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Engineering Mistakes that Led to The Chernobyl Disaster

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Mistakes are merely a part of a human’s everyday life. In the engineering profession, every single move and foolish decisions made can cause life-changing results if something does not meet the proper standards. The Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine was a prime example of standard breeches, design flaws, and incompetence by the workers to produce one of the worst incidents in the history of the engineering world. This factory used to be a well-known power station until it was uncovered that this company used ill practice to attempt in achieving their results. These grave errors in judgment are the root cause behind why so many innocent lives were lost and affected by diseases, stemming from the engineering disaster. Contentious debates have often been stirred about whether the Chernobyl disaster could have been avoided. In the end, many flaws existed in the factory that resulted due to poor judgment and criminal carelessness on the part of the higher ups. Plus, the design flaws in the factory are something that could be avoided, but unfortunately many lives had to suffer horribly for these flaws to be discovered in this factory. The events at Chernobyl were caused due to design flaws in the reactor, human incompetence by all the employees, supervisors and ownership, and due to criminal negligence when it came down to the clear signs that an issue was arising not being investigated to avoid it.

The Chernobyl factory was a nuclear power station that was first made in 1972. One part of the factory that made it stand out from the other companies was the fact that it could inevitably generated an immense amount of raw energy without a moment’s delay. This ultimately became the fatal flaw of the company. During the dreary day of the appalling incident, the company initially wanted to test the reactor’s system and check out how the plant would perform if power were to be lost at the location of Unit 4 in their respective company. The schedule for the process was as per the following; start the reactor at a minimal power while making the steam-turbine operate at its utmost speed. This test would also examine the turbine generator to see how its power is doing, which would continue occurring until the generator that used diesel’s emergency power turned back on. Finally, after the completion of all steps were deemed to be a success, then the generators were to be cooled back to its ordinary working pace. The issue initially emerged when the Soviet Union made the RBMK-1000 reactors, as this was the prime design issue in the hideous massacre, which contained an element that ended up becoming unsteady as the power was being diminished amid the test. The issue with the design of the reactors became a glaring issue because of the water channel and fuel channels being completely individual of one another. Scientists were utterly dumbfounded by this abnormality as the world’s many other reactors did not have this difference. This reactor also had a positive void coefficient, which basically means that when a part of the water is getting replaced by steam, power too would also increase. This once more was a retrogressive methodology as again a clear majority of the world’s reactors occupied a negative void coefficient. The negative void loop would have allowed for less power to be produced at once, to make the reactor a lot less unstable as opposed to what it originally was. Consequently, incrementing the vaporization strength designated that the reactor’s power output would too increase. This made the RBMK reactor’s composition extremely erratic when at the lower power levels. This meant that it was more prone to producing a sudden dangerous amount of high energy levels as did occur on the night of April 26th, 1986.

In the tragic end, the unorthodox ingenuities ultimately lead to the senseless loss of thousands of innocent lives. Even though the Chernobyl factories reactor had many design flaws, the ineptitude of the workers at the factory too aided heavily in inadvertently creating the massacre at Chernobyl. When testing the reactor, sequences of many errors lead to the eventual Chernobyl disaster. To start off with, on the night of the incident, since they were identifying how the facility would operate in case of a power outage, they shut down safety systems that would typically be lost during an incident. This incorporated the turbine machine that would provide cooling water to the system. With the flow being reduced, the water in the reactor started to boil and turned into pressurized steam. Workers desperately tried bringing Workers desperately tried bringing rods closer to the reactor to try controlling the issue, which would slow it down and ease the reaction. Unfortunately, another design issue in the rods as well lead to a jam occurring. The steam enhancement caused for the reactor to explode, which was followed by a second blast only moments later.

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Concerned employees insisted to their supervisor to not go on with this test due to the acknowledgement of potential for harm. However, the supervisor willfully violated many violations to earn extra respect from the higher ups by completing his task with as much speed and ease as possible. This proved to be costly as the incident was so catastrophic that the disaster produced a minimum of 100 times greater the radiation than the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atom bombs that were dropped. The supervisor was of the mindset that his employees were under-trained and thus knew far less than himself. This mindset set proved to be costly as in reality he was one of the main figures to blame for the incident. If the supervisor at the time Anatoly Stepanovich Dyatlov (vice chief-engineer) carried out the executive decision of ceasing the operation when many signs were being shown that danger was coming, then the most frightful engineering disaster in history could have been avoided.

As for many engineering disasters, the unfortunate incident at Chernobyl could have been dodged in numerous ways. For starters, the reactor was completely opposite in design to the rest of the world’s reactors as this one was contained a positive void loop as opposed to what it should have been (negative void loop). This Sovietdesigned reactor should have been designed to produce fewer steam bubbles, not more, as the excess of these bubbles eventually lead to the two explosions that took place. Also, this terrible incident could have been evaded had the crew been properlysupervised. The supervisor at the time committed mistakes after mistakes that consequently added up to a massive blunder (the incident that occurred). Had he not forced his workers to do as he told and instead thought about what his actions could inadvertently cause, then maybe so many lives could have been saved. To think, the vice chief-engineer should have absorbed his lesson because prior to working at Chernobyl, he was a part of a submarine making plant. One day while installing reactors, a nuclear incident occurred at his location as well. He survived the incident and from there, he went on to work at Chernobyl Power Plant where again a reactor incident occurred. To think, if only some of these errors in judgement and design flaws been noticed early and fixed ahead of time, maybe then, this negligent operation could have been halted or fixed to run properly.

As humans, we all make mistakes. In the engineering vocation, every single move and decisions made can cause life-changing results if something does not comply with the congruous standards. The Chernobyl disaster was a prime example of standard breeches, design imperfections, and incompetence by the workers to engender one of the most shocking incidents in the history of the engineering world. This factory used to be a well-known power station. That was until it was uncovered that this company demonstrated ill practice to achieve their results. These errors in judgement are the root cause behind why so many innocent lives were lost and affected by diseases, steaming from the engineering fails. This included the thousands of people who committed suicide due to the immense amount of constant pain those affected in the incident were in. Raging debates have frequently been stirred regarding whether the Chernobyl disaster could have been avoided. Many flaws existed in the factory that resulted due to poor judgement on the part of the higher ups. Design flaws are something that could be avoided, but unfortunately numerous lives had to suffer severely for these flaws to be discovered in this factory. The events at Chernobyl were caused due to design flaws in the reactor, human incompetence all the employees and ownership, and due to negligence when it came down to the visible signs that an issue was arising not being investigated.

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Engineering Mistakes that Led to The Chernobyl Disaster. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/engineering-mistakes-that-led-to-the-chernobyl-disaster/
“Engineering Mistakes that Led to The Chernobyl Disaster.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/engineering-mistakes-that-led-to-the-chernobyl-disaster/
Engineering Mistakes that Led to The Chernobyl Disaster. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/engineering-mistakes-that-led-to-the-chernobyl-disaster/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
Engineering Mistakes that Led to The Chernobyl Disaster [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/engineering-mistakes-that-led-to-the-chernobyl-disaster/
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