Last month marked the 37th Anniversary of the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster, and many in the nuclear industry and across the world took the time to reflect on the impact of the event.
Ongoing international partnerships are paramount in developing and maintaining ways to ensure the safety and security of both the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and Exclusion Zone. This is especially true in light of the short occupation of the NPP and surrounding exclusion zone in early 2022 by Russian troops as part of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
In March 2023, University of Bristol researchers – in partnership and solidarity with Ukrainian scientists – contributed specialist equipment for the purpose of conducting radiation measurements following liberation of the area. Collaborating on this project were project managers Dr Peter Martin from the University of Bristol and Maxim Saveliev from the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP), along with members of the Interface Analysis Centre (IAC) including Professor Tom Scott and Dmytro Khomenko, and Viktor Krasnov, Head of Division for Nuclear and Radiation Safety at the ISPNPP and Oleksandr Novikov, Deputy Technical Director for Safety.
The result was a continuation of collaboration and cooperation between the teams, and ultimately an investment in the safety of the NPP and exclusion zone. Included in the equipment sent to Ukraine was a Go1 quadruped robotic platform, perhaps more commonly known as a “robot dog”. This can be mounted with sensors and computational units, making it accessible to take radiation measurements in hard to reach or otherwise unsafe spaces. These, alongside specialist PPE, computers and a drone have all now made their way to Ukraine to assist with ongoing work.
Dmytro Khomenko, of the IAC in Bristol, spoke highly of the joint effort: “I would like to note the professionalism of the entire team. There was high coherence and efficiency in solving any problems.”
Previously, University of Bristol researchers have completed visits to the Chornobyl site, utilising the same technology now shared with the Ukrainian team.