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Chernobyl 25th Anniversary 235

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the quarter-past-holy-crap dept.
ZwedishPzycho writes "Twenty-five years later, and yet again we are worried about a nuclear disaster. There will be plenty of stories out there discussing the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident; here is just one."
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Chernobyl 25th Anniversary

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    After the Chernobyl disaster, a Russian organization of Chiropractors volunteered their time and set up shop in a nearby Ukraine school gymnasium.

    Over 3,500 people visited and had spinal adjustments which helped improve nerve function to the thyroid gland, which is so important with radiation poisoning. NOT A SINGLE PERSON WHO VISITED GOT CANCER!!!

    Think about that next time you visit an "MD". Chiropractic is where it's at.
    • by spun (1352)

      This is a great example of a troll of the "I'm an idiot, please call me such and angrily correct me" type.

      Because we all chiropractic is not where it is at. High colonics are where it is at. Remember, the key to life is to have a healthy colon.

    • by funkatron (912521)

      Source please?

      Failing that: Where were these patients from (how close to the disaster)? What level of radiation were they exposed to? For how long? Would level of radiation exposure significantly increase their cancer risk? How long were the patients followed up on after receiving treatment? Is this long enough for cancer to have developed? etc...

      Sorry for all the questions but you have to appreciate that 0 out of 3500 does sound a bit incredibly low for a cancer rate, doubly so for a cancer rate following

      • by TopSpin (753)

        After the /b/ disaster, a Russian organization of Chiropractors volunteered their time and set up shop in a nearby Ukraine school gymnasium.

        Over 3,500 people visited and had gullibility adjustments which helped improve snark function to the poast gland, which is so important with blog trolling. NOT A SINGLE PERSON WHO VISITED GOT TROLLED!!!

        Think about that next time you visit Slashdot. Chiropractic is where it's at.

  • by He Who Has No Name (768306) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:13PM (#35944616)

    ...looking for a Gravi artifact near these old buildings, see. And the detector keeps pointing me inside, so I go. The roof is gone and the moon is out but I'm staring at the detector instead of looking around.

    All of a sudden I bump into this bloodsucker, and he's taking a leak. I look at him and go "hey, buddy, why are you pissing in the middle of the building?" And he looks back at me and goes "what the hell are you doing in my house?"

    So I look around and realize we're in the middle of a converter room for a substation of the nuclear power plant. There's got to be 10 million volts on the wires in there.

    About then I realize that only in the Zone can you walk right past a bunch of giant warning signs, into a room full of enough electricity to kill you faster than the speed of light, and the only thing out of the ordinary enough to make you notice is a blood sucking mutant taking a whiz."

  • you can see it in postings on this website: technological overconfidence. the inflated sense of mastery over a technology due to technophilia and deriving much personal worth from one's mastery of technology

    which is fine when you are talking about space exploration or computers. but nuclear power?

    the problem is, accidents happen. they always do. no long winded speech on safety will alter the inevitable. corners are cut, economic considerations bypass longterm challenges, things break and fall apart over time. eventually, you have a nuclear accident. well now, it's a matter of the consequences of the accident. well: you blow up an oil supply depot, collpase a coal mine, undermine a dam, etc: these are awful cataclysmic events. and 5 minutes after it happens, its over. but nuclear power, when you have an accident, it stays with you for centuries. that's the big problem with nuclear power

    mankind being too confident in his technological mastery, combined with longterm effects outside of the realm of mankind's normal psychological considerations, and you can see the problem with nuclear power. mankind, in a way, isn't built to handle nuclear power safely, and so we just shouldn't use it

    i'm not saying we have better alternatives. and nuclear is great, when it works. and it works 99% of the time. but the problem with nuclear, when it doesn't work that 1% of the time? unlike every other power source, really terrible consequences stay with you for centuries. and so that 1% changes everything about nuclear power in ways that any conscientious person finds very troubling and sobering

    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:37PM (#35944968)

      when a hydroelectric damn collapses millions can be left homeless and tens or hundreds of thousands can be left dead and it can take years to repair the damage and rehome those left homeless.

      After a regular old industrial accident huge tracts of land can be left unusuable effectively forever when regular non-radioactive poisons and heavy metals leave the land unusable.
      There's lots of mutagens which aren't radioactive but will still give you cancer and deform your children and which have no halflife. they're forever.

      nuclear can be dangerous but fundamentally it's not game changing.
      slag piles and lead don't just stay with us for centuries, there there forever.
      So I'll still go with the nuclear and call for safety systems out the wazoo.

      it's a risk but it's still a lesser risk.

      • Lesser risk? Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rmdyer (267137) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:24PM (#35945672)

        I have to say I'm very much on the fence on this one. In my youth I was definitely against nuclear power, then later I was a strong supporter. Now I'm back to being not sure.
        There's a big problem if, for example, you had perfected the containment process, then out of the blue, a Tunguska sized event (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event) happened nearby (or on top of) your nuclear sites.
        The fallout from that would be impressive.
        A Tunguska sized event is a "lesser risk" that we all live with every day, yet it did happen, and very probably will happen again within a few generations.

        • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @04:59PM (#35946866)

          If a Tunguska sized event happened over the middle of london or washington DC we'd be wishing it had happened over some remote nuclear plant instead.

          hell if one had happened during the cold war over a city it probably would have started world war 3.

          some things are unlikely enough and catastrophic enough that we'd all be fucked no matter what energy source we use.

        • Asteroid and comet monitoring got slightly better since 1908.

          So, although nothing makes another similar event impossible, at least we should be able to see the celestial body in advance and predict the possibility of impact, with increasing accuracy as the date of incident approaches.
          If another Tunguska-like comet is going to impact near a nuclear plant, we will probably see it coming in advance and have enough time to shut down the plant and remove the radioactive fuels.

          There are plenty of other natural ca

      • by nellahj (1020725)
        "when a hydroelectric damn collapses..." the nuclear power plants which rely on the man-made lake created by the damn melt down. Take a look at how many nuclear reactors depend on man-made lakes as their ultimate heat sinks.. Here are the actual requirements: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0037/ML003739969.pdf [nrc.gov] Here is a list of reactors: http://www.animatedsoftware.com/environm/no_nukes/nukelist1.htm [animatedsoftware.com]
        • Sure, a reactor might melt down if you tried to run it at 100% power for a few days with no circulating water to condense the feedwater. But that's why nuclear reactors are made so you can turn them off. When shut down, the backup and tertiary water sources are sufficient to keep the reactors safe.

          • by Glonoinha (587375)

            When shut down, the backup and tertiary water sources are sufficient to keep the reactors safe.*
            --
            Small print :
            * Not valid in case of massive tsunami or Godzilla attack.

      • by owlstead (636356) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:34PM (#35945824)

        You forgot about the waste and the decommissioning of nuclear power stations. The former we haven't solved, and the second, well, lets just say that I don't trust the nuclear industry and the economy enough to be responsible for decommissioning. Then there are things like wars, which tend to alter stuff. Anyone here that wants to decommission a nuclear power plant that is in the middle of a conflict? Or 5m deep in a flood? Hell, even Chernobyl is more than 500 million short for the next concrete sarcophagus, which should last some 100 years.

        • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:42PM (#35945928)

          we have solved the waste problem technically, we just can't get funding for it as anti-nuclear crowd blocks all good research, and development.

          Seriously the last nuclear plant built in the USA was started in 1977. I was born in 1978.

          We literally have 30 years of additional knowledge but are unable to capitalize on it to help solve the problems of nuclear waste because of the anti-nuclear crowd.

          • by owlstead (636356)

            "we have solved the waste problem technically, we just can't get funding for it as anti-nuclear crowd blocks all good research, and development."

            We have solved it but we need money for research? The anti nuclear crowd is blocking funding for decommissioning stuff and managing nuclear waste? Seriously?

            "Seriously the last nuclear plant built in the USA was started in 1977. I was born in 1978."

            Don't worry, you've still got the most nuclear power stations to manage of all the countries in the world.

            "We

            • I think he's making reference to nuclear plant designs which burn the waste from regular plants as fuel like the integral fast reactor.

              the research on that was shut down due in large part to anti-nuclear campaigners. Apparently "no nukes are good nukes" to them even in the case of ones which burn nuclear waste.

              • by owlstead (636356)

                According to most it was shut down because of large overruns caused in turn by technical problems. Which is in some ways sad, because I'm certainly not against research regarding newer reactor technology, even with regard to breeder reactors (which - according to my research so far - are technically more complicated, not safer than the latest regular reactors and don't solve the waste problem, just reduce it).

            • Personally, I'd have phrased it more as 'the anti-nuclear crowd blocks further research, much less implimenting the new developments'.

              I guess we don't need wars as long as there are apologists like you around.

              Apologist? It's pretty much a fact. Imagine if anti-gasoline nuts had blocked the implimentation of fuel injection, unleaded gas, and catalytic converters because their goal was the complete elimination of gasoline as a fuel.

        • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @04:42PM (#35946716) Homepage

          Actually, the waste is a pretty much solved problem if the political process will kindly step aside and let us recover the 95% valuable fuel from the "waste". The remainder needs 200-500 years to decay to background levels.

          I'm pretty sure if a shut down and de-fueled reactor is in a war zone, people are more endangered by the IEDs and bullets whizzing around than by the old nuke plant.

          • by lennier (44736)

            Actually, the waste is a pretty much solved problem if the political process will kindly step aside and let us recover the 95% valuable fuel from the "waste"./quote>

            Where "recover" and "solved" mean "stick it in a very hot fast reactor which requires cooling with exotic substances like liquid sodium, which when it melts down is even worse to try to fix than light water".

            But reactors never melt down so that's not a problem.

            • by sjames (1099)

              Actually, recover means use any of several chemical reprocessing techniques we already know how to perform and then use the resulting fuel in a reactor design tolerant of actinides such as CANDU.

              Using a fast reactor is another option if you want to breed fuel as well and want to be able to use a simpler reprocessing.

              Note that the best designs of fast reactor feature passive cooling, so they don't have meltdowns. They accomplish this by having a sufficiently large pool of coolant that thermal radiation is su

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      unlike every other power source, really terrible consequences stay with you for centuries. and so that 1% changes everything about nuclear power in ways that any conscientious person finds very troubling and sobering

      Clearly you know nothing about coal power. 100% of the time it poisoning the air, making tons of coal ash slurry and killing many miners every year. Even if we include the deaths due to the A-bombs dropped in WW2 Nuclear power is still safer than coal.

    • but nuclear power, when you have an accident, it stays with you for centuries. that's the big problem with nuclear power

      That's part of it, but the other part is the casualties. Nuclear stays for a long time but, say, a big dam failure can kill more people, even if the land soon becomes inhabitable again. Coal releases a lot of harmful materials (and radiation) in normal operation.

      We need a way of generating a lot of power, and nuclear is the best of what we currently have. Though maybe we should build the power plants away from big cities and (more importantly) from areas where earthquakes and tsunamis happen.

      If not nuclear,

    • I think the quote you are looking for goes something like this:

      "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

    • I think Katrina; and the World Trade Center; and the Coal fires in Centralia, Pennsylvania (burning since '62); and the 1969 oil Spill in Santa Barbara; and the 89 Valdiez spill; and the Heyope tire fire (burned for 15 years;) and the Deepwater oil spill; the Bhopal disaster, etc. etc. etc. all disagree with your statement that nuclear desasters are the only energy/transportation disasters that have a long lasting impact.

      Regarding the Centralia coal fires:

      "This was a world where no human could live, hotter

      • I think Katrina; and the World Trade Center; and the Coal fires in Centralia, Pennsylvania (burning since '62); and the 1969 oil Spill in Santa Barbara; and the 89 Valdiez spill; and the Heyope tire fire (burned for 15 years;) and the Deepwater oil spill; the Bhopal disaster, etc. etc. etc. all disagree with your statement that nuclear desasters are the only energy/transportation disasters that have a long lasting impact.

        It should, perhaps, be pointed out that there were several nuclear power plants within

    • by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:57PM (#35946130)

      The two worst nuclear events happened 25 years apart. How many oil spills and coal mine issues have we had? How much more pollution have we pumped skyward?

      You seem to be ignoring the fact that Fukushima went online in the 70s and operated w/o incident until a 9.0 earthquake struck. Chernobyl's safety deficiencies are well documented, so I'll not be addressing them here.

      There are newer reactor designs, materials and technologies that could mitigate the threat of nuclear meltdowns even further.

      Personally I would worry less about dying in a nuclear reactor catastrophe and not get in a car ever again if you're that worried about your safety.

    • by sjames (1099)

      There is an underground coal fire in Centralia. Pa. [coalminingappalachia.com]. It has been burning for decades and will continue burning for the forseeable future. Due to sudden pockets of CO2 and carbon monoxide along with sink holes suddenly opening up (with an intense hell-like fire at the bottom), the entire area is unsafe and will remain so.

      I guess you also forgot about that "little incident" BP had last year where for months they couldn't stop their toxic spew into the Gulf of Mexico and couldn't actually be sure they would ev

      • Since the reactor exploded due to a SCRAM, it might have happened even then. Hell, it almost happened in 1975 at the Leningrad nuclear power plant. It was just a matter of time.

        • by sjames (1099)

          It exploded due to a failed SCRAM after they disabled the automated safety that wanted to SCRAM the reactor much earlier, then pulled out ALL of the control rods (strictly forbidden) attempting to brute force their way past the xenon poisoning. All with the primary coolant shut down in an attempt to get the water hot enough to drive the turbines again. They could have SCRAMed safely right until they drove the reactor to orders of magnitude higher power levels than it was designed for and as a result distort

          • You've got a couple of facts wrong there.
            First, they have not pulled all control rods out, only most of them (which was not forbidden). They also haven't driven the reactor to higher than designed power levels - the reactor was working at 200 MW thermal, which is like 6% of its nominal power. The diesel generator for emergency cooling was also already up and running at the moment of SCRAM.

            Anyway, if the reactor struggles so much to keep power even when most of the control rods are up, then it looks like a s

            • by sjames (1099)

              Actually, there is very little more dangerous than trying to burn past xenon poisoning without the cool down time. As soon as you make headway, the reactor tends to naturally run away (just like what happened). That is, it creates a strong and fast positive feedback situation.

              From http://library.thinkquest.org/3426/data/disaster/timeline.html [thinkquest.org]:

              1:00-1:20 am The operator forced the reactor up to 7% power by removing all but 6 of the control rods. This was a violation of porcedure and the reactor was never built to operate at such low power. The RBMK reactor is unstable when its core is filled with water. The operator tried to take over the flow of the water which was returning from the turbine manually which is very difficult because small temperature changes can cause large power fluctuations. The operator was not succesful in getting the flow of water corrected and the reactor was getting increasingly unstable. The operator disabled emergency shutdown procedures because a shutdown would abort the test.

              So, not ALL were removed, but more than permitted were and under low coolant flow conditions with the automatic SCRAM disabled in an attempt to burn past the xenon poi

    • unlike every other power source, really terrible consequences stay with you for centuries.

      How long does CO2 emitted from burning fossil fuels stay in the atmosphere? How long does the greenhouse effect keep warming the planet even after CO2 emissions are stabiliized? Are there any long-term consequences of global warming that some people would consider "terrible"?

      Blowing up a frog with a stick of dynamite is a lot more dramatic than putting it in a pot of water and gradually increasing the temperature to a boil, but the consequences for the frog in both cases are that its life ends.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:32PM (#35944902)

    A saw a link earlier today to an interesting portfolio [firesuite.com] of pictures of the modern site. It's actually surprising that there are people still living there. Most of them are nuclear workers and associates. But a few eccentrics have apparently moved back to their villages too (the article talks about an encounter with one old lady who lives there, completely cut off and on her own). I also didn't realize that the other reactors of the plant were kept online long after the #4 reactor was entombed (the last reactor wasn't shut down until 2000). It's also amazing to see how much work has really been done to clean the place up (it's now safe to walk around most of the area, with a guide who knows the really nasty "hot spots" anyway).

  • ...and we still haven't been able to top it? What's wrong with the youth today?

  • Horrible article... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corne[ ]edu ['ll.' in gap]> on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:44PM (#35945080) Homepage

    "Nuclear blast"?

    Whoever wrote the article had no clue. Chernobyl consisted of a steam explosion followed by a graphite fire of the exposed reactor core. There may have also been a subsequent brief prompt criticality incident that released less energy than the steam explosion, however the article implies that Chernobyl's radiation release was entirely by a bomb-like nuclear explosion.

    • by owlstead (636356)

      Absolutely true, but I think there would have been a problem with a larger steam explosion if the melting core would have reached water under the reactor. And nuclear blasts aren't that dangerous regarding radiation levels (if anyone within a reach of 50 km is injured, they don't need to be either). Nuclear reactors definitely are, they are basically huge dirty bombs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BlueParrot (965239)

      People keep pretending they are fundamentally different, they're not.

      A runaway nuclear reaction is quite similar to a nuclear bomb, and a poorly constructed nuclear bomb would probably produce a blast of similar yield to the Chernobyl explosion. The main difference between a runaway reactor and a bomb is that the latter is built to optimise the rate of the reaction, and that's also why it has more devastating effects. If the bombmaker is careless and makes some mistake in the design, then the reaction will

  • by AioKits (1235070) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:00PM (#35945346)
    I was a child in Germany when this event occurred and it did manage some interesting changes. I was six at the time and the school I went to had several tents set up outside the school where men in interesting orange, white or yellow suits would give you a once over with a geiger counter before you were allowed in. I know there was another tent set up a distance away for kids who came in 'hot', but I don't honestly remember what went on in the tent as I was always 'clean'. No recess outside for a whole year (a bunch of pent up 6 year olds is a scary thing) and if you were outside, under no circumstances were you to touch anything or put any of the plants (like blades of grass) in your mouth to make whistles. I know there were probably more rules, but I was six at the time and didn't care much outside the "some Russians made it so we can't play outside" angle. Was a military brat. I say this because since then I have read up as much as I can on the incident and am extremely interested in the history behind the disaster. I have even looked into getting one of the CHERNOBYL LIQUIDATOR medals to add to my small collections of all things Chernobyl. The lead up to the actual disaster itself is very fascinating and I encourage people to read into it. It wasn't so much a sudden 'oops!' as it was a lapse in several security and communications measures that lead up to the eventual steam explosion. The descriptions from some of the poor unfortunate first responders is enough to send chills up anyone's spine. Particularly the one I read (looking for link now actually) from a firefighter that died shortly there after describing the sensation as 'millions of hot pins and needles all over ones body'. Other interesting aspects from this were talks of the plant design itself, as well as photos of the nearby towns and abandoned villages. If anything this disaster was a wake up call for a more standardized plant design and communications methodology. My mind doesn't serve me well but the Russians had a habit of making each plant unique (someone correct me if I'm wrong?) and thus how to contain this particular disaster was by the seat of the pants moment. Oh, and if you get a chance, find the remains of the plant via google maps. I am not sure if it is still up but a year ago you could see the concrete tomb from the skies. Also look for some of the 'on site' photography done. The picture of a pipe 'oozing concrete lava' was morbidly fascinating.
    • by AioKits (1235070)
      Sorry for the large wall of text, haven't posted to /. for a while and forgot how to edit my own post.
      • by Glonoinha (587375)

        Get on Steam and buy STALKER : Shadows of Chernobyl (the original). It is a few years old now and I can't imaging it costing you more than a few dollars.
        Play it from start to finish if you want a fairly real feel for what it is like to explore the zone. Seriously - trust me on this one.

    • by owlstead (636356)

      Interesting none the less. I saw some pictures of legs of helicopter pilots of that time (basically having 2nd to 3rd degree burns all over) and I am amazed that anyone would go through that for his fellow citizens, even at gun point. Fortunately, they did not know back then what was going to happen to them. The burns only manifest themselves at a later stage - once you're already done for to be precise. I think some Japanese fire-fighters were also taken in with those burns, and I'm wondering what their cu

    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      You do realize that everything about "radiation dangers" outside of actually affected area (small chunk of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia) was an anti-Soviet propaganda campaign, right?

  • The Chernobyl disaster was part of the plot inspiration for the sixth star trek movie. Just substitute 'Klingon' for 'Russian' and 'Praxis' for 'Chemobyl'.
    Only the Klingons managed to blow up 3/4's of their moon and knock out the power plant for an entire planet.

  • by Archon-X (264195) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @05:11AM (#35950854)

    Had the chance to trapse through Chenobly / Pripryat a few years back - thought some of you guys might appreciate seeing what's what there.

    http://ninjito.com/2008-08-16 [ninjito.com] [Selection of about 20 photos]

    http://ninjito.com/2008-08-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com] [ the famous hotel ]
    http://ninjito.com/2008-08-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-2.jpg [ninjito.com] [ roof of said hotel with the reactor in the background ..

    simon

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