BEST IELTS General Reading Test 441

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 441

IELTS General Reading Test

ETHICAL ISSUES CONCERNING THE CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR DISASTER

A Catastrophic Nuclear accident, the Chernobyl disaster, a level 7 nuclear accident on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), occurred in the Number 4 light water graphite moderated reactor at theChernobyl Nuclear Power Plant nearPripyat, on 26 April 1986. At that time, this area belonged to theUkrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of theSoviet Union (USSR).

This horrific meltdown has rendered many regions of Ukraine dangerously radioactive, leading to rising cancer rates and straight deaths. The severity of the disaster was a strong blow for the Soviet Government and, since this incident, the global perceptions about nuclear power have changed drastically. The reason for the occurrence was many failures including faults in the reactor design, and poorly informed employees.

IELTS General Reading Test

The major factors that led to the Chernobyl accident were the operation of the reactor at irregular intervals, violation of operating regulations and positive void coefficient characteristic of the reactor, which is a number used to get an estimate of the amount of reactivity of a nuclear reactor that changes along with the voids (typically steam bubbles) forming in the reactor moderator or coolant. In addition, perceptible lack of knowledge in the station staff regarding the characteristics and working of the reactor, substandard control rod design and inadequate monitoring were equally responsible. On the whole, it was the absence of the ‘safety culture’ that resulted in the disaster.

More than 30 people were killed at the place of the accident because of the radiation levels in the surrounding 20-mile radius, and nearly 1,35,000 people were evacuated. The consequences of this accident are being felt even today among which serious medical conditions such as cancer, breathing problems, skin diseases are just a few. Six people per million suffered from cancer before the accident had happened. But the statistics from 1986 – 1997 showed a rise to 45 cases per million.

IELTS General Reading Test

As per the information in possession of the KGB of the USSR, design aberrations and violations of construction norms had occurred at various places in the structure. The pillars in the generator room were erected with a deviation of up to 100mm from the reference axis, and the horizontal connections were missing. Also, there was an irregularity of up to 150 mm in the wall panels.

Even the waterproofing was damaged in many places, and the Deputy Head of the Construction Directorate had ordered to backfill the foundation in those places. The damage could have led to groundwater seepage into the station, and consequently, radioactive contamination of the environment. The necessary attention was not paid to the foundation, and the cement plant operated erratically with a poor output. There were gaps during the laying of the foundation due to inconsistency while pouring of cement.

IELTS General Reading Test

The accident took place while performing an experiment. It was not under the normal regime of operation, and no usual rules applied. Many safety procedures were also being violated as only 6 rods were in function whereas minimum 30 rods had to be used to control the fission of Uranium in the reactor. For the conduction of the test, the reactor should have had a power of 1000 MW but, because of operational error, the power dropped to 30 MW.

The engineers believed that they were fully aware of what was going on. Unfortunately, their judgement was utterly wrong! There was a lack of proper communication between the team in-charge and the personnel responsible for the operation of the nuclear reactor. The reactor became very unstable because of an increase in the coolant flow and a fall in the steam pressure following which, a sudden increase in temperature made the fuel explode as they completely lost control over the reactor.

IELTS General Reading Test

The company was negligent towards its basic duty as no accurate and timely information on possible hazards to the people in the vicinity was provided although the public has a right to such information. People in the leading roles and the sub-staff were not technically trained, and the workers were not even given safety equipment. This holocaust was bound to happen! With there being such grave structural misapprehensions, it seems that the conditions were perfect.

For a nation as large as the then superpower, the USSR, the response to the disaster was not adequately handled, caused primarily due to a combination of a deficiency of foresight to have accurate radiation detection available to rescue crews in the vicinity and, shockingly, the government’s reluctance to admit the gravity of the situation. The whole episode was a tightly knit web of unethical decisions which were taken before, during and after the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Explosion.

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IELTS General Reading Test

Write THREE correct letters ( A – F ).

Which THREE of the following are mentioned in the passage in the context of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Explosion?

A. errors in the operation of the reactor

B. well-defined dimensions in design

C. inaccuracy in measurements of several parts while still under construction

D. likelihood of impurities to prevail through moisture

E. inadequate knowledge of safety measures

F. experts worked in conjunction with the team members

IELTS General Reading Test

Choose

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information given in the passage,

Choose FALSE if the statement contradicts the information,

Or choose NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this.

4.   In spite of the necessary safety supplies, the staff failed to avail it. 

5.   Since its inception stage, dangers of the reactor had been envisaged. 

6.   Large countries or superpowers are distinguished by their handling of adverse situations. 

7.   The Chernobyl event is the most significant example of amoral behaviour by powerful states. 

IELTS General Reading Test

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage in each gap.

A large part of 8_______ is still exposed to radiation, decades after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that took place in 1986. With the explosion, radiation spread up to a 9 _______ in the vicinity. While 30 people died on the spot, more than a hundred thousands 10 _______ . As per records, over a ten-year span following the disaster, there was a drastic rise in the cases of 11 _______  and people are still suffering from respiratory and 12 _______ problems.

IELTS General Reading Test

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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 441

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IELTS General Reading Test

1. A, OR C, OR D

2. A, OR C, OR D

3. A, OR C, OR D

4. FALSE

5. FALSE

6. TRUE

7. NOT GIVEN

8. UKRAINE

9. 20-MILE RADIUS

10. WERE EVACUATED

11. CANCER

12. SKIN

IELTS General Reading Test

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