

“We're very pleased to have successfully demonstrated a capability that is useful both for the decommissioning of Chernobyl, as well as for nuclear sites inherited in the UK and elsewhere in the world,” shared Scott.

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

After entering the control room of Reactor 4, the team returned to the United Kingdom to analyze the data obtained by the sensors. It’s expected that, with this, they’ll be able to provide the Ukrainian authorities with accurate and highly detailed maps, which were previously unavailable, from the distribution of radiation levels surrounding the doomed reactor.

Text and photos courtesy of Ecoosfera 
Translated by Gaby Flores 

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Podría interesarte
ADVERTISING
ADVERTISING