Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 6 months ago

Is it impossible for a nuclear disaster like that of Chernobyl to happen in a western nuclear power plant?

8 Answers

Relevance
  • 6 months ago

    The trouble is the phrase "like that of Chernobyl" is ambiguous. No two accidents are ever exactly the same.

    Chernobyl had no containment building and used a graphite moderator. Such a design would never be allowed in any Western country. So, an accident with the same character as Chernobyl is impossible but accidents in nuclear plants are certainly possible.

    It is important to note that overall nuclear power has an exemplary safety record. It is by far the safest method of producing electricity today. I know that claim will come as a shock to many who read this and will be strongly contested. However, the facts do back me up. There would need to be a Chernobyl accident every couple of weeks for nuclear power generation to have a comparable safety record to coal power.

    Please see my sources for the mortality rate of different technologies. Also, if what you know about the Chernobyl accident comes from the HBO special - which I enjoyed by the way - please see the link to the youtube video on its scientific accuracy.

    Peace. 

  • cosmo
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Chernobyl was built without a containment vessel, and so now they are retrofitting it with one at vast expense while it's all radioactive.  Also, that kind of dry carbon-mediated reactor is not built in the west.  So that kind of disaster is not going to happen again.

    Most modern reactor designs are a lot safer than the Chernobyl type.  The worst reactor accidents in the west are nowhere near as bad as Chernobyl.

  • Jim
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Impossible, no, in fact it's already happened.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1

  • ?
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    NO.  It only takes a failure or a mistake. That is more likely in commercial plants than in research facilities.  Commercial plants must run to a price and an efficiency.  Efficiency is greater with higher temperatures and pressures and energy densities.  Any failure or any mistake can have run away consequences.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 6 months ago

    No it is not impossible. Disasters are not dependent on location.

  • 6 months ago

    No, and Three Mile Island was a warning of that possibility.  The movie China Syndrome was a dramatization of that possibility.  One can argue whether western nations enforce better technical requirements and employ better supervision systems, and thus western facilities might be less likely to see such a catastrophic event, but nothing anyone does can guarantee that it will never happen.  It simply lowers risk.  Look at Fukushima Japan; another close call.

    However, most western facilities do not typically employ graphite systems, and the use of graphite systems at Chernobyl contributed greatly to the extent of the disaster.  Fires were a big problem, so that difference is important.  Nevertheless, the use of graphite was not the cause of the disaster, its burning simply was a consequence of the disaster that added to the problem and made it worse.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    No, it is NOT impossible. 

    The Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania in 1979 was similar.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_Island_...  

  • 6 months ago

    definitely not impossible, but more unlikely due to modern precautions. 

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.