UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What was the reason why Chernobyl power plant had that big accident in the past?
Question Date: 2011-02-11
Answer 1:

Bad design - I'm not entirely sure of the particulars, but the power plant overheated and triggered a steam explosion in what cooling system they had. This explosion blew open the interior of the reactor where the potentially dangerous radioactive materials are located, spewing them into the surrounding environment.

Better-designed nuclear power plants simply become unusable when they melt down, instead of steam explosions. In no case, however, can a nuclear power plant explode the way that a nuclear bomb can.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use