Principal Features of Chernobyl Hot Particles: Phase, Chemical and Radionuclide Compositions

  • B. E. Burakov
  • S. I. Shabalev
  • E. B. Anderson
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science Series book series (NAIV, volume 24)


The accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) 4th Unit on 26 April 1986 was accompanied by the destruction of a reactor core and the release of solid and gaseous radioactive products. As a result of the accident, a part solid radioactive materials of the 4th Unit was dispersed by the explosion. The hot particles released settled on the surface of soil hundreds kilometers from ChNPP in the Sweden [1], Germany [2,7], Poland [2,3,7], Belorussia [4] and in particular, Ukraine [5,6,8]. The size of hot particles vary from one to hundreds microns. The bulk radioactivity of a single particle based on the initial activity calculated for 26th April 1986 might differ by hundreds of kBq. While particle size tends to decrease with increasing distance from the 4th Unit, some relatively large particles of 100–300 micron in size were collected 12 km West of ChNPP. Phase, chemical and radionuclide compositions of hot particles are essentially heterogeneous [1–8]. We have suggested dividing all hot particles into two main groups: 1) fuel particles — with relatively homogeneous matrix consisted of uranium oxides, UO2+x; 2) fuel-constructional particles — with a complex chemical matrix and/or multi-phase composition that is a result of high-temperature interaction between nuclear fuel, (UO2+x), and cladding materials such as zircaloy and stainless steel composed of Fe-Gr-Ni. The temperature could have exceed 2600°C. In some places of Western Plume in Chernobyl region these particles achieve up to 40 % of all hot particles [8]. Radionuclide composition of hot particles depends on the chemical and phase composition of their matrices [1,2,7,8].


Chernobyl Accident Uranium Oxide Fuel Particle Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Radioactive Particle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. E. Burakov
    • 1
  • S. I. Shabalev
    • 1
  • E. B. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Mineralogy and RadiogeochemistryThe V.G. Khlopin Radium InstituteSt. PetersburgRussia

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