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Author Topic: Chernobyl - Чернобыль - При́пять - Pripyat  (Read 11905 times)

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Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobyl - Чернобыль
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2009, 10:05:20 AM »
skiingandrunning ,

You can't compare Chernobyl with any other Environmental contaminations.In this competition Chernobyl is a number one in a meaning of a danger.

I think we need an expert opinion in this question.Maybe some experts-here?

(I don't live in Perm by the way).

I am no expert per se, but have degrees in math and physics and have made nuclear power and weapons, and the entire set of industries that support those and etc, an unofficial study and passion of mine.

That being said...

Chernobyl is the worst single event.

However, there were a number of other incidents (or long running practices) that are similarly bad. And they were all uniquely Soviet. Nowhere else in the world can come anywhere close to what the Soviets did.

The Lake Karachay incident is generally considered to be Chernobyl-like.

As was Kyshtym.

As was the wholesale dumping of low, mid, and high level radioactive waste into rivers for years on end.

As was the use of open-cycle cooling systems on reactors (that is, they pumped water out of a convenient body of water or river, through the reactor as coolant, and then just dumped that coolant - radioactivity and trace heavy metals and toxins and all - back into the body of water or river.)

And the wholesale dumping of spent navy nuclear reactor cores and etc into the oceans to the north.

And if the incredible amounts of nuclear waste pumped into the earth near Krasnoyarsk ever starts to leak out of the geologic formations they were pumped into...

Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2009, 10:24:31 AM »

The winds blew most of the Radioactive cloud towards western Europe. In Netherlands it was forbidden to grow spinach due to the high iron content up until 2002!!!


Because of Chernobyl?

Yep, background radiation was upto 20 times higher 2 days after the explosion. Spinach absorbs much iron and therefore caught much more radiation than was safe to consume.


[ Emphasis added by moi... ]

Markje, I am not aiming my comments at you, but I believe this needs to be addressed...

The way I understand it and having looked over the radiological (versus time) maps of the event...

It is an exaggeration to say that Europe took most the hit. Europe *was* hit, and non-trivially at that.

As I've already said elsewhere, non-trivial parts of the Ukraine, Beloruss, and Russia took the bulk of the fallout, and while what happened to Europe (and to a lesser extent the rest of the northern hemisphere as the fallout circled the globe) was tragic, it was also nowhere near as bad.

Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2009, 11:14:54 AM »

Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are the reasons that there won't be any nuclear plants in BC, Canada although Ontario might get a new one if the provincial government has its way. 

The French on the other hand don't seem all that bothered by the problems with Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.  They are happily building nuclear power plants and doing it quite safely. 

Don't know who's right, just as long as I have to turn on a light to read a newspaper in a dark room instead of glowing in the dark.  :laugh: 

Last month in the news, it seems Netherlands, in the year 2001, narrowly escaped a nuke-meltdown in the city of "Petten" , also due to human error.

Luckily, the computer still corrected the error and prevented the meltdown.

It was kept firmly under the lid, until the (now retired) director of the plant wrote his memoires.

For those who understand dutch, it is named 'darwin meets einstein'


Here's my understanding...

Caveat: I have degrees in math and physics but make no claim to be a nuclear power/reactor engineer or physicist. If I err or am incorrect in what follows, please do correct me but leave out the ad hominem attacks...


Unless the Netherlands uses antiquated graphite-moderated reactor designs (ie typical Soviet designs) instead of typical western water-moderated core designs...

A core meltdown (like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island) is not the same kind of event and one cannot happen with the other design.

Water-moderated reactors used in the west are much more fail safe in the sense that *if* there's a loss of coolant (the water) then by definition the moderator (the water) also is lost (because the water is both the coolant AND moderator) and the reactor core moves towards nominal (low) power levels.

In other words, losing coolant means essentially and at least partially shutting down the reactor.

Also, in at least the western designs that I know of, the reactor cores are generally and at least partially fail-safed geometrically.

That is because the voids in the core (gaps between the fuel and control rods, etc) are filled with water which, being a liquid, will flow (even *if* as superheated high-pressure steam) and allow the core geometry to change, and that change in geometry will move the reactors back towards nominal power levels.

Conversely, loss of coolant in a graphite-moderated reactor does NOT equate to a loss of moderator.

Worse yet, because the moderator (which fills the voids in the core) is a solid (graphite), it actually prevents (at least initially and in the absence of some horrendously energetic event) geometric changes in the core.

So if a loss of coolant event is accompanied by physical damage that hampers physically removing the solid (graphite) moderator or various control elements, then the reactor is left in whatever power state it was last in with no coolant and no way to remove the moderator or control elements (and thus no way to lower the reactivity level or control the reactivity at all.)

At that point the reactor will runaway thermally and sooner or later, kaboom!

There's another element of graphite-moderated reactor core behavior that I've been told contributed to the Chernobyl accident (I believe it's known as a negative power coefficient), but I am not well read about that.

Anyways, in a general sense and ignoring the particular details that's what happened at Chernobyl and that's why a Chernobyl-like accident is not really possible in the west.



Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2009, 11:33:25 AM »
This is a great site from a woman who likes to ride her motorcycle through the Chernobyl zone and take pictures:

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/chapter1.html

I've gone over her stuff multiple times.

It is very interesting in it's own right, however...

What is stunning to me is the casual attitude and apparent lack of concern she has when she's walking around with her Geiger counter showing off all the readings that are way, way above background!!!!

When I went through my radiation safety and training classes for the particle accelerator projects I worked on, we were taught (amongst other things)...

Females are at much greater risk of harm from radioactivity than males are, because females are born with their eggs (all future potential offspring) intact.

So, when a female is irradiated, so are those eggs and thus each and every potential future offspring (kid) she might produce.

Males on the other hand do not store sperm and in fact they are replaced every handful of days, so when a male is irradiated so is his sperm, but within a few days those sperm have died and with them the trace effects of the irradiation on them goes away as well.

It is cruel and if nature can be accused of being sexist, then it is that as well. But that makes it no less true.

Offline el_guero

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2009, 11:52:29 AM »
m m m m . . . .

Humanism, not communism, was the core ethos which led the Soviets to play god.

And before we claim the Stalinists as the worse in history, it might do well for us to ask WHY there are at least 5 frozen granaries preserving pre-mutated seed stock . . .

What current humanism is doing will make the Soviet era seem benevolent.

imho that is.



Infection zone radioactive caesium-137.
You can see there Belarus (Homel,Mogilev,Bryansk) also.
Have a look where does your girl live.
I hope everybody knows that a radiation is the biggest factor for a genetic anomalies.

The winds blew most of the Radioactive cloud towards western Europe. In Netherlands it was forbidden to grow spinach due to the high iron content up until 2002!!!


. . .


But the tragic thing is that for all that Chernobyl was bad, it was just the tip of the iceberg as far as how tragically, inhumanly, unfathomably, staggeringly coldhearted and cruel and just plain evil the Soviets were in terms of irradiating huge swaths of the FSU and Rodina Mat (and her peoples) in their pursuit of keeping up with the west.

. . .

The Soviets did the same thing with biological weapons (which were accidentally released in Ekaterinburg and allegedly elsewhere and which they openly experimented with in above-ground unisolated tests on open ground in Kazahkstan), chemical weapons, and the industrial/chemical/nuclear wastes produced by all the industries that produced all those WMDs.

It is a tragic history of staggering proportions and unspeakable inhumanity that is Stalins' and the Communists' legacy, involving the calloused and intentional irradiation (to staggering levels) of arguably a million or more people for no better reason than because they just didn't care.
. . .


Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2009, 12:54:20 PM »
m m m m . . . .

Humanism, not communism, was the core ethos which led the Soviets to play god.

And before we claim the Stalinists as the worse in history, it might do well for us to ask WHY there are at least 5 frozen granaries preserving pre-mutated seed stock . . .

What current humanism is doing will make the Soviet era seem benevolent.

imho that is.

Well, I'd agree that it was not communism per se (as a philosophical ideal) that led to the attrocities.

I was just using the titles those peoples self-identified themselves by.

As to the rest, and not that I necessarily agree or disagree, but that's all conjecture. What the Stalinists did *is* however historical and factual.

Then again, even Stalins' brutality does not match what Mao and the Maoists did, but again that's not the point of the thread.

Offline WestCoast

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2009, 01:20:32 PM »

Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are the reasons that there won't be any nuclear plants in BC, Canada although Ontario might get a new one if the provincial government has its way. 

The French on the other hand don't seem all that bothered by the problems with Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.  They are happily building nuclear power plants and doing it quite safely. 

Don't know who's right, just as long as I have to turn on a light to read a newspaper in a dark room instead of glowing in the dark.  :laugh: 

Last month in the news, it seems Netherlands, in the year 2001, narrowly escaped a nuke-meltdown in the city of "Petten" , also due to human error.

Luckily, the computer still corrected the error and prevented the meltdown.

It was kept firmly under the lid, until the (now retired) director of the plant wrote his memoires.

For those who understand dutch, it is named 'darwin meets einstein'


Here's my understanding...

Caveat: I have degrees in math and physics but make no claim to be a nuclear power/reactor engineer or physicist. If I err or am incorrect in what follows, please do correct me but leave out the ad hominem attacks...


Unless the Netherlands uses antiquated graphite-moderated reactor designs (ie typical Soviet designs) instead of typical western water-moderated core designs...

A core meltdown (like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island) is not the same kind of event and one cannot happen with the other design.

Water-moderated reactors used in the west are much more fail safe in the sense that *if* there's a loss of coolant (the water) then by definition the moderator (the water) also is lost (because the water is both the coolant AND moderator) and the reactor core moves towards nominal (low) power levels.

In other words, losing coolant means essentially and at least partially shutting down the reactor.

Also, in at least the western designs that I know of, the reactor cores are generally and at least partially fail-safed geometrically.

That is because the voids in the core (gaps between the fuel and control rods, etc) are filled with water which, being a liquid, will flow (even *if* as superheated high-pressure steam) and allow the core geometry to change, and that change in geometry will move the reactors back towards nominal power levels.

Conversely, loss of coolant in a graphite-moderated reactor does NOT equate to a loss of moderator.

Worse yet, because the moderator (which fills the voids in the core) is a solid (graphite), it actually prevents (at least initially and in the absence of some horrendously energetic event) geometric changes in the core.

So if a loss of coolant event is accompanied by physical damage that hampers physically removing the solid (graphite) moderator or various control elements, then the reactor is left in whatever power state it was last in with no coolant and no way to remove the moderator or control elements (and thus no way to lower the reactivity level or control the reactivity at all.)

At that point the reactor will runaway thermally and sooner or later, kaboom!

There's another element of graphite-moderated reactor core behavior that I've been told contributed to the Chernobyl accident (I believe it's known as a negative power coefficient), but I am not well read about that.

Anyways, in a general sense and ignoring the particular details that's what happened at Chernobyl and that's why a Chernobyl-like accident is not really possible in the west.



ldelo is the nuclear material from the newest reactors in the west less radioactive for periods less than tens of thousands of years?  Not from any reports that I've read.

We've still got to dispose of the radioactive material and nobody wants to live next to that dump.  Hence no new nuclear reactors will be built without considerable opposition.
Ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge itself is power.   Sir Francis Bacon

Offline el_guero

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2009, 01:29:59 PM »
Conjecture?

With governments spending that kind of money?



m m m m . . . .

Humanism, not communism, was the core ethos which led the Soviets to play god.

And before we claim the Stalinists as the worse in history, it might do well for us to ask WHY there are at least 5 frozen granaries preserving pre-mutated seed stock . . .

What current humanism is doing will make the Soviet era seem benevolent.

imho that is.

Well, I'd agree that it was not communism per se (as a philosophical ideal) that led to the attrocities.

I was just using the titles those peoples self-identified themselves by.

As to the rest, and not that I necessarily agree or disagree, but that's all conjecture. What the Stalinists did *is* however historical and factual.

Then again, even Stalins' brutality does not match what Mao and the Maoists did, but again that's not the point of the thread.


Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2009, 01:40:32 PM »
Conjecture?

With governments spending that kind of money?

Conjecture in that it hasn't happened yet.

Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobil (Чернобыль).
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2009, 02:17:18 PM »
[ ... huge snip ... ]
ldelo is the nuclear material from the newest reactors in the west less radioactive for periods less than tens of thousands of years?  Not from any reports that I've read.

We've still got to dispose of the radioactive material and nobody wants to live next to that dump.  Hence no new nuclear reactors will be built without considerable opposition.

All true, but that has nothing to do with the relatively safety of Soviet era/design reactor technology versus the west and whether or not a Chernobyl-ish accident can happen in the west.

I just tire of the uninformed (or willfull/disengenuous/intentional) tying of Chernobyl to the nuclear situation in the west. It is at best willful ignorance or - given that the facts are so readily available to the very people who claim to be so concerned - cheap rhetoric.

As to the rest, I have read that assuming typical western leakage/spill rates and so on, a coal fired power plant actually puts more radiocativity into the environment per gigawatt than a nuclear plant.

So, we can all collectively lie to ourselves and base important political/social/energy/economic decisions on nothing more than empty rhetoric, or we can have an informed debate.

Personally I'm not overly concerned either way. I have no dog in the hunt and I don't worry a whole lot about nuclear waste (at least as it's handled in the west) nor coal power plants.

Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobyl - Чернобыль
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2009, 02:44:36 PM »
True, and I remember a lady I went to see a couple of times (she lived in Minsk in 1986 and now living in Moscow) telling me a story of how everyone in Minsk was dusting off shoot falling from the air that came from the reactor accident.

[ Shudder... ]

Oh man, that is horrid, aweful in ways I can't find words to describe. Hideous. Monstrous.

That soot was likely at least in part composed of either aerosolized graphite from the reactor core or the byproducts of the graphite combusting and reacting with other materials (including the nuclear fuel) and then carrying *that* around with it.

Man, it just breaks my heart in ways I can't even describe to know what's been done to those hapless people...

I can't dwell on it too long or I end up in tears that just won't stop and even when I've cried myself out my heart still aches in ways that words can't describe.

It's a very long story but that's what initially led me to get involved with things Russian and through that and via a long sequence of events, meeting my ex wife and so on...

Mirror, I'll also say that it's not just the fallout zone, but other areas you need to be concerned with as I visited Karabash which has an active population living in a valley where nothing grows and the drinking water for the city of Chelyabinsk is fed from a stream that flows through that city (tributary of the Mias River).  Even Perm (I think that is your city)  has problems with Hydrogenic Heavy Metals Pollution in the soils.

The two times I was in Russia and for all my travels and all the many people I saw, a major fraction of them had a condition wherein their cuticles and the skin in the corners of their mouths and eyes were all darkened, almost like it was stained or something.

I know it wouldn't wash out/off and it wasn't normal dirt or oils (etc) from manual labor (for example.)

Upon returning to the US I asked various friends etc connected to the medical community about that. While none were willing to say definitively what it is, most of them suggested that it was some form of heavy metal toxicity.

And lastly, I have been told by a Russian that American reliance on genetically modified food will cause huge portions of the population to become sterile in a few generations (my response to her was, "with the levels of pollution in Russia, do you not think the food supply is becoming mutated without science").

Hmmm... I can't imagine a mechanism by which eating foodstuffs derived from genetically modified plants could cause sterility, but that's all outside my depth.

How the toxins and radioactivity and so on in the FSU *could* effect them however is rather self-evident.

Anyways, I think most people going to the former FSU realize that the environment is not always pristine, but I do not think it should keep anyone from deciding to visit or meet someone from there as the human race has used the world as a trash can for a long time and it's not just a Russian problem (e.g. I was in Hong Kong last in 2006 and I was amazed at how bad the smog (from the industrial plants in China) had become since my first visit in 1995). 

I just read recently where China is now discovering tens of thousands of children each in some/many of their more industrialized cities with critically high lead levels.

It's rather unfathomable to me that with a prime example of what unfettered environmental damage can do just to the north and west of them (they need go no further than Chita, for example), the Chinese are nonetheless following a modern version of the Soviet path to industrialization.

[ Edit ] And not to single out the Chinese either. Truth be told and outside the west (including Europe) and relatively few other countries/places/etc, this is the path by which much of the world is industrializing/"modernizing".

Offline el_guero

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Re: Chernobyl - Чернобыль
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2009, 04:04:09 PM »
WestCoast

Safer than coal fired plants?

Just more empty rhetoric . . .

Safer than coal fired plants?

Tell that to property owners around Two Mile Island.

 :coffeeread:

Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobyl - Чернобыль
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2009, 04:28:02 PM »
WestCoast

Safer than coal fired plants?

Just more empty rhetoric . . .

Safer than coal fired plants?

Tell that to property owners around Two Mile Island.

 :coffeeread:

I don't understand the reference to WestCoast.

Was the rest aimed at me???

If so, my responses would be

Safer than coal fired plants?

Not necessarily safer, just that from what I've read they release no more radiation.

Just more empty rhetoric . . .

Within context, that was in reference to people using hyperbole about Chernobyl to create fear when discussing nuclear issues in the west.

However, given that a Chernobyl-like incident is not possible with western-design water-moderated reactors and anyone who claims to be concerned and informed about nuclear issues should know that, that makes those references (by definition) empty rhetoric.

Tell that to property owners around Two Mile Island.

To the best of my knowledge there has never been a reactor facility in the US named Two Mile Island.

If you are referring to Three Mile Island, that incident just makes my point.

In general terms, what happened inside the reactor at TMI (coolant loss, partial core meltdown) was pretty much what happened at Chernobyl.

The difference is that at TMI once the core partially melted down and so on, uhhh... nothing happened. QED.

If by the property owners you are referring to property values around TMI, that has nothing to do with the TMI incident per se and how safe the reactors are except for the irrational fear people have driving real estate prices down.

 :coffeeread:
I'm up for the coffee/read...

 ;D

Offline skiingandrunning

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Re: Chernobyl - Чернобыль
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2009, 06:13:02 PM »
Quote
The Lake Karachay incident is generally considered to be Chernobyl-like.

Idelo, nice addition to the thread as it contained some good information.  I had to smile at the above quote as I was thinking of the poor city of Chelyabinsk as it has so many infamous tourist attractions nearby  :scared0005:.  

Offline ldelo

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Re: Chernobyl - Чернобыль
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2009, 06:35:54 PM »
I hope the point isn't lost in all this that Chernobyl - and more generally what the Soviets did to the FSU and her peoples - was staggeringly horrific.

Mendy's posts in the Belarus/Gomel thread states the President of Belarus claims there are no lingering/residual effects in the Belarus part of the Exclusion Zone, and is on record as saying that Belarus is going to start relocating citizens into the zone.

In a just world before that would happen, the President would be required to live in dacha deep in the "hottest" parts of Belarus Exclusion Zone for a couple years!!