Light Cover from Chernobyl Control Room

Light Cover from Chernobyl Control Room

This plastic light cover was removed from the Chernobyl control room sometime after the accident by a Soviet physicist who then gave it to Dr. Alvin Weinberg when the latter was visiting Moscow. Initial analysis by gamma spectroscopy indicated the presence of Cs-134, Cs-137 and Ce-144. Today, only the Cs-137 is still detectable. Residual contamination is minimal and fixed.

The following information, kindly provided by Steven Wootten, explains the nature of the light cover:

"23.42 denotes the position within the core which is split into a grid of horizontal and vertical numbers (when displayed vertically on the mimic), the 23 is likely to be the horizontal position and the 42 the vertical."

The following additional information was provided by Csaba Szabo: "This item is really a light cover from a mnemonic display panel of an RBMK control room. Supposedly this item really came from the control room #4 of the ChNPP, as the covers 23-42 are actually missing from both display panel in the CR4 of the Chenobyl plant. The display panel was used to give a general, graphical overview on different physical properties, or functions respectively, of the functional channels in reactor core."

"At the time of the accident, three different colors marked the function of the channels on the display panel:

  1. White lamps: fuel channels
  2. Yellow lamps: fuel channels with power density probes
  3. Green lamps: control rod channels

Red colored indicators were introduced for indicating the state of fast scram rods after the Chernobyl accident."

The item in the collection is white, so it obviously belonged to the fuel channel 23-42.

Donated by Dr. Alvin Weinberg.