nuclear Current Affairs - 2020

April 26: International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day

Every year on April 26, the International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day is being observed. The day was proclaimed by the United Nations and was first observed in 2016.

Highlights

The International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day was first observed on the 30th anniversary of 1986 nuclear disaster. It is being marked to increase awareness about the risks of nuclear energy in general.

Chernobyl Disaster

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in today’s Ukraine faced a fore explosion. The reactor began to emit radioactive materials. Though, the casualties are minimal, the radioactive materials are still present in the atmosphere and are posing challenges to human survival in the region. Due to the accident, several children even today are facing thyroid, cancer in the regions of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

Significance

The fire explosion spread huge radioactive cloud over Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. More than 8.4 million people were exposed to radioactive waves. In 1991, the Chernobyl Trust Fund was created by the United Nations. It is now being managed by the OCHA-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Role of United Nations

The United Nations that was formed for world peace after second world war is keen in addressing nuclear issues after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incident.

Stable form of Plutonium discovered accidentally

Scientists led by Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf have found new compound of Plutonium unexpectedly in France. The team was actually trying to create plutonium dioxide nano particles using different precursors. In the process, the plutonium at its pentavalent state showed a peculiar behavior. The scientists then learnt that the strange behavior of Plutonium at its pentavalent state was because it was stable! The team confirmed its stability using Pu M4 edge technology.

The experiment was repeated after 3 months and the element showed the same behavior. The scientists thus confirmed that Plutonium exhibited stability properties at its pentavalent state.

Significance

  • The unstable radioactive dangerous plutonium that is predominantly used in nuclear applications are tricky to transport, store and dispose.
  • The scientists were in the process of creating Plutonium Dioxide as it is relatively stable as compared to other radioactive materials. It does not dissolve in water
  • The major drawback of Plutonium waste is that when dumped underground, they contaminate water table to a radius of 10 km.