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Kernafval smeult in afgesloten kernreactor Tsjernobyl

Combustion of nuclear waste in a closed nuclear reactor Chernobyl

Scientists who have to monitor the situation in Chernobyl have observed an increase in nuclear activity. It was not clear if the situation was under control. Scientists compared it to burning embers in a fire.

The 1986 explosion rendered many areas of the complex inaccessible. Nuclear material and nuclear waste ended up everywhere. Among other things, in the underground reactor, chamber 305/2. No one has been in the room since the explosion, and the robots cannot penetrate the rubble.

Nuclear waste may be burning in that room. Scientists have seen a 40 percent increase in baseline activity since 2016. Neil Hayat of the University of Sheffield compares the situation to the glowing coals at a barbecue. These embers could ignite and cause another explosion. Hayat says things are not moving that fast at the moment. It has very low fission rates, and cannot be compared to an active nuclear reactor. We are reasonably certain that there will be no explosion, but we cannot rule out anything. “

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In 2016, a new protective cover was built to prevent the release of radioactive contamination. This could be a cause of instability. This is because less rainwater can penetrate into the underground nuclear reactor, allowing for more activity.

The Chernobyl 4 reactor exploded in 1986
Foto: Universal Images Group via Getty
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