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Chernobyl Consequences and Solutions Amy Banks [4005714] Sam Blackburn [4003810] H23 G07 – Environmental Geotechnics Presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "Chernobyl Consequences and Solutions Amy Banks [4005714] Sam Blackburn [4003810] H23 G07 – Environmental Geotechnics Presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chernobyl Consequences and Solutions Amy Banks [ ] Sam Blackburn [ ] H23 G07 – Environmental Geotechnics Presentation

2 Background and History April 26 th 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a horrendous accident. April 26 th 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a horrendous accident. Nuclear Fallout scattered over Ukraine, Belarus (70%), Russia. Nuclear Fallout scattered over Ukraine, Belarus (70%), Russia. Fallout found as far away as Wales (most of the Northern Hemisphere experienced some contamination). Fallout found as far away as Wales (most of the Northern Hemisphere experienced some contamination). 50 deaths directly attributed so far to the accident, however recent studies estimate this will rise to 4, deaths directly attributed so far to the accident, however recent studies estimate this will rise to 4,000. Substantial economic, social and healthcare effects. Substantial economic, social and healthcare effects. Initial concerns were based around radioactive iodine, but now there’s increasing concern around the contamination of soil by Strontium-90 and Caesium-137. Initial concerns were based around radioactive iodine, but now there’s increasing concern around the contamination of soil by Strontium-90 and Caesium-137.

3 Chemicals of Main Concern Caesium-137 (Gamma rays) Caesium-137 (Gamma rays) Highly Toxic with a half life of 30 years Highly Toxic with a half life of 30 years Similar to Potassium Similar to Potassium Found in top soil Found in top soil Easily absorbed by plants and animals. Easily absorbed by plants and animals. 21% of Belarus Remains Contaminated 21% of Belarus Remains Contaminated Strontium-90 (Beta rays) Strontium-90 (Beta rays) Highly Toxic with a half life of 28 years Highly Toxic with a half life of 28 years Easily soluble in water, consequently difficult to track Easily soluble in water, consequently difficult to track Contributes to bone disorders and diseases, Substitutes for calcium in bone Contributes to bone disorders and diseases, Substitutes for calcium in bone 80 % Strontium now passed into natural cycles 80 % Strontium now passed into natural cycles

4 Containing the Disaster Zone of Alienation (30 km Radius). Zone of Alienation (30 km Radius). A large concrete slab placed underneath the reactor to prevent radioactive material leaching into the groundwater. A large concrete slab placed underneath the reactor to prevent radioactive material leaching into the groundwater. Measures to cultivate “clean” products/food stuffs in contaminated areas. Measures to cultivate “clean” products/food stuffs in contaminated areas. Combining lime, with manure and mineral fertilisers effective in reducing caesium content by a factor of 30. Combining lime, with manure and mineral fertilisers effective in reducing caesium content by a factor of 30. Prussian blue. Prussian blue. ‘Radical Improvement’. ‘Radical Improvement’.

5 Radical Improvement Most effective countermeasure for coping with radioactive contamination from the nuclear fallout. Most effective countermeasure for coping with radioactive contamination from the nuclear fallout. Involves the ploughing, reseeding and application of NPK fertilisers (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) and lime. Involves the ploughing, reseeding and application of NPK fertilisers (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) and lime. Ploughing diluted radioactive contamination in upper layers of soil where plant roots absorb their nutrients. Ploughing diluted radioactive contamination in upper layers of soil where plant roots absorb their nutrients. Fertilisers increased plant production, therefore diluted the radioactivity in the plant. Fertilisers increased plant production, therefore diluted the radioactivity in the plant. Repeated fertilisation was needed at some sites. Repeated fertilisation was needed at some sites. Reduction by a factor of 2-4 in soil plant transfer of strontium-90. Reduction by a factor of 2-4 in soil plant transfer of strontium-90.

6 Alternative Measures Using plants to modify the environment by absorbing strontium-90 and caesium-137 (Phyto-Remediation): Using plants to modify the environment by absorbing strontium-90 and caesium-137 (Phyto-Remediation): The Plants absorb the harmful radioactive waste and through chemical process transform it into less harmful waste. The Plants absorb the harmful radioactive waste and through chemical process transform it into less harmful waste. Accumulation/Extraction/Degradation. Accumulation/Extraction/Degradation. Sunflowers already effective, and research into the use of Indian Mustard Plants. Sunflowers already effective, and research into the use of Indian Mustard Plants. Plant clean ups between a tenth and a quarter of the cost of conventional methods. Plant clean ups between a tenth and a quarter of the cost of conventional methods.

7 Chernobyl Today / Tomorrow Last operating reactor at Chernobyl was permanently shut down on 14 th December Last operating reactor at Chernobyl was permanently shut down on 14 th December Original sarcophagus currently being stabilised. Original sarcophagus currently being stabilised. Construction contract for NSC (New Safe Confinement) will be awarded this year. Construction contract for NSC (New Safe Confinement) will be awarded this year. Once NSC built, removal of original sarcophagus will take place. Once NSC built, removal of original sarcophagus will take place. Fuel removal of reactors 1 to 3. Fuel removal of reactors 1 to 3.


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