"Chernobyl" by Antanana / CC BY-SA 3.0

There Are Still 10 Chernobyl-Style Reactors Operating Across Russia. How Do We Know They’re Safe?

Jun 3, 2019

By Stephanie Pappas

In the new HBO miniseries “Chernobyl,” Russian scientists uncover the reason for an explosion in Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which spewed radioactive material across northern Europe.

That reactor, a design called the RBMK-1000, was discovered to be fundamentally flawed after the Chernobyl accident. And yet there are still 10 of the same type of reactor in operation in Russia. How do we know if they’re safe?

The short answer is, we don’t. These reactors have been modified to lessen the risk of another Chernobyl-style disaster, experts say, but they still aren’t as safe as most Western-style reactors. And there are no international safeguards that would prevent the construction of new plants with similar flaws.

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