Chinese hail nation’s nuclear safety history

By Lu Wenao and Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/21 23:13:40

HBO TV series on Chernobyl accident

A screenshot of the HBO miniseries Chernobly Photo: Sina Weibo

The HBO TV miniseries, Chernobyl, which depicts the 1986 nuclear disaster, has shed light on the safety of nuclear energy, with Chinese netizens saying China has a history of nuclear safety.

The historical drama, which depicts the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union in April 1986 and the cleanup efforts, has received 9.7/10 points from Chinese film and TV review aggregator Douban.

Some Chinese viewers hailed the volunteer work of engineers Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov and Boris Baranov, who took up a suicidal mission by wading into the radioactive water to open the valves to drain the water, to save the plant from further damage. 

"I was shocked to see people risking their life for others," said Douban user Amber, calling the series "depressing."

But others said viewers should not take every detail in the TV series as historically accurate, with Weibo user LittleAgent citing episode 2 as an example.

He noted that in the episode, a helicopter crashed near the damaged reactor building a day after the accident, when in reality the crash happened in six months later.

Though the episode has not been officially aired in China yet, it has sparked heated discussions on nuclear safety, with many netizens hailing China's clean history in nuclear safety and rapid developments in the field. 

Some highlighted Hualong One, China's self-developed third-generation reactor. 

A nuclear meltdown following the failure of the reactors' cooling system was widely considered the main cause of the Chernobyl disaster, as well as those at Three Mile Island in the US in 1979, and Fukushima, Japan in 2011. 

To prevent such a situation, Hualong One has introduced a passive safety system as a backup for the active system in case of a total loss of power, Xing Ji, chief designer of Hualong One, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"A passive subsystem is located at the top of the reactor building with a high-point tank. In case of a severe accident and failure of the active subsystem, the valves at the bottom of the tank will  open automatically and the water in the tank will flow freely down to submerge and cool the reactor," Xing explained. 

Hualong One's containment also applies an a double-wall structure. 

The outer containment, about 1.8 meters thick, is made of reinforced concrete and withstands aircraft crashes, explosions and missiles; and the internal containment, about a meter thick, is made of pre-stressed concrete that can prevent radioactive substances from leaking in case of accidents.

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