Difference between Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Japanese Nuclear Disaster
With the Japanese headed for what many consider to be a nuclear disaster in addition to the recent natural disasters that have plagued the country, most people are automatically stating that this is going to be another Chernobyl. However, there are key differences between the two that people should realize in order to fully understand the situation. First, the two situations use different reactors, the technology involved with each, the experience of those dealing with the situation, the continued bombardment of earthquakes in Japan, the horrendous tsunami and the overall response plan for each accident.
In every nuclear power plant there are reactors that are used in order to draw the power. During the Chernobyl disaster, the reactors that were being used were new in that they had little testing and were basically put into the plant to be used by the professionals. This was perhaps the biggest mistake since they had little testing in this area, no containment structure and it was during a test that the reactor blew up. Despite the fact that Japan is located on a very active seismic location known as the ‘Ring of Fire’, the Japanese nuclear power plants are utilizing boiling reactors that have been carefully set up and used over time and thus are trusted reactors. The risks are monitored very closely and the addition of seawater shows the gravity of the situation because this element renders the reactors useless.
Dealing with the Situation
When the problems occurred at Chernobyl, they seemed to rush to fix it, they tried to power up the reactors too soon after turning them off and because of this, scientists there caused the nuclear meltdown. They simply were not aware of how to deal with situations that arose within the reactors or the plant in general. The Japanese have made sure that they are taking all the necessary safety precautions that they can take in order to minimize the problem and work towards figuring out what could cause a nuclear meltdown and are attempting to avoid it at all costs. In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first action was to send coolant to Japan to stave off a serious disaster.
At Chernobyl, they had never thought that they would have a problem, thus when it came down to it they had no protocol in place for how to get people to safety, how to warn others that there was a problem, and so forth. In fact, it was days before the nearby public was informed as to what had happened after being told they could initially not leave the area. Thanks to newer technology, the Japanese nuclear disaster is being monitored at the plants in addition to toxins being monitored by handheld devices all over the area. The public is being kept informed but the residents in Japan do not have the option to migrate to another country, and instead about a half million people are counting on their countrymen to help them get back onto their feet. As the hydrogen explosions continue to occur, many people have been evacuated from immediate areas in order to be sure that they are safe.
At this time nuclear plant coils are in danger of exposure to the air and thus overheating leading to potential melt downs. The high levels of radiation are attributed to the radiation rich pools of ‘spent’ water which are always kept on site. In some cases, broken pipes are causing hydrogen explosions and are vaporizing the radiated water into the air. We are counting on the best nuclear physicists in the world to join forces in limiting the risks in this case – for all of our benefit. A true reactor explosion would release large amounts of radiation into the upper atmosphere, and as we have learned from Chernobyl, the fallout would invisibly and tragically reach each one of us.
Similarities and Differences
Overall, the two disasters are not similar to a great extent, each was at a different point in time and this could have been the number one reason why each affected the area differently.
- Chernobyl was using reactors that were fairly new for its time and had not been experienced much. Because of this they increased their chances of making mistakes.
- At Chernobyl since they did not know the reactors that well, they really had no way or idea of how to deal with problems.
- Chernobyl was not really prepared for the future and had not response plan for the people of the Ukraine when it came down to it.
- The Chernobyl reactor was not housed in a containment structure.
- High incidences of certain types of cancer is the chief complaint from nuclear radiation and some claim the effects are still felt today.
Japanese Nuclear Disaster
- The Japanese nuclear power plants use boiling water reactors that are very old and trusted. Those that work with these have done so for years, thus know everything about them.
- The Japanese reactors produce a fraction of the power Chernobyl produced in order to mitigate potential risk.
- Much newer nuclear technology is employed in Japan. The details regarding what is happening inside the reactors are much more transparent.
- The 9.0 earthquake coupled with a crippling tsunami caused more destruction than anyone anticipated, even in an earthquake ready zone such a Japan.
- Efficient emergency plans are in place but there are still a half million displaced residents in shelters at the time of this writing.
- This disaster isn't over yet.