Title: Chernobyl: A Visit to the Destroyed Reactor and Its Impact
The explosion of the reactor at Chernobyl in 1986 has led to a better understanding of global atmospheric circulation, and to atmospheric deposition processes related to nuclear debris. The accident also taught us a lot about reactor safety, and how to control nuclear reactions and fires in nuclear facilities. The talk will go over the sequence of the reactor operation and the accident itself, including the causes of the accident. Following the accident, the cloud of radioactive debris circle the globe, and was sampled as it crossed the Pacific Ocean and impacted the Western United States. During a trip to the Ukraine in 1992 the sarcophagus was visited, and the data and information and samples were collected, and will be discussed. The stability of the sarcophagus will be discussed as well as information from the Russians on its future reconstruction. Information will be discussed as to the current information on health effects of the reactor accident to the citizens of the Ukraine and Russia.
Audience Level: Specialists (highly trained), Chemists, Students, General (nontechnical)
Bill Zoller was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on march 3, 1943, but grew up in Alaska during the 1950's and 60's. He graduated in chemistry from the University of Alaska in 1965 and went to graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied nuclear chemistry and graduated in 1969 with a Ph.D. He became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Maryland in 1970 after a brief post doc at the University of Hawaii. He became a Full Professor in 1969 at Maryland, and while there published numerous research papers and led research programs in urban air pollution, volcanic chemistry, and atmospheric chemistry in Antartica. Most of his research has been to use Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis to measure trace elements in samples from the atmosphere. His work also has been with the measurement of radioisotopes in the environment from atmospheric weapons testing and reactor accidents, such as Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union. In 1984 he moved to the University of Washington in Seattle as a Professor of Chemistry where he still works. Within two years of arriving in Seattle, he suffered a serious auto accident in which he suffered a traumatic brain injury that has removed much of his memory of both the past and day-to-day functions. Because he had to learn how to teach freshman chemistry without having a memory himself, he devoted his time to learning how to teach in a different way. He learned to teach chemistry using a computer and the computer PowerPoint program. Since then, he has produced over 500 computer slides for teaching freshman chemistry. These slides are now used with the Silberberg Freshman Chemistry book (McGraw-Hill). Since then, all major textbooks also have obtained computer slides, which the students love!