Chernobyl: under the sarcophagus, radioactivity resumes

DECRYPTION – Despite the gigantic arch that isolates the damaged reactor since 2016, sensors are recording more and more neutrons.

What threat haunts the bowels of Chernobyl? While we have just commemorated the 35e anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history, abnormal activity in the debris of the plant is causing concern among Ukrainian scientists. As reported by the American magazine Science, the fission reactions seem to be accelerating under the rubble of reactor number 4, the one that exploded on April 26, 1986 during a safety test. “It’s like the embers of a barbecue”, even describes Neil Hyatt, a British chemist interviewed by the scientific journal. She said the subject was recently brought up by a member of the Kyiv Institute for Nuclear Safety (ISPNPP) during discussions on the dismantling of the reactor. The sensors distributed throughout the site are indeed detecting an increasing number of neutrons, in particular in room 305/2, located under the reactor, and where tons of materials containing molten fuel are buried.

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