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Chernobyl 25th Anniversary 235

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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  • Re:Oblig (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:27PM (#35944840) Journal

    Just wait until the next major forest fire, when all the radiation the trees and ground have absorbed will be lofted into the air again, to land who knows where, depending on the wind at the time.

  • 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 spun ( 1352 ) <> on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:00PM (#35945354) Journal

    You don't know how it works, and you guessed wrong. []

    I actually want safe, clean nuclear power, but I think people like you are out to destroy any trust normal people might have in the nuclear industry. By continually downplaying any dangers, you make yourself sound like a shrill shill.

  • by treeves ( 963993 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:05PM (#35945396) Homepage Journal

    I did a DuckDuckGo search and yours was the sixth entry in the list that contained the phrase "technological overconfidence". None of them contained all your text of course.
    I suspect 99% is a serious underestimate.

  • 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 ( 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:32PM (#35945802)

    I am not a fan of LNT (Linear, no-threshold model of radiation). But the jury is still out on this one partially due to lack of control and that the effect of other stressors is so much more significant. There is evidence in animals that low levels of radiation is beneficial (above normal background, up to about 20-50mSv/year). There is evidence that variations in background radiation (can be 10,000+%, depending on location, from low to high levels, 1mSv - 200+mSv/year) are not correlated with increased cancer rates - this alone contradicts LNT. There is further evidence that people accidentally exposed to radiation levels may have some positive effects, but that has not been investigated. For example, the death rate of Chernobyl cleanup workers is somewhat lower from cancer than of the unexposed public.

    The evidence for increased cancer rates from Chernobyl is not there - another one against LNT. For example the predicted increase in Leukemia (cancer type that was predicted to peak a few years ago) - well, nothing happened. Thyroid cancers from Chernobyl is another example of where LNT seems to fail. From radiotherapy of thyroid disorders (eg. used to treat hyperthyroidism - same Iodine as in the fallout is intentionally administered to patient to kill the thyroid, but using massive dosages (100,000x what Chernobyl fallout was), it is known that the peak for thyroid cancers is about 28 years after expose. But the rate of thyroid cancer is decreasing contrary to LNT predictions. Actually thyroid caner rate peaked 1 year after thyroid screening program was instituted and that was immediately after Chernobyl. It turns out that wherever there is detailed screening of a population, detected rates of occult caners spikes simply as a side effect of the screening. Anyway, thyroid cancer rates should be increasing now, not decreasing per the LNT model and per our knowledge of latency of thyroid cancer.

    The assumption that LNT must be true is like dogma in general scientific community while in fact it was just selected for ease of understanding back in the early 50s.

    This states there is non-linear relationship to radiation at low levels. This has huge precedence in nature. For example, retinoids are vital to human health but are deadly. Eat a few grams of it and you are dead. This substance is also known as Vitamin A. Selenium is another example of this. There are many more examples of hormesis with different substances. It basically comes down to this. Small amounts are better than little or nothing and large amounts will kill you. That, based on evidence, is what I think applies to radiation too. You DO NOT want to spread nuclear fallout around, but small amounts are not going to kill you (and may even be positive) so stop worrying.

  • 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.

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