In a major step toward cleaning up the world’s worst nuclear disaster, workers at Chernobyl have begun moving much of the stricken facility’s liquid nuclear waste into long term storage. The commissioning of Chernobyl’s liquid radioactive treatment plant is meant to tackle the 22,000 tons of irradiated water gathered not only since the plant’s number 4 reactor exploded in 1986, but from continued operation of the plant’s other three reactors, which continued producing electricity for 14 years after the disaster. Surprisingly, these reactors were not decommissioned until 2000, nine years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the Chernobyl plant became the newly-independent Ukraine’s inheritance from Moscow. That the rest of the plant’s reactors continued to operate in the middle of a irradiated disaster zone serves shows how heavily Ukraine has depended on nuclear power since it struck out on its own. That dependence – despite atomic energy’s domestic unpopularity – hasn’t dropped with time: Kiev still relies on its other 15 reactors to produce a little over half the country’s electricity.
Bellona 7th Feb 2018 read more »