Energy 

Inventor Suggests Solution
For Chernobyl Dust Problem

By Ray McAlister

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had an incident that gripped the world with fear of nuclear power. Meltdown of the reactor caused the world's worst peacetime nuclear disaster. This disaster could be a much larger source of pollution if the radioactive dust within what remains of the Chernobyl power plant is allowed to escape.

The threat of radioactive dust escaping from the infamous Chernobyl power plant has captured the imagination of William Culbertson, an inventor from Tempe, Arizona. The Chernobyl facility has remained a ticking bomb after spewing radioactive particles around the world, shortly after the gas cooled reactor was damaged by meltdown and fires in 1986. Radioactive dust covering interior areas will be puffed into the atmosphere when the weakened building collapses. This poisonous cloud of radioactive particles could be an even greater environmental problem than the original accident.

The Chernobyl facility was weakened when the nuclear fuel became overheated and melted through the reactor containment system. The building and furnishings were burned by the fires that followed. Radioactive debris and dust cover the interior surfaces and many volunteers that have tried to deal with the meltdown and clean up have died of radiation illnesses.

Bill Culbertson's suggestion is to fill the entire building with plastic foam. Bill envisions spraying the interior of Chernobyl with the liquid urethane mixture used to make foam roofing. This mixture will expand and incorporate the dust particles into the layers formed by the sticky mass as it foams. As the building collapses the foam will be crushed but the dangerous dust will remain bonded and encapsulated within the foam mass. This will make the disposal safer and prevent the escape of radioactive particles.

When asked about patenting the suggested solution, Bill said he hoped there would never be another place where it is needed. A multimillion dollar prize offered for plans to safely dispose of Chernobyl has gone unclaimed. Bill said he has sent a letter to Alexei Tupolev, the famous Russian aircraft designer and would like to have the authorities that are in charge of dealing with the Chernobyl clean up to contact him about his suggestion. (AHA: (602) 921-0433 or fax: (602) 967-6601.))

(Reprint, Hydrogen Today, Vol 6, No 1 '95)

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