Soviet officials neglected safety at Chernobyl
Soviet nuclear safety culture deliberately limited the scope of precautions.
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The Maximum Design Accident (MDA) is a term in nuclear safety which refers to the most devastating malfunction a given nuclear reactor is designed to withstand. In order to simplify and streamline their processes, Soviet nuclear safety policies prior to the accident at Chernobyl dictated that reactor designs and operational protocols be based on the most plausible malfunctions, not the worst possible issues; the MDAs of their reactors were correspondingly low. Soviet nuclear plants such as Chernobyl thus had no viable contingency measures available should a more improbable, disastrous problem occur within a reactor facility. This lax philosophy with respect to safety led directly to the Chernobyl disaster.