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[RU: РБМК-1000 Заводчик реактора], [DE: RBMK-1000 Modell Kernspaltungsreaktor]

The RBMK-1000 model of reactor is an outdated and flawed design and was one of the largest factors in the reactor 4 incident.

Overview on Breeder Reactors[]

RBMK reactor (2)

A diagram of the RBMK-1000 model reactor.

The breeder reactor is a specially designed nuclear reactor that is intended to not only produce power but weapons-grade plutonium as well. These were designed during the cold war so that countries with these breeder reactors would be able to not only supply power to their country but also plutonium so that they could continue their manufacture of a nuclear arsenal. It must be noted that a breeder reactor makes use of the in-fissile Uranium-238 isotope, which is the most abundant isotope (~99%) on Earth. The conventional 'Once-Through' reactor, uses 3% Uranium-235 which has an abundance of 0.7%. Plutonium is created from Uranium-238 in the breeder reactor, which can in turn, be used as a fuel. This more sustainable energy source (with has the capability to be weaponized) can in principle be 60-times more efficient than conventional nuclear reactors.


The United States had abandoned the RBMK-1000 model shortly before the Soviet Union picked up on the idea. By 1970 the USSR had several up and running and were planning to continue to build more, including the Chernobyl power plant, which was supposed to be completed by 1975 but was two years behind schedule. The idea was, during Chernobyl's construction, that if they simply increased the size of the RBMK's, they would thus increase the power output. This thinking was correct but would ultimately have serious consequences.

Human Error[]

Before 3

During the construction of the Chernobyl power plant, the reactors were constructed hastily and with sub-grade materials because the men in charge were in a rush, as they were behind schedule. Many construction workers were injured because of this rushing of the process. In addition, there was a lethal flaw with the reactor design that the Soviet government chose to overlook: it was possible to manually deactivate every single safety system from within the reactor's control room.