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Ukraine. Chernobyl power outage could cause safety program to fail altogether, says Sheffield nuclear expert UK News

Professor Claire Corkhill, Chair of Nuclear Material Degradation in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield, was speaking after authorities in Ukraine said the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster had been cut off from the power grid.

Back-up generators are now providing backup power, as the state communications agency said the outage could endanger nuclear material cooling systems.

Professor Corkhill said: “As the electricity supply to the Chernobyl site is unavailable, there are several areas of concern with regard to the security of the nuclear material stored there.

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Professor Claire Corkhill has warned that the reported power outage at the Chernobyl site could lead to the “complete failure” of the £1.25billion program to secure the site.

She explained that spent nuclear fuel from Reactors 1 and 3 requires constant cooling, which is achieved by pumping fresh, cool water into the basins where it is stored.

Without electrical power, this water could slowly evaporate, potentially leading to contamination of the building with low levels of radioactive isotopes.

And, she said, it is essential that radiation monitoring systems are able to continuously monitor the situation inside the 4″ reactor so that we can be aware of any potential cause for concern about the nuclear fuel exposed inside”.

Prof Corkhill said: “Another serious concern is the maintenance of the ventilation system in the new safe containment structure.

“This prevents further degradation of Reactor Number 4 and the hazardous nuclear fuel exposed within, and is critical to the future decommissioning of the site.

“If there is no power to this structure, we could see the complete failure of the €1.5billion (£1.25billion) decommissioning program to secure the site. once for all.”

Professor Corkhill’s research focuses on understanding the long-term evolution of radioactive waste in disposal environments and she provides independent advice on UK Government radioactive waste management and disposal policies.

She leads a British team that is making a key contribution to the massive cleanup operation at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant after developing a material that simulates the most dangerous radioactive debris left in the reactors.

The Chernobyl site has been under the control of Russian troops since last week.

The cause of the damage to the power line serving it was not immediately clear

Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenerho said that according to the state nuclear regulator, all Chernobyl facilities are without electricity and diesel generators have fuel for 48 hours.

Without electricity, “nuclear and radiation safety parameters” cannot be controlled, he said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the power grid was damaged and called for a ceasefire to allow repairs.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-09 22:09:11

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