Chernobyl final shutdown

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On December 15, 2000 at 1:17 pm, President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma gave the order over a television hookup from Kyiv to shut down Unit 3 of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP). A reactor operator pushed a switch activating the automatic safety system of the plant's only working reactor, sending control rods sliding into the reactor core, effectively shutting down the reactor and the entire plant. During the closure, more than 9,000 Chornobyl workers were present.

After the Chornobyl accident, western countries and environmental groups attempted to persuade the Ukrainian authorities to definitively close Chornobyl 3. But it refused to do so, citing the electricity the plant provided and demanding foreign aid in return. Kuchma finally pledged to shut down Chornobyl during a visit by US President Bill Clinton in May 2000.

The closure of Chornobyl 3 eliminated 5 percent of the electricity supply in a nation already deeply in hock to Russia for natural gas and dogged by shortages in its shoddily run power grid. But the worst part of it's that it has eliminated the jobs of thousands of Ukrainians whose work depends, directly or indirectly, on Chornobyl's continued operation as a power plant. Beyond the layoffs at the plant itself, thousands of Ukrainians provide goods or services to Chornobyl workers. As you can see in the video, it was a very sad moment for the workers.

Chornobyl 3 is located in the same building as Chornobyl 4, separated by only a wall. Despite being next to the destroyed Chornobyl 4, Chornobyl 3 continued to work until December 2000 since June 1982 generating electricity for more than 18 years without noteworty accidents.

Chornobyl NPP consisted of four 1,000 MWe RBMK-1000 light water graphite reactors (LWGRs). Chornobyl 1 and 2 being constructed between 1970 and 1977, while Chornobyl 3 and 4 of the same design were completed in 1983. Chornobyl 5 and 6 were under construction at the time of the accident, but were never finished. Chornobyl 4 was destroyed on April 26, 1986, Chornobyl 2 was shut down on October 11, 1991, after a serious turbine building fire, and Chornobyl 1 was shut down on November 30, 1996 as part of a deal between the Ukrainian government and international organizations.

See also: "Post-accident operation and shutdown", Chernobyl NPP.

YouTube link for the video.

(Text from Facebook post by Raphael Telis.)