Nikolai Steinberg (Former Chief Engineer, Chernobyl NPP), "Nuclear Emergenc...
Nikolai A. Steinberg, "Nuclear Emergency Response at Chernobyl: A First-Hand Account"
Abstract: This presentation will review some of the decisions, challenges, and successes during the initial response to the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986. The speaker, appointed to the highest technical post immediately following the accident, had to plan, put together, and manage an enormous organization to mitigate the consequences of the disaster.
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Steinberg, an experienced nuclear specialist, in 1986 was appointed chief engineer of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant immediately following the accident, and he stayed there until he was appointed head of the regulatory agency a year later. In the latter function, he was tasked with investigating the causes of the Chernobyl disaster and in 1991, he was the lead author of what came to be known as "The Steinberg Report." This accident investigation report challenged the original human-error interpretation that a Soviet delegation had presented to the IAEA in 1986, and that had been widely disseminated in the subsequent INSAG-1 report. The Steinberg Report, instead, shifted attention to the reactor type and specifically to flaws in the control rod design, and led the international experts to revise their assessment in the (much lesser known) INSAG-7 report.
Since then, Mr. Steinberg has remained an active, and very prominent, member of the Ukrainian and the international nuclear regulatory and advisory scene. During his visit to the National Capital Region, we will also host a special event on Monday, December 5: a panel discussion will commemorate an important milestone in nuclear emergency management, the 30th anniversary of completing the concrete entombment of Chernobyl’s reactor number 4. Coincidentally, we are also anticipating the completion of the “New Safe Confinement,” a gigantic arch structure that is supposed to slide over and enclose the reactor and its original “sarcophagus,” later this month.
About the seminar series: This lecture continues a speaker series featuring leading international experts on nuclear emergency response. Part of an NSF CAREER grant and hosted by Virginia Tech’s Department of Science and Technology in Society, with generous support from the Office of the Vice President for the National Capital Region.
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