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Thread: Touring Chernobyl In 2010

  1. #1
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    Jan 2007
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    Default Touring Chernobyl In 2010

    Phoronix: Touring Chernobyl In 2010

    I just returned to the United States after being in Ukraine the past five days over Easter weekend. The purpose of this trip was to explore the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident and surrounding areas -- Kyiv, Pripyat, the Red Forest, etc. Contrary to some initial beliefs, it was not an April Fools' Joke. Due to the great interest in Chernobyl among those interested in science and technology whether it be due to the fascination with nuclear power or finding Chernobyl popularized by video games, documentaries, and the like, I have published my collection of these photographs of Chernobyl showing what the area looks like in 2010 -- just days prior to the 24th anniversary of this catastrophic disaster -- along with some of my thoughts and information collected from this journey.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=14747

  2. #2
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    It's like a real life fallout 3.
    Very interesting to see. I remember seeing pictures of the site where they buried all these military vehicles.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2010
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    Wish they would find a less dangerous power source - too many lives lost. Thou with the current power hungriness of people that ain't gonna happen.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHiRider View Post
    Wish they would find a less dangerous power source - too many lives lost. Thou with the current power hungriness of people that ain't gonna happen.
    The power on the planet is not a little, the people are many.

  5. #5
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    After seeing all those pictures I can't really say a thing...
    It's incredible to imagine what has happened there.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHiRider View Post
    Wish they would find a less dangerous power source - too many lives lost. Thou with the current power hungriness of people that ain't gonna happen.
    Nuclear power is safe, just not the way the Russians did it. A properly functioning (American) nuclear power plant emits less radiation than a Coal power plant. And there aren't very many nuclear disasters, but the ones that occur are widely publicized.

  7. #7
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    A few comments:

    Testing of this nuclear safety feature in April of 1986 turned into this deadly disaster as established procedures were not followed and in the minutes leading up to the accident, emergency warnings were ignored and mistakes were made. There also proved to be several flaws within the design of the Soviet RBMK nuclear reactor and in its construction.
    According to the testimony of Anatoly Dyatlov, all the instruments read normal just six seconds prior to the explosion. Instrumentation was probably inadequate here, as it's considered likely that there was a "hot spot" that formed in the lower half of the reactor which went undetected.

    The RBMK reactor was known to be less stable at low power levels than at high power, and it was originally instructed that they perform the test at about 60% power. However, due to electricity demand they were forbidden to shut down the reactor for several hours after when the test was supposed to start, which caused Xenon to build up (which is a strong poison). The reaction rate tanked, and they removed a bunch of control rods to try and get it back up, finally deciding to run the test at much lower power than anticipated (~14% iirc).

    Again according to Dyatlov, the test completed successfully and the control rods were being reinserted to shut the reactor down after completion. The control rods, however, were tipped with graphite which moderated the reaction and when first inserted actually *increased* the reaction rate. (A fault which was first discovered in an incident at the Ignalina plant).

    Canadian simulations suggest that the control rods were actually able to successfully deactivate the top half of the reactor, but there was still enough material in the lower half that it was able to operate essentially independantly from the top half.

    Worth noting is that none of the reactors at Chernobyl had a containment building, which is effectively an airtight shield made of steel and concrete that covers the nuclear reactor and presents radiation from escaping into the atmosphere.
    The RBMK was a very tall reactor, especially factoring in the fuel cranes on the top, and they didn't consider it practical to add even more to the height by adding a heavy containment to the top. They did, however, have a fairly robust accident localisation system (ALS) for the bottom half of the reactor (a lot of good that did).

    (Sweden was reportedly the first country to notice the increase in airborne radiation)
    Yep - the Forsmark power plant registered somethat higher radiation levels at their detectors and shut themselves down for inspection thinking that they might have had a leak. They didn't find one.

    The sarcophagus did help in preventing greater amounts of radioactive material from escaping into the atmosphere, but it's fallen into a state of disrepair with cracks appearing along the roof and the entire structure is considered unstable and being at a risk of collapse.
    The sarcophagus is built upon the existing structure of the reactor 4 building, which is considered unsound as one of the major supports was severely bent in the explosion. Simulations suggest that a tremor of 7 or above on the Richter scale (which happen in the area about once every 30 years or so) could cause the thing to collapse.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefirstm View Post
    Nuclear power is safe, just not the way the Russians did it. A properly functioning (American) nuclear power plant emits less radiation than a Coal power plant. And there aren't very many nuclear disasters, but the ones that occur are widely publicized.
    Yeah, westernized nuclear power is quite safe. Even after visiting Chernobyl, I still am a strong proponent of nuclear energy production. They are safe, clean, can operate more efficiently than wind or solar energy farms, can ultimately be cheaper than other forms of "clean" energy, etc.

  9. #9
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    How can you call nuclear energy production "clean"? Maybe while running but the biggest problem is the waste. This contaminated crap lasts for longer than one can think. It may be clean for us but the upcoming generations have to deal with the crap we left behind. I personally don't consider this clean. Alternative energy sources are not as efficient but they are a multitude cleaner than nuclear energy in the long run.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlord View Post
    How can you call nuclear energy production "clean"? Maybe while running but the biggest problem is the waste. This contaminated crap lasts for longer than one can think.
    There's Yucca Mountain and other facilities for storing waste for many, many years.

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