9 December 2019, Monday, 12:56
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Yury Varonezhtsau: BelNPP Could Be Launched Unfinished

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Yury Varonezhtsau: BelNPP Could Be Launched Unfinished

A certain person wants to press the red button as soon as possible.

On August 8, in the Arkhangelsk region of Russia, an explosion occurred and a fire started on the territory of a military training ground during a test of a liquid-propellant jet engine. Experts believe that the nuclear accident in the White Sea has proved that nothing has changed in the Russian Federation since the Chernobyl accident.

It is noteworthy that the tests of the cruise missile were carried out by the very “Rosatom” that is building the Belarusian NPP, that is, the contractors that supply equipment for it, under the modern standards, have the technology and production culture of almost the Stone Age.

What can this lead to? Charter97.org asked Belarusian physicist, candidate of technical sciences, former secretary of the commission to investigate the causes and consequences of the Chernobyl NPP accident in the Supreme Council of the USSR Yury Varonezhtsau:

- There is very little information about the state of emergency in the Severodvinsk region. You know, this is done to follow the “best traditions” of the Soviet institutions engaged in similar matters. When I read the first news about this, I immediately began to search the relevant information published by the western agencies. I did this out of habit since 1986, when we learned about what happened in Chernobyl not from our sources, but from the Western ones. This time, they did write about the news, but the serious sources remained silent.

It somehow alerted me, I began to read and watch in more detail. Many write about the possibility that something happened with the Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile, Burevestnik. I do not think that this can be ruled out. I don’t like any weapons at all, but this exact kind is a sort of a dirty bomb. If a missile, let’s say, carries even half a ton of ordinary explosives, it can destroy a large building, or cover a big military formation somewhere in the battlefield. In this case, there is a large radiation pollution of the area.

As for the Burevestnik, I’ll say right away that I’m not an expert in this field, but I know the principle of operation of such carriers. This project was attended to by the American, British, and Soviet scientists for about 40 years. As soon as nuclear reactors appeared, they immediately decided to adapt them to an engine. As far as I know, it never worked out, that's why I somehow believe and don’t believe that the test flight actually took place.

If the Burevestnik exploded, the release would be more long-lasting than some twenty minutes and more massive, because its reactor contains much more filth than it appeared.

I think this is what happened: a liquid missile exploded and at high temperature, isotopes were emitted into the air. This cloud went to the settlements where the sensors are installed, and they recorded a short-term increase in radiation. This is my assumption, which is primarily based on the short-term and small outlier. After all, a reactor plus a fire - it would be a small Chernobyl. The area and level would have been enormous.

Secondly, there was a report that they began to burn clothes. This is difficult to understand, because during radiation pollution, as it was in Chernobyl as far as we know, it wasn’t burnt but buried, because what is the point of burning. Radionuclides will remain in the ashes - all this will rise into the air. It is usually burned when contamination occurs with chemical or bacteriological substances.

In general, all this gave me a certain doubt, but, I repeat, these are my assumptions. They could have been dispelled, as well as the doubts of hundreds of thousands of other people who are worried about what happened, if they published the screen composition of the emissions. From it, you can instantly determine what really happened there.

If this was an isotopic source - this is one, rather scarce, spectral composition of the emissions, but if something indeed happened to the Burevestnik, the resolution of the reactor, then the emissions will contain a significant part of the periodic table.

Anyway, it is good that Belarus is quite far from this place.

- In any case, the practice of hushing things down is notable. Yesterday, Russia refused to provide the information about the nuclear explosion in the Arkhangelsk region to the IAEA. Is it possible that there will be the same curtain of silence, if something happens at the Belarusian NPP, built by the same Rosatom?

- I wrote and talked about this for a long time. Unfortunately, these are systemic risks, which, along with technological ones, may even be the most dangerous, because there will be exactly the same silence policies as in 1986 with Chernobyl. I am more than sure of this.

The only thing, in 1986 there was no Internet, no communication channels that we have now. Nevertheless, back then many still listened to different “voices” and knew that something was not right. Now, given that satellites fly and monitor, measuring stations in Europe are quite densely located, it will be immediately known about the state of emergency. With Internet, it would spread instantly, in minutes, it will be difficult to hide the incident. Nevertheless, I repeat, the policy does not change and such attempts will be made.

Even if we compare Chernobyl and the Kyshtym disaster of 1957, then they managed to keep everything secret, because there were no “voices”, communications, satellites - nothing. In 1986, it was no longer possible to make it completely secret, but quite a lot of information was closed and it was opened only in the 90s.

- In your opinion, is Rosatom to be trusted in the first place? Its employees died at a secret firing ground in Severodvinsk, and it’s still involved in the construction of the Belarusian NPP in Astravets.

- You know, I am very biased towards this structure. There are two global mafias in the world that do great harm to all humanity. The first is the drug mafia, the second is the nuclear mafia. Turnovers are about the same, but they compete for harm. It’s unknown who brings more damage.

- How do you think, has the catastrophe theme become more popular after the “Chernobyl” show?

- Yes, the show somehow refreshed those events in the memory of people of my generation, and gave some new knowledge to young people. Unfortunately, both in our country and in the West they began to forget about the Chernobyl disaster. The show clearly demonstrated what the “peaceful atom” is. I think people are wary and the episodes that we are talking about excite people to a greater extent than it was before the show. There are claims to the show, but, in general, it is very useful, and it's good that it came out and it was watched by so many people.

- It has been reported they will deliver nuclear fuel to the Belarusian NPP by October 1. What can be the consequences of this, and can the NPP be launched?

- The launch and decommissioning of a nuclear reactor are the most dangerous things that can happen at all. You know, it's like with an airplane. The most dangerous moments are takeoff and landing. You know, earlier in the circle of my friends there were people who worked in ministries and in senior positions. Now there are practically no such people, so I can’t say in what condition the construction is in general.

However, this is strange for me. This is probably the first case in the history of the construction of nuclear power plants, when it will be put into service just a year later than the intended term. This usually lasts for years. The most striking example is the Finnish nuclear power plant, which, in my opinion, has not been launched, although it has been built since 2005. The Finnish analogue of Rosatom is constantly finding some kind of defects. Here, you see, the BelNPP will be launched to coincide with the October Revolution holiday, and Lukashenka will personally press the red button. Honestly, I'm very afraid of this.

- Do you mean there are grounds to presume they will launch the unfinished, not ready NPP in the pursuit of the date?

-Yes, it was built too quickly somehow. Again, the person who made the one-man political decision to start construction recently said that it turned out three billion dollars were saved there. That is, the Belarusian NPP will not cost ten billion, but seven. I can’t imagine how this can be. After all, everything should be calculated to the smallest detail. Every gram of concrete, every screw, it's some sort of a barn!

In addition, it is believed that this is a reference project. In fact, this is far from the case. There are no several-year operating terms of several reactors. Probably, Lukashenka will say that 10 of such reactors were delivered and they have been operating for 1-5 years and there has not been a single incident, but this is not the case here.

- Can we say there is some experiment going on?

- Yes, it seem so. You know, the reasoning of the authors, or, rather, active propagandists of this project does not withstand any criticism and is even ridiculous sometimes.