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Chernobyl-type reactors have been upgraded for safety

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  • After 10 years of detailed analysis by Belarussian, Russian, Ukrainian and international experts, the principal causes of the Chernobyl accident are well understood. The accident occurred because of severe deficiencies in the design of the reactor compounded by the violation of operating procedures. An IAEA expert team inspects the control room of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania

  • The lack of a "safety culture" in the responsible organizations of the former Soviet Union resulted in an inability to remedy such design weaknesses, even though they had been known before the accident.

  • The most serious deficiencies in other operating RBMK reactors are being addressed through safety upgrades. Between 1987 and 1991, a first stage of upgrading was performed on all RBMK units to eliminate the design deficiencies which contributed to the Chernobyl accident, to improve shutdown mechanisms and heighten general safety awareness among staff. There are plans for further safety improvements. Units 1,2,3 and 4 of Chernobyl nuclear power plant.  The Sarcophagus over Unit 4 is in the foreground

  • The "sarcophagus" that was constructed over the destroyed reactor has met the protection objective over the past 10 years. In the long term, however, its stability and the quality of its confinement are in doubt. A collapse of the structure could lead to a release of radioactive dust and radiation exposure to workers at the site, but widespread effects would not be expected.
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