Abstract The Chernobyl Disaster incident occurred near the city of Pripyat in the year of 1986. A huge explosion and radiation leak happened at the nuclear plant which caused many casualties and injuries. The incident is known as the worst disaster in the history of nuclear power generation. Years a er the incident, the surrounding area is still suffering the consequences from the lack of safety measures and incompetence of government officials, engineers and plant officials.




Disaster Summary ⬥ A test was being done to see if the turbines were able to keep

the reactor running while the power in the plant was off – and if it could maintain power until the backup diesel generator turned on.

⬥ This lead to a power surge to occur during testing. The reactor grew increasingly unstable and caused shock waves in the building structure.

⬥ As cool water mixed with the hot water, it created so much pressure which caused an explosion and led to the leak of radiation.




Ethical Engineering Problems ⬥ Conflict of Interest ⬥ Lack of communication ⬥ Disregard for safety procedure ⬥ Negligence in Management ⬥ Violation of Duty to Employee & Employer ⬥ Promotion of Irresponsible Conduct




Principal Causes of the Chernobyl Disaster

1. Second rate equipment and Insufficient training

2. Negligence in Management

3. Disregard for Risk and Safety




⬥ Second rate equipment and Insufficient training (Getting the facts)

⬥ On April 25th, 1986, Reactor Four in Chernobyl was to be shut down for testing a safety emergency core cooling feature. Leonid Toptunov was the engineer operator that was controlling the reactor rods during the experiment. [1 & 3]

⬥ Leonid pushed the rods too far in, causing the reactor to almost shut down. Leonid overrode the automatic system and manually pulled the rods back so that the reactor would keep running as a result. [1]

⬥ The power was only around one third of what it should be for the test yet the engineers continued the test anyway. [1] This is a clear violation of Rule 10 under Duty to Client.




⬥ Second rate equipment and Insufficient training Cont. (Getting the facts)

⬥ The reactor engineers turned on the water pumps for the cooling feature. The water flow exceeded the safe limit which dropped the reactor’s core temperature; almost causing the Reactor to shut down. The operator manually removed the control rods to continue the test which caused the reactor the become unstable. Another violation of Rule 10 under Duty to Client. [3]

⬥ The automatic control system should have shut the reactor down, but it had been disabled by the operators. Violation of Rule 5 under Duty to Public. [1 & 3]

⬥ Chernobyl lacked a containment vessel to prevent radioactive particles from going into the air. Rule 1 of Duty to Public. [1]




Disregard for Risk and Safety ⬥ Prior to this event, power plant managers, such as Viktor

Bryukhanov, did not even procure approval for the test. Violation of Rule 14 under Duty to Profession and other Engineers.

⬥ The firemen were uninformed about the effects of the radiation nor how to handle it. Using water only made it worse because it caused more radiation to spread. This is a violation of Rule 5 under Duty to Public.

⬥ Much of the experiment done by inexperienced engineers such as Leonid, who was performed manually without gauges and with disabled automated safety procedures. This is a violation of Rule 2 under Duty to Public and Rule 7 under Duty to Client.




Negligence in Management ⬥ Viktor Brukhanov (head of Chernobyl Power Plant) signed off on the launch

of the 4th Reactor even though a key safety test wasn’t carried out. Violation of Rule 7 under Duty to Client. [7]

⬥ Alexander Akimov was chief of the night shi however, Leonid Toptunov performed the procedure with little to no supervision. Violation of Rule 18 under Duty of Profession and other Engineers. Another violation of Rule 26 and 27 under Duty to Employee and Employer. [1-3]

⬥ Top officials of the plant remained absent a er the disaster. Violation of Rule 2 under Duty to Public. [5]

⬥ Lack of responsibility and ability to organize. This resulted in the disaster not being assessed properly and Moscow officials were unaware of how bad it was until they got there. Violation of Rule 24 under Duty to Profession and other Engineers. [5] 9



What Went Wrong?

⬥ Lack of funding from higher government officials. A containment vessel was lacking and there wasn’t adequate equipment to measure radiation leaks. [1][4]

⬥ 1st safety test for reactor #4 was performed by a sleep deprived Deputy Chief Engineer (Anatoly Dyatlov) and a young reactor engineer (Leonid Toptunov) [7]

⬥ Negligence from power plant officials. The accident was poorly reported. Delayed decision to tell people of Pripyat to evacuate a er the disaster. Took one day for the people to evacuate (April 27). The radiation was detected all the way in Sweden on April 28. [2][6

⬥ The general secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev received a message from a plant official that there was an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and that the reactor was intact. Gorbachev didn’t think it was a big deal and didn’t notify other members of the Soviet Union. In reality, the reactor exploded which sent large amounts of radiation into the air. [6]




What Went Wrong? Cont. ⬥ The engineers who designed the power plant were unethical because they

failed to design a reactor with appropriate safety features. There wasn’t anything to contain the nuclear particles if an accident were to occur. This is the 1st principle of engineering ethics. [1]

⬥ Another code of ethics violated by the engineers was “to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience” The engineers should have gained more knowledge on designing reactors from the Western world before making an unsafe one. [1]

11Right: Picture of Reactor 4 under construction



Ethical Course of Action ⬥ The safety of everyone should be the first priority ⬥ All nuclear reactor designs need to meet the proper safety


⬥ Every employee working in a nuclear plant should be educated on the effects of radiation.

⬥ Make sure all the safety systems are running. ⬥ A clear communication to employees and and the general

public if there are any problems.




Changes After the Disaster ⬥ A er the disaster, the attitude of nations towards nuclear safety

changed tremendously. [8]

⬥ The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) adopted many safety measures to increase nuclear safety in power plants. [8]

⬥ The IAED recommends every nuclear power plant to have safety feature such as having a “containment vessel” to sip radioactive particles from going into the air.

⬥ The RBMK-1000 reactors, which were used in the disaster, underwent design updates to fix the flaws, finding 58 individual issues within the system. [9]

⬥ Engineers added more absorbers to the reactors so that reactions would remain stable at low power. [9]




Conclusion The issues we’ve presented today show that there was a complete failure in ensuring safety of people, including those who were outside of the plant. Not following safety procedures, not communicating to the country of the dangerous radiation, hazardous design of equipment, and failure of supervision by