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核灾30周年:给切尔诺贝利罩上安全外壳

更新时间:2016-4-27 18:30:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

30 Years After Chernobyl Disaster, Shelter Nears Completion
核灾30周年:给切尔诺贝利罩上安全外壳

On the night of April 26, 1986, engineers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in what was then Soviet Ukraine performed a safety test at the plant’s No. 4 reactor. It did not go well.

在1986年4月26日的晚上,在当时的苏联加盟共和国乌克兰的切尔诺贝利核电站,工程师们对4号反应堆进行了安全测试。事情并不顺利。

In a matter of seconds, power inside the uranium-and-graphite core of the reactor surged out of control, setting off a steam explosion that was followed by a fire that spewed radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

几秒钟后,反应堆中铀和石墨堆芯的功率飙升到失控状态,导致蒸汽爆发,随后发生的大火将放射性粒子喷入了大气层。

By official Soviet accounts several dozen plant workers and firefighters died in the immediate aftermath. Thousands more were sickened by radiation, over the short and long term. The surrounding countryside, contaminated by radioactive fallout, was declared off limits to anyone without a pass to get through security checkpoints.

根据苏联的官方描述,数十名车间工人和消防员当即死亡。短期与长期内因辐射而生病的人员数以千计。周围遭受放射性尘埃污染的乡村被划为禁区,没有通行证的人无法通过安检站入内。

On the 30th anniversary of the accident, access within the 18-mile exclusion zone, which includes the abandoned city of Pripyat, is still restricted. But at the plant itself, things are looking up. An arched shelter designed to enclose the radioactive remains of the destroyed reactor is nearing completion.

禁区直径达18英里(约合30公里),被遗弃的城市普里皮亚季也在其中。事故发生30周年之际,要进入这片禁区仍然受到限制。但就核电站本身来说,事情正在好转。一座拱顶已接近完工,它将用来封存毁损反应堆的放射性残留物。

The arch, called the New Safe Confinement, is being built — at a cost of at least $1.7 billion — to last 100 years. Inside, the radioactivity levels will be so high that normal maintenance, like painting, will not be possible. So inside and out, the arch is covered in stainless steel, and dehumidified air will be circulated around the structure’s steel trusses to prevent rust.

正在修建的拱顶称为“新安全壳”(New Safe Confinement),成本达17亿美元,设计寿命100年。那里面的放射性水平极高,像刷涂料这类正常的维护工作是不可能进行的。因此,拱顶从内到外都用不锈钢包裹着,除湿空气将被灌入钢桁架,以防生锈。

It was built several hundred yards from the destroyed No. 4 reactor, and later this year will be slid in place over the reactor building. That will eliminate one of the greatest risks that still exists at Chernobyl: a structural collapse that could raise a cloud of radioactive dust and spread more contamination across Ukraine and into Western Europe.

它在与毁损的4号反应堆相距几百码的地方建造,今年晚些时候,会通过垫轨滑移到反应堆厂房的上方。这将消除切尔诺贝利至今存在的最大风险之一:建筑如果倒塌,可能会产生放射性尘埃云,把更多的污染物扩散到乌克兰各地,进入西欧境内。

But it will also mark the start of a new phase in coping with what is generally considered the world’s worst nuclear power disaster. Inside the arch will be a heavy duty crane and other remote-operated equipment to be used to start removing the crumbling radioactive fuel that remains in Unit 4.

不过,这也将标志着,在应对通常被视为世界上最严重的核灾难的过程中,一个新阶段就要开启。拱顶内部会有一台重型起重机,还有其它一些远程操作设备,用于清除4号反应堆里逐渐衰变的残留放射性燃料。

It will not be an easy task. There is a lot of fuel — 195 tons, by one estimate — along with tons of lead, sand and other materials that were dropped on the reactor by helicopter in a desperate effort to extinguish the fire. It all melted together into a lethal lava-like substance that poured through pipes and holes in the structure and solidified.

这不是一件容易的事。现场除了有大量燃料——有人估计达195吨,还有成吨的铅和沙子等材料。在当年急迫的灭火行动中,直升机将它们投到了那里。所有这些东西混在一起,融化成了致命的熔岩状物质,在建筑物的管道和孔洞里四下流淌,然后凝固。

The government of Ukraine will be responsible for the work, and it is unclear where the money will come from to pay for it, or for a repository that will be needed for the fuel and other highly radioactive waste. It may take much more than another century before the mess started in a few seconds 30 years ago is fully cleaned up.

这项工作将由乌克兰政府负责开展,目前还不清楚资金来自何方,堆放燃料等高放射性废物的仓库的资金也尚无着落。30年前爆发这场事故只花了几秒钟,而要彻底清理它的残渣可能还需要远远超过一个世纪的时间。

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