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Power Hardware

What Chernobyl Looks Like In 2010 413

Posted by samzenpus
from the quiet-neighborhood dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The editor of Phoronix.com has toured Chernobyl's Zone of Alienation (the 30km zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant) to see what the area looks like 24 years after the world's largest nuclear disaster. Many photographs from Chernobyl in 2010 have now been published, showing off the power plant and its RBMK reactors, the town of Pripyat, the town of Chernobyl, and the Red Forest. The 24th anniversary of this deadly nuclear disaster will be on April 26."
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What Chernobyl Looks Like In 2010

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:27AM (#31772972)

    ...really? Does a disaster have to be an accident to be classed as a disaster?

  • by thesupraman (179040) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:32AM (#31773006)

    The interesting detail I picked up from this was that Chernobyl continued operation (on other reactors) for 14 years after this disaster.
    The popular view of the accident would be that the area was unusable, and most probably lethal - it would seem not.
    Of course, the wildlife in the area also shows this, however it is interesting how reality gets buried in popular belief.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:36AM (#31773020)
    ... playing one of the Stalker series of games is more fun. Even if the scenery isn't 100% accurate.
  • by spyder-implee (864295) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:49AM (#31773090)
    I don't consider the attacks which ended World War 2 a disaster.
  • documentarys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clemdoc (624639) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:50AM (#31773098)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194278/ [imdb.com] is quite an interesting documentary about the power plant and its surroundings. and not one of these "ohmygodit'sallsoterriblewon'tsomebodythinkofthechldren"-ones either.
  • by mikael_j (106439) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:21AM (#31773244)

    Well, WWII is generally considered to have been a great example of "total war", meaning that there really was no such thing as a civilian, which is also how many political and military leaders, regardless of country, viewed it. After all, how do you determine if someone is a civilian when practically everyone is involved in the war effort in one way or another?

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:29AM (#31773280) Journal

    The popular view of the accident would be that the area was unusable, and most probably lethal - it would seem not. Of course, the wildlife in the area also shows this, however it is interesting how reality gets buried in popular belief.

    Depends on your definition of "lethal". It is not lethal as in "breath there and suffocate, die within 5 minutes". It is lethal as in "die of a cancer within the year if you eat food and drink water from here" or in "live there several years and lose 10 years of life expectancy". Not a barren land, but not exactly hospitable either.

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:33AM (#31773304) Journal
    Depends. If you consider just the number of living animal as a metric, I would say that chicken farms are one of the incredible environment that humans created for animals that are indeed more successful than many others.

    Yes I am ironic. I heard that in Chernobyl, while one can see wild horses, no bird can be heard as they are very sensitive to radiation. Walking into a silent birdless forest is said to be a very strange feeling.
  • by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:35AM (#31773314)

    That's true of the Dresden firebombing also. Actually, it was true of most large-scale WW2 bombings, which were inaccurate and indiscriminate, mostly killing civilians and destroying residential homes. If you want to focus on an atrocity committed against Japan, the Tokyo firebombings were actually considerably worse than the atomic bombings.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:25AM (#31773496)

    The bombing of Dresden has never been legally classified as a war crime.

    The legal classification is pretty much irrelevant, except for a few lawyers and people who get off on patriotic speeches. The same goes for the classification of Hiroshima as "not a disaster".

    As with every war, the victor writes the history. Of course they won't say their actions were bad. It's always the losing party's fault and the winner never did anything wrong.

    That's the way it has been since the dawn of recorded history. Probably one of the reasons history recording started in the first place.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:45AM (#31773610) Homepage Journal

    [citation needed]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:52AM (#31773630)

    Japan didn't surrender after the second one, either. Only when the Soviet Union invaded Japan from the north (Russia is still occupying, and the countries are technically still at war), did Japan surrender -- conditionally! On their part the Americans had refused conditional surrender propositions for months but now quickly accepted. The U.S. also didn't want the Soviet Union to get a foothold in Japan. Besides, the U.S. had already demonstrated the effectiveness of the new awesome weapon so dragging out the war any longer would have been pointless. And besides, there was no third bomb to drop.

  • by icebrain (944107) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:10AM (#31773734)

    Bear in mind a few things from 65 years ago...

    First, nukes were generally not thought of the same way they are now. Essentially, they were just really big bombs, and did not have the reputation they do today.

    Second, the bombs were actually targeted on military targets. Hiroshima and Nagasaki both had large military and/or industrial facilities, and the bombs were intended for those. That a bunch of civilians lived within the lethal radius didn't really matter, and was seen as just bad luck for them at best, and "well, you started it, so tough shit" at worst.

    Third, back then there wasn't much of a concept of collateral damage because there wasn't much of any way to avoid it. It wasn't until fairly recently that it was possible to bomb with enough accuracy to make avoiding civilian casualties possible. The US/Western obsession with trying to avoid civilian casualties through very restrictive ROE and precision weapons is unprecedented in history. Doesn't mean it's wrong, just that nobody else really cared much before.

    Fourth, Japan very nearly didn't surrender after the two bombs. Several high-ranking officers tried what was basically a coup or end-run around the Emperor in an attempt to prevent his surrender message from getting out. They failed, but it was close.

    Fifth, the alternative to not using nukes was invasion, which would have certainly cost far more lives than the bombing. If the Japanese had held to their behavior on other Pacific islands of fighting to the last man, it would have been a very long, nasty struggle with several millions dead. It's likely that the civilian population would have been involved, too.

    Frankly, bombing some barren island in the middle of nowhere wouldn't have had the same effect. You might have a few witnesses seeing a big fireball and a bright flash, but I don't think the power of the weapon would have hit home, so to speak, without actually seeing the majority of a city simply wiped off the map. Without such a demonstration, all the bomb's destructive power is basically just a bunch of numbers too big for the human mind to make sense of.

  • by Bicx (1042846) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:24AM (#31773824)

    During World War II, nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the estimated casualties resulting from the planned Allied invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the sixty-five years following the end of World War II — including the Korean and Vietnam Wars — have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock. There are so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan and United States are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_heart [wikipedia.org]

    Maybe this means nothing, but I'm guessing the estimated number of casualties from invading the old-fashioned way were what motivated the use of atomic bombs. The Japanese fought tooth and nail even when they were defending a speck of land in the Pacific. How much more so their homeland?

  • by ultranova (717540) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:36AM (#31774336)

    In fairness dropping bombs on Japan killed many many more civilians then military people/targets.....massive civilian casualties are not acceptable in any war situation...but then maybe the US things it is?

    Massive civilian casualties are unavoidable in any war that involves halfway equal opponents fighting for real. And while atomic bombing of cities might have been going too far, it should be noted that the Japanese had earned it many times over - the Rape of Nanking [wikipedia.org], the sexual slavery [wikipedia.org] practiced by Japanese military on occupied territories, the human experiments [wikipedia.org], and oh heck, just read the page [wikipedia.org].

    When debating the justness of atomic bombing Japan, this context should be remembered. They were not innocent victims, but fanatical supporters of a regime every bit as bad as the Nazis - in fact, they were staunch allies of the Nazis. And while it's true that innocents were also harmed in the bombings, it's also true that it was Japan that began the war and refused to surrender despite being beaten beyond any hope of victory, so it can be argued that their blood is on Hirohito's hands.

  • by SonnyDog09 (1500475) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:37AM (#31774338)
    Maybe you should read some real history. The war ending slogan of the Japanese Government was "100 million die together." That doesn't sound like they were looking for a way out. The Japanese Army insisted on fighting to the death. It took the combined shock of the second atomic bomb, and the Russian declaration of war to convince Hirohito to "suffer the insufferable." Hirohito told the Army that Japan should surrender, and they want along with his decision because he was Emperor. The second bomb wasn't gratuitous. It ended the war. The alternative would have been to continue to firebomb Japan's cities, followed by a very bloody invasion. A good book on the war from the Japanese perspective is John Toland's "The Rising Sun."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:54AM (#31774542)

    RASCIIIIST!!!!!!!

  • by EvilErik (160738) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:01AM (#31774628)

    From the article

    "
    the Chernobyl nuclear accident led to more than one hundred times the nuclear fallout of what was experienced during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
    "

    Fucking retards

    You make a flawed argument. It may well be that the nuclear fallout was 100 times worse, but Chernobyl was not a bomb. It did not kill ~150000 people outright _and_ also have lasting effects. Lots of people died as a result of Chernobyl, but nowhere near the scale of the two atomic bombings on Japan.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:06AM (#31774672) Homepage Journal

    The Japanese fought tooth and nail even when they were defending a speck of land in the Pacific. How much more so their homeland?

    Going back, there were huge numbers of reports of Japanese fanatism.

    Off the top of my head:

    Kamikaze bombers, Japanese civilians commiting suicide rather than face occupation, suicide attacks by ground forces AND civilians. Reports of civilians being provided arms to resist occupation. Traps and bombs being set up. It was promised to be ugly.

    Remember, it was less than a decade ago that they finally convinced the last Japanese soldier to come out of the jungle.

  • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:29AM (#31774968) Journal

    Warning, a rant born of frustration with the perceived world-wide view of Americans.

    Yeah, we Americans are so ignorant we've never heard of "friendly fire" deaths during war time. We're shocked, I tell you, shocked, that there were American POW's on Japan's main islands and that some of them were killed. About a dozen GI's died in Japan from a US bomb? Oh, no. We didn't know any of the POW's in Japan ever from any kind weaponry. We thought all POW deaths in Japan were due to starvation. Learning this is enough to make us want to start a full-scale revolution as the US government has taught us that only the bad guys ever kill any of the good guys in any war we've ever been in. The US government is far too secretive to actually publish any facts.

    And as far as Americans learning about WWII, well, yeah, all any of us know about that war is what the US government teaches us in its news bulletins. We don't have libraries, a free press, historians, access to WWII government records, curiosity to learn anything on our own, or anything like that. Even if we did none of us would ever use any of those tools as we know the government will tell us everything it wants us to know. It's only foreigners that know anything about American casualties. Here? We're just stupid, ignorant, non-curious rednecks that wait for the government to tell us what we need to know.

    Hell, we don't even know that the US military estimated that there would be at least a million American casualties, and up to 10 million Japanese civilian casualties, if we invaded the Japanese homeland using conventional warfare. We've never figured out on our own that, even as horrific as the numbers are from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a lot fewer people, both Japanese and American, died than would have died if a conventional invasion had taken place. But, that's because we Americans are just so stupid and ignorant of any and all facts.

    None of us learn on our own, or tell any of our fellow Americans what we've figured out. We all just sit in front of the TV breathing through our mouths while we wait for the next government news bulletin.

    OK. End of rant.

    What is such big news to you is well-known by many Americans. I knew these things before I graduated from high-school, and my parents knew it decades before I did. I learned about in the late 60's. Lest you think we knew something only those in academia or government knew, my old man was a timber faller most of his life, with no formal schooling beyond the 8th grade, and my mother was a housewife with a couple of years of college education. I say my old man had no formal schooling beyond the 8th grade, but he read voraciously. He educated himself. We, the family as whole, used the public libraries regularly and had a library of a few hundred books at home.

    Those approximately dozen GI's killed by an atomic bomb? They are a drop in the bucket to the total number of POW's killed through starvation while held on the Japanese homeland. The number is even insignificant when compared to the number of POW's in Japan who died of starvation on a daily basis. A sad event that they died? Yes, but when considered in the big picture, only a single, very small event, when we will most likely never know the total number of American POW's that died in Japan.
       

  • by Khashishi (775369) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:17AM (#31775642) Journal

    Funny how everybody has heard of Chernobyl, the place where a nuclear meltdown directly killed around 59 people. How many people have heard of Benxihu? A coal dust explosion killed 1549 in one day. People probably don't know much about any single coal mining accident because they happen all the time. Even now, coal accidents kill thousands a year. The most recent deadly nuclear accident was about 11 years ago in a Japanese plant, where two workers died.

    Now, I'm talking nuclear power, not weapons.

    Now factoring the relative danger of radiation versus pollution and global warming is pretty difficult. But radiation probably killed a few thousand, whereas coal pollution probably killed millions. Both radiation and carbon will be around for a long time.

  • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @12:12PM (#31777602) Journal

    You're welcome.

    I just couldn't keep quiet any longer. I almost didn't post it though as I wasn't sure how sarcasm that strong would be perceived. I was just sick of the same old crap about Americans being stupid, ignorant of our own history, and that all we know is what we're "taught", when there are most likely more self-taught Americans than there are self-taught people in any country in the world. It's in our history, and thus our genes, to educate ourselves.

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