SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear power. Worker in the control room of the Leningrad RBMK nuclear power station at Sosnovyi, Russia. A representation of the reactor core is on the wall. There are 4 reactors at this power station, opened in 1974, 1976, 1980 & 1984. Each can generate 1000 megawatts of electricity. RBMK reactor cores use graphite to promote the nuclear chain reaction, and use water for cooling the vertical fuel channels. The RBMK design is flawed because its reactivity, and hence its power output, increases as coolant is lost from the fuel channels. This positive void coefficient was partly responsible for the major accident at the Chernobyl RBMK reactor in 1986.
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