Story at a glance:

  • Radioactive waste is smoldering in a part of Chernobyl that is unreachable.
  • Two chemical experts heed caution of another explosion.
  • The fatal 1986 explosion left the place a ghost town.

Scientists are warning that another explosion could occur in Chernobyl due to the spike in neutron numbers in an underground room called 305/2.

The numbers may indicate that new fission reactions are taking place, and there’s a possibility the smoldering nuclear reaction — in a room that’s currently unreachable — could lead to an explosion, Business Insider reported.


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"[It is] like the embers in a barbecue pit," Neil Hyatt, a professor of nuclear materials science and engineering at the University of Sheffield Lecturer, told Science magazine.

Fellow scientist, Maxim Saveliev, a senior researcher with the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, agrees with Hyatt, saying "there are many uncertainties, but we can't rule out the possibility of [an] accident."

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident near the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, close to the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. The April 26, 1986 disaster is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history for the amount of money it cost and the number of lives lost. The Chernobyl disaster is one of two energy-related accidents that were rated a level 7, the maximum.

About 50 people were killed initially, and the explosion resulted in thousands of radiation-related deaths, the UN estimates.

As of now, the New Safe Confinement (NSC), a $1.8-billion protective confinement shelter, was built in 2019 to stop the contamination of radioactive materials.

The NSC was also created to lower the neutron counts, with Saveliev saying the issue of a possible explosion might resolve itself.

After 35 years, the evacuated city still resembles a ghost town.


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Published on May 17, 2021