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Chernobyl remains dangerous

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#393
25/06/1993
Article

(June 25, 1993) A report issued by the International Fire Protection Organization (IFPO) says the Chernobyl nuclear power station, as well as other nuclear stations in the Ukraine, are inadequately protected against fire.

(393.3836) WISE Amsterdam - The organization, which inspected the stations this month, said the concrete dome built over Chernobyl unit 4 after it exploded in 1986 had begun to crack, confirming earlier reports by other organizations and scientists both inside and outside the Ukraine. Further, says IFPO, inside the station there are brick walls and glass doors instead of more fire resistant steel panels. Pipes to transport water in the case of a fire do not work and castings are insubstantial.

According to Prof. Ernst Ahilles, who headed the investigating team, "At Chernobyl they don't even train people in safety measures, there is not even enough equipment to put a fire out. But the same situation exists at the stations in Ignalinskaya [in Lithuauiaj and Kozloduy IBulgadal."

IFPO recommended that Ukraine be given grants that would enable the country to stop the reactors, but Ahilles said it was unlikely the government would agree to such an option, as Ukraine exports electricity to Austria for badly needed hard currency. "It is difficult to persuade the government even just to make the repairs, as they would have to stop the reactor and so lose income. A representative of Chernobyl said, 'How can we kill a hen which has just laid a golden egg?' when he heard the results of our investigation," Prof. Ahilles added.

In the meantime, the central fire brigade offices in Ukraine and Russia have called for government support to help them to protect the workers at nuclear stations and the populations in the areas surrounding them. They estimate that they cannot provide protection for the towns and cities around 90% of these stations. One of the concerns they have voiced is over the material used for roof construction - a foamy polymar. Vladimir Dedikov of the Russian Fire Brigade in Moscow said, "The roofs of all nuclear stations and plants are made of this material. We have been telling the government to change it to something better since the seventies. But this takes a lot of money, so nothing has been done." According to a report in Moscow News (11 June 1993), Dedikov says that more than 11,000 workers at the plants are killed every year as a result of fires, "but still there is no reaction."

Sources:

  • Moscow News (Russia), 11 June 1993, pp. 1&2.
  • "Source Book: Soviet-Designed Nuclear Power Plants in the Former Soviet Republics and Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria", US Council of Energy Awareness, Washington, April 1992.

Contact: Andrei Glazovoi, Unicorn Environmental Publishers,
Post Box 64, Kiev 60, Ukraine; tel: (004) 442 31 71; fax: 440 30 17.