Reactor Hall of Unit 2, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

12 Dec 2016 18:03 3,672
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Update 24 Jan. 2017: still photos are posted at

We visit the Unit 2 reactor hall (central hall) at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in November of 2016. My video editing skills are minimal and I am slow, so for better material please visit the channel of my nuclear companion Bionerd23:

The RBMK is notable for its circular reactor lid where the control rod drive mechanisms reside and where loading and unloading of fuel occurs by means of a massive crane-mounted machine. In essence, the hall is a heavy-walled hot cell designed to shield potentially high radiation levels while fuel operations are underway. The hall also contains the short-term spent fuel storage basins, fresh fuel storage, a fuel transfer hatch to ground level, and access panels into the upper steamwater communication lines linking the reactor channels to the steam separators on either side. Unit 2 at Chernobyl has been shut down since a fire in 1991 damaged its generators and feedwater system. The reactor is defueled and dry, as are its spent fuel basins.

Some highlights of this video tour:
0:31 The reactor building elevator threatens to malfunction and we take the stairs instead.
3:03 Entrance to the anteroom of the Central Hall on the +20.2m level, where we put on additional PPE clothing.
5:02 Central Hall shielding maze
7:20 Gamma radiation above pressure tubes on reactor face is about 3.3 mR/h.
10:10 Fuel element stringers in the spent fuel pool are locally contaminated and spicy, with one measurement showing 2 R/h.
14:16 Discussion of the division of reactor channels between fuel and the protection and control (SUZ) system, noting that one SUZ channel has been repurposed for neutron transmutation of silicon. The RBMK was particularly good for this, and it occurred in Units 2 and 3 at Chernobyl.
14:58 Ascend the scaffolding to the refueling machine operator's compartment and look out the leaded glass window.

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