Chernobyl – 40 seconds to Disaster!

Friday May 19, 2006 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, Elgin Street, Almonte

Speaker: Don Wiles

Topic: Chernobyl – 40 seconds to Disaster!


It is now twenty years since the MKBR-4 Nuclear Reactor at Chernobyl, in the Ukraine, blew up and spewed radioactive materials over a large part of eastern Europe. While there were many claims of doom at the time, the actual death rate has been small. This lecture will focus on the things that went wrong to make the incident happen – was it poorly trained operating staff ? Was it bad protocol from Moscow? Was it bad reactor design? A trip through the last hours, minutes and seconds will help us understand what all went wrong. This lecture will be at the level of the intelligent layman, and will explain how things work. Can such an accident happen again? Can it happen here??

Speaker’s Profile:

Don Wiles has taught nuclear chemistry at UBC, Carleton University and other places for about 50 years. While he makes no claim to being an authority on nuclear reactor technology, he does claim to be able to explain most aspects of these complex devices.

To find out more about Don Wiles, visit his personal website:

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