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Earth Power Technology

Chernobyl's Sarcophagus, Redux 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-back dept.
Lasrick (2629253) writes "With the news that a multinational consortium is to the halfway point in constructing a huge stainless steel hangar that will sit over the ruined site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, Dan Drollette looks in the archives of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and compares notes on the sarcophagus that was built 25 years ago, and the one that is being built now. 'No one really knows what went into the "concrete cube;" even the amount of concrete claimed to have been used is suspect, as it would form a volume larger than the sarcophagus, wrote nuclear engineer and author Alexander R. Sich in his 11-page article, "Truth was an early casualty."' Let's hope this new sarcophagus lasts longer."
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Chernobyl's Sarcophagus, Redux

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  • um (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:23PM (#46924273)

    No one really knows what went into the "concrete cube;" even the amount of concrete claimed to have been used is suspect, as it would form a volume larger than the sarcophagus

    The core melted a hole through the ground deep enough to hit the water table where it exploded on contact with water, then caused a steam explosion that was so powerful some of the material hit the jet stream. The heat continued causing hydrogen build up and further hydrogen explosions.

    They tried to pour molten lead into the cavity but that just boiled and caused the radioactive steam to also carry lead vapor as well, making it even more toxic. So they gave up and filled it in with concrete. No one has any idea how large the whole was, if there was a chamber at the bottom from the water reservoir or multiple explosions. I don't find it the least bit suspicious that the amount of concrete poured into a random unexplored hole in the midst of the greatest man made disaster in history might be a bit off.

    "Truth was an early casualty."' Let's hope this new sarcophagus lasts longer."

    Apparently sensationalism is still alive and well.

  • by blagooly (897225) on Monday May 05, 2014 @09:39PM (#46924793)
    EPA allows far less than FDA. If they just quietly say they want the EPA levels to match FDA, because why should we have two sets of numbers? Skip the details and complicated reworking of the whole thing, most folks wouldn't even look up from twitter. For example, EPAs Maximum Contaminant Levels assumes regular consumption over 70 years, accepts that one in a million will die. FDAs single dose Derived Intervention Levels accepts 2 in ten thousand. If pesky calculations like this are somehow kept out of the discussion, they might get it done without too much noise. It does legislate away an expensive problem.
  • Re:um (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whois (27479) on Monday May 05, 2014 @10:22PM (#46925043) Homepage

    The core melted a hole through the ground deep enough to hit the water table where it exploded on contact with water, then caused a steam explosion that was so powerful some of the material hit the jet stream. The heat continued causing hydrogen build up and further hydrogen explosions.

    They tried to pour molten lead into the cavity but that just boiled and caused the radioactive steam to also carry lead vapor as well, making it even more toxic. So they gave up and filled it in with concrete. No one has any idea how large the whole was, if there was a chamber at the bottom from the water reservoir or multiple explosions. I don't find it the least bit suspicious that the amount of concrete poured into a random unexplored hole in the midst of the greatest man made disaster in history might be a bit off.

    Please cite sources for the core melting through to the water table. Accounts that I've seen say the steam explosions are from the cooling loop and secondary explosions are due to hydrogen. Most of the dispersal was due to the fire which burned for days.

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