World’s largest radioactive waste: Elephant’s foot Ukraine


The Elephant’s foot in Ukraine

“Elephant’s Foot” is a deadly phenomenon originated
during the Chernobyl disaster.
Dizziness and fatigue will follow you for a week after just 30 seconds exposure. Two minutes of exposure and your cells will start to fall apart, and for four minutes followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. After 300 seconds of exposure, you only have two more days of life.

The special teams give their best while struggling to combat radiation’s effects after Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Although the figures on radiation gauges clearly indicate that they should not be approached reactor four, curious scientists have even injecting inside the camera.

Within reactor four they found a black lava, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the “Elephant’s Foot”, the deadliest nuclear waste in the world!

In the largest nuclear disaster in the world, an enormous emission of energy released from radioactive material that is used as fuel literally melted all around.
Metal, concrete and everything in its path were melted, and the liquid flowed into the bottom of the reactor. When this mass gets cold, it was in the form of the elephant’s foot.
Reports from 1986 show that the radioactivity of “Elephant’s foot” was so high that it could not be measured.

It has been determined that the radioactivity was about 1,000 times stronger than the dose that causes cancer. After the incident, nearly 600.000 workers were sent to prevent further spread of radiation. Consciously or not, they have submitted the greatest sacrifice. More than 30 people died within a month of the consequences of radiation, and 125,000 is suffering from cancer from the effects of radiation.

In December 1986, construction began on the huge concrete sarcophagus, which was aimed to keep radiation. But this sarcophagus is not completely closed but left open to be used for experimental and scientific research.
Although the “Elephant’s Foot” is just a few meters long, its radiation level is enough to kill a man in seconds. However, in spite of deadly dangers, scientists were able to capture this nuclear waste.

After ten years since the disaster, “Elephant’s Foot” is still emitting one-tenth of its first radiation. But even now, after 500 seconds exposure could cause fewer symptoms of radiation sickness, and after one-hour exposure – death!
Although the construction of the concrete sarcophagus consumed amount of concrete with which to be able to fill a third of the Empire State Building, this black lava continues to harm the environment.
“Elephant foot” remains a source of potential danger because melting concrete now threatening to contaminates groundwater.

But, how did the Chernobyl disaster start?
The Chernobyl power plant has supplied two million people with electricity, and the night was the best time to experiment, because of the lowest power consumption. When the experiment was designed, operators are doing their job with the same confidence as always.
The competent authorities have conducted an experiment in the wish to estimate the response of the reactor to the loss of the power supply. But what the operators did not realize the considerable volatility that Soviet-type reactors in operation in low-power mode.

All reactors operate on the same principle: the uranium fuel, neutrons splitting atoms of uranium, and comes to the so-called self-sustaining chain reaction. The energy released heats the fuel, around which water circulates, and is also heated, partly crossing in pairs; steam turbine, which generates electricity and steam is converted back to a liquid state and used to cool the fuel in the heart of the reactor.

In the Chernobyl reactor number four, uranium was in the form of 1,700 separate bars, surrounded by blocks of graphite, which promotes loosening chain reaction. Control rods absorb neutrons and slow the reaction; drawing from their fuel, power increases, and their recapture the fuel, power is reduced. For security reasons, at least 30 control rods should always be in the reactor. The cooling water absorbs excess neutrons and also helps speed control chain reactions. The danger of this design of the reactor lies in the loss or excessive evaporation of water, in which case the excess neutrons can speed up the chain reaction, until the loss of control over the reactor. And that happened in Chernobyl.

After the explosion, the only way to slow chain reaction was flooding the reactor with neutron absorbers and other chemicals from helicopters. sShortly after that, many brave pilots died.

“Elephant’s foot” as a single piece of nuclear waste testify to the most powerful humankind tool, and at the same time reminding at the responsibility that the human race has for the planet and future generations.