Wednesday, August 04, 2010

RBMK Control Room

Control room of Chernobyl NPP Unit 1

These gauges indicate position of control rods in the active zone. Black boxes are neutron flux indicators.

These are the controls for some of the many control rods in the RBMK. You hold down the appropriate button and use the joystick on the left to move them in or out of the active zone.

Six emergency shutdown switches. "АЗ5" switch (top row, center) initiated rapid emergency shutdown.


Justin Lapp said...

Great pictures. Keep them coming. I will come back here.

Joffan said...

Sov, I was wondering why the core burned for so long in Chernobyl 4. Pure graphite isn't fantastically flammable, so was it other stuff that was burning? The helicopters were supposed to be dropping boron, among other things - does this mean that someone believed the core was still critical, in parts at least? Were they right?

Response from anyone appreciated.

Sovietologist said...

The core fire, as I understand it, was not a "fire" in the conventional sense but rather the result of decay heat from the fuel melt oxidizing the graphite. There were fears of some kind of re-criticality, as I recall--I think I read somewhere that neutron surveys suggested this was happening in the core after the accident, and that was why they dumped boron into it. Keep in mind that RBMKs are designed with so much moderation that light water actually serves as a neutron poison, so as long as the graphite and fuel were still (largely) in the core, re-criticality was possible.

Sorry for my delay in accepting your comment--I've been occupied getting situated in College Park, Maryland. I'm starting the American half of my dissertation research.

Joffan said...

Thanks for the response and thoughts - no problem about the delay.

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