Could the Tchernobyl accident happen in Belgium?

NO .. even if the "zero risk" does not exist! 

During the Tchernobyl accident, a power excursion occurred followed by a huge fire causing important radioactive release. 

The fact is, there are important design differences between the Tchernobyl nuclear power plant  and the Belgian plants,  as a result of which a similar accident could not happen in Belgium.

As to the major differences, we can mention the following ones:

• the Belgian reactors are stable: in case of deviation from the normal conditions (temperature, pressure, flow,...) the reactor automatically responds (physical phenomenon) by lowering its power or even by coming to a complete stop;  

• In Belgium, the design of the system for reactor scram allows to stop the chain reaction in less than two seconds. In Tchernobyl this took a considerably longer time (10 to 20 seconds). The system for automatic stop of the reactor caused a power excursion given the particular conditions of the installation at that moment. This has  contributed to the loss of control of the reactor.  

• in addition, there was a large volume of graphite in Tchernobyl ; graphite is an inflammable material (used as "moderator"*). In the Belgian plants water is used as a moderator (and not graphite).  

 

(*) essential for maintaining the nuclear chain reaction 

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