Chernobyl (2019) mini TV Series: 5 episodes

Niall

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Yeah, nuclear technology has developed significantly since Chernobyl. And it's mostly the Russians doing it!

US must ‘reassert global leadership’ in nuclear energy or lose out to Russia and China

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) - CNBC, 22 May 2019

If the U.S. does not reassert global leadership in this sector, others will. Russia and China today account for more than 60 percent of new nuclear plants under construction worldwide.

Given the mounting challenges of climate change and geopolitical and national security threats, we cannot afford to allow rival nations to define the nuclear energy landscape.

We must lead...
From the above-cited Orlov article (which is loopy in places - he believes Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima were all deliberately-caused)...

Russia’s Rosatom has perfected the latest VVER-1200 and has a full dance card building, fueling and operating nuclear power plants all around the planet. Since nuclear reactors apparently do melt down sporadically, Russia’s latest ones are fitted with a meltdown tank that stops the reaction and makes clean-up easier, so no more “China syndrome.” And since it does apparently happen that nuclear fuel becomes exposed and generates hydrogen gas, the new reactors have catalytic hydrogen scrubbers installed at the top of the containment vessel, so no more hydrogen explosions either. Rosatom now owns something like 2/3 of the global market for new nuclear energy projects. China has a very ambitious program to build out nuclear generation capacity as well. Add to this the fact that Russia has scored two major nuclear technology breakthroughs.

The first breakthrough was in bringing a fast breeder reactor online: the BN-800 has been in commercial use at Beloyarskaya AES since October of 2016. This is a type of reactor that makes its own fuel and then some from the extremely abundant but generally useless uranium 238. Everyone else who has tried to perfect this technology (the US, France and Japan) has failed and given up. It is a breakthrough because it solves two major problems: mitigating the shortage of naturally occurring uranium 235, and solving the problem of long-lifetime radioactive nuclear waste, which BN-type reactors can burn up until it is safe enough to bury.

The second breakthrough is in the introduction of the closed nuclear cycle. Those who obtain their nuclear fuel through contracts with Rosatom do not have to worry about what to do with spent fuel: after a cool-down period, Rosatom takes the fuel assemblies back for reprocessing. The spent fuel is ground up and the useful elements are extracted, enriched, recombined and used to make new fuel assemblies. With a steady stream of Western nukes being shut down and dismantled about to turn into a flood, simply paying Rosatom to take away the spent fuel provides a good solution where previously there was none, lowering the costs of decommissioning to something that national budgets can conceivably bear.

So, what is there to be done by Western propagandists confronting the situation of the West languishing with no good energy alternatives while Russia’s and China’s nuclear programs are speeding away from them? Why, of course, the choice is obvious: put out a pseudo-documentary based on the fantasy-fiction of a Nobel-prized Grade A Russophobe to smear both Russia and its nuclear industry! Honest competition is too old-fashioned. The new Western way to succeed (or to try but fail) is by knocking out your global competitors using whatever it takes: sanctions, fabrications, smear campaigns… nuclear horror flicks.
 

Beau

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Niall

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Here's a TEDtalk from a guy whose articles downplaying the dangers of nuclear power have been cited a couple of times in this thread: Michael Shellenberger. Now, he believes the man-made global warming schtik, so his activism in this direction is likely colored to some extent or another. Nevertheless, the claims are interesting and worth investigating further...

 

whitecoast

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The fact that wildlife in this 'nuclear wasteland for thousands or millions of years' is basically fine after just 33 suggests that there's a significant gap between public perception of the horrors of nuclear energy and the reality.
What's incredible about the biodiversity studies of Chernobyl is that even the amphibians, whose numbers are declining all over the planet, are even thriving there. It really seems to suggest that organic pollution of air and water is what's causing the most harm to them. Modern industrial societies and the habitat destruction they inflict seems to be doing much worse to wildlife levels than the radiation.
 

Prodigal Son

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About nuclear power... I'm no expert either, but here are a few thoughts.

...

So what are the other options for energy production? Coal, gas and nuclear, basically. Coal has its issues because it causes serious air pollution (not the CO2 nonsense, but real pollution). Gas is great: it can produce lots of electricity, plus it can be dynamically increased or decreased depending on the load. You can't do that with coal or nuclear.

...

All in all, my conclusion so far is this: Gas and nuclear are the way to go to power civilization. But wait... aren't those Russkies doing exactly that?? Surely that must be because they are evil and crazy!!
When I worked in the Nuclear Power Engineering Industry 40 years ago, I remember that it was a well known fact that there was more radioactivity present in an operational Coal-fired Power Station than there was in an operational Nuclear Powered Station. Th real pollution from an operational Nuclear Powered Station is when the fuel is sent offsite for reprocessing. It is the Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing plants that produce the biggest risks in terms of release, or, of safe containment of radioactivity. In the UK, the Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plants had more accidents and releases of radioactivity than any Nuclear Power Station.
 

Mark7

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This thread has created a bit of cognitive dissonance for me as I have been one of those who always thought that nuclear energy is really dangerous. But yeah, learning is fun and it is always good to look at things from new perspectives.

One problem I do have with nuclear energy and other modern power sources is that they are only available, in their current scale, to most people as consumers - but access is easy, and one needs to only know how to pay a bill and throw a switch.

In some distant future, maybe we can access Stonehenge power, or pyramid power... but that would probably require an increase not only in knowledge but also essence - but then we could be active and knowledgable participants and not dumb consumers.

I wonder what other (open-source) energy resources we could develop if we did not spend so much on war.

I did do a bit of research and writing about nuclear energy vs other alternative energy and 'Intermediate Technology' alternatives in school.

Seems that unrefined chicken poop, for example, has almost half the BTUs of an equal weight of gasoline, and chickens are here to help.

 

Niall

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There may also have been a 'coincidental earthquake', picked up by seismographs just before the explosion (though, bizarrely, the explosion itself was not)...

Boris I. Gorbachev
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine


In 1995 a new hypothesis spread in mass media stating that the Chernobyl accident was caused by a ‘narrow beam-like’ earthquake of 3-4 degrees, which took place near CHNPP [Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant] approximately 16–22 secs before the Chernobyl accident, and that this fact was confirmed by relevant seismogram peaks [10].

Scientists, though, rejected this version immediately as unscientific and ill-proved. According to the seismologists’ opinion on the issue, an earthquake of 3-4 degrees with its epicenter in the region north of Kiev is nonsense. But in 1997 a serious scientific report was published [21], containing accurate data on the issue based on the analysis of seismograms obtained from 3 seismic stations located 100 – 180 km from CHNPP.

The data showed that at 01h 23min 39 sec (± 1 sec) local time “a weak seismic event” happened 10 km to the east of CHNPP. The MPVA magnitude of the source defined based on the surface waves amplitudes was coordinated at all 3 seismic stations and was equal to 2.5. Its TNT-equivalent was 10t. It was impossible to estimate the source depth on the basis of the available data.

In addition, the low amplitude levels on the seismograms and the one-way location of all seismic stations with regard to the epicenter gives the geographic coordinates error that cannot be less than 10km. Therefore, this "weak seismic event" could really only have happened at the CHNPP location [21].

These results made the scientists reconsider more attentively the geotectonic hypothesis, because these seismic stations appeared to be the supersensitive ones that could register underground nuclear tests all over the world. Therefore, the fact of an earthquake 10-16 secs before the official moment of the Chernobyl accident became an indisputable argument that no one could ignore. The only strange circumstance with regard to these seismograms was the absence of peaks at the moment of the 'official' explosion of Unit 4.

We can say the following: the seismic devices registered a seismic event no one else noticed, while the Unit 4 explosion, which shook the earth and was felt by many persons, passed the attention of the seismic devices. One has to note that the devices in question are capable of detecting the explosion of some 100t of TNT at a distance of 12,000 km, while the Unit 4 explosion was equal to 10t of TNT and the distance was 100-180km.
 

neonix

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I don't know that the turn of event presented in this documentary is authentic but the part related to the consequences and health effects is very interesting.

Zero Hour: Disaster at Chernobyl Discovery Channel (2004)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITEXGdht3y8
The explosion at Chernobyl was ten times worse than that at Hiroshima and was due to a combination of human error and imperfect technology. Using a real-time split-screen format reminiscent of the hit series, 24, this programme examines the 60 critical minutes leading up to the explosion at the power station on 26th April 1986.

Each minute unfolds narrating the events from the perspectives of key characters involved including Chernobyl's deputy chief engineer and his staff in the control room as well as innocent bystanders, the wife of one of Chernobyl's workers and two fishermen working in Chernobyl's warm waste waters.
With an extraordinary combination of drama and state of the art CGI graphics, Disaster at Chernobyl climaxes with the reconstruction of the final seconds leading to the disaster, the explosion itself and its terrifying aftermath.
Discovery Channel - The Battle of Chernobyl (2006)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5GTvaW34O0
 

Hindsight Man

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Here's a TEDtalk from a guy whose articles downplaying the dangers of nuclear power have been cited a couple of times in this thread: Michael Shellenberger. Now, he believes the man-made global warming schtik, so his activism in this direction is likely colored to some extent or another. Nevertheless, the claims are interesting and worth investigating further...

You know,it's really disheartening to realize that the global warming/climate change myth will persist for my entire life.As Cassies have pointed out,even when the ice age strikes people will blame governments for not doing enough for the climate.
 

genero81

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Interviews with surviving management members of Chernobyl power plant. Could still be disinfo...
 

thorbiorn

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I looked up a book about the Ukraine event in Tjernobyl: Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster. I read some reviews and found one who referred to two books translated from Russian written by Grigori Medvedev a nuclear power engineer who had worked on the construction of the Tjernobyl plant and knew about its weaknesses. The titles are The Truth about Chernobyl from 1991, and No Breathing Room from 1993. The Wiki has this to say about the first book:
The Truth About Chernobyl is a 1991 book by Grigori Medvedev.[1] Medvedev served as deputy chief engineer at the No. 1 reactor unit of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the 1970s. At the time of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, Medvedev was deputy director of the main industrial department in the Soviet Ministry of Energy dealing with the construction of nuclear power stations. Since Medvedev knew the Chernobyl plant well, he was sent back as a special investigator immediately after the 1986 catastrophe.

In his book, Medvedev provides extensive first-hand testimony, based on many interviews, describing minute by minute precisely what was and was not done both before and after the explosion. It has been described[who?] as a tragic tale of pervasive, institutionalized, bureaucratic incompetence leading up to the accident; and heroic, heartbreaking sacrifice among those who had to deal with the emergency afterwards.[2]

The book is the single prime source for much of the actions of the operators, managers, firemen and others who are the actors in the Chernobyl disaster. It is, for example, the prime source for the article "Individual involvement in the Chernobyl disaster".

The book is written not in a documentary style but in a very personal style, often speaking in the first person. While it includes extensive direct quotes from some of those who survived the disaster, it does not include references beyond a bare seven footnotes.

In 1991, it was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Science and technology.[citation needed]
Apparently it really won a prize according to The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology (1989-2018)

The truth about Ukraine has this introduction to the event:

Page 32:
A TEST PROGRAM BYPASSING THE SAFETY RULES

At Chernobyl on that same day, they were preparing to shut down No. 4 reactor unit for scheduled maintenance. According to the
program drawn up by the chief engineer, N. M. Fomin, while the unit was shut down for maintenance, tests were to be carried out
bypassing the reactor safety systems; the equipment in the nuclear power station was to be fully de-energized, with electricity being generated by the kinetic energy of the turbine's rotor blades.

In actual fact, such a test had been proposed to numerous nuclear power stations, but they all refused to take part, on account of the risks involved. However, the people in charge at Chernobyl agreed.

What was the point of the experiment?

If all power is cut off to the equipment in a nuclear power station, as can happen in normal operations, all machinery stops, including the pumps that feed cooling water through the reactor core. The resulting meltdown of the core is a nuclear accident of the utmost gravity.

As electricity must be generated by any means available in such circumstances, the experiment using the residual inert force of the
turbine is an attempt to provide a solution. As long as the turbine blades continue to spin, electricity is generated. It can and must be used in critical situations.

Similar tests—only with the reactor safety systems turned on — had previously been conducted at other nuclear power stations. And everything had gone well. Indeed, I had taken part in them myself on occasion.

Page 33: The schedule for operations of this sort is usually worked out in advance and coordinated with the chief designer of the reactor, the general project manager of the nuclear power station, and Gosatomenergonadzor, the USSR State Committee on Operational Safety in the Nuclear Power Industry (henceforth referred to as the Nuclear Safety Committee). The schedule for such events has to provide for reserve power supply, for the duration of the experiment, to those top-priority systems and equipment that cannot tolerate interruptions lasting more than a split second or a few seconds. The cutoff of energy for the needs of the station itself during the tests is hypothetically assumed, but does not actually take place.

In such circumstances, power for the needs of the station is drawn from the system through the operational and start-up or standby transformers and also through the independent power provided by two standby diesel generators.

Nuclear safety during the tests requires the functioning of both the emergency reactor safety system, which is triggered when certain limits are exceeded and inserts the control rods into the reactor core, and of the emergency core cooling system.

Provided that the established rules were complied with, and auxiliary safety measures taken, such tests at operational nuclear power stations were not prohibited.

I must emphasize, however, that tests involving the inert spinning force of the generator blades should be conducted only after the reactor's emergency power reduction (or "scram") system, designated in Russian by the letters AZ, has been activated by pressing the button for that function. Until then the reactor must be kept in a stable, controllable regime, with the reactivity reserve stipulated in the regulations. The program approved by the chief engineer at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, N. M. Fomin, failed to meet any of these requirements.
His book No Breathing Room is rather remarkable, as it details the battle he had getting his account about Chernobyl published, how he had to deal with censors, and powerful officials. It examplifies some of the points made in the book on Ponerology by Andrzej Łobaczewski. He survived by being both bold, aware and careful, but he also had help from other sources. The following is from page 146-148:
In January 1988 Sovietski Pisatel made up the proofs of The Truth About Chernobyl. Just after they had been read and checked for errors, the editor announced that a letter had arrived from Gosatom. Pursuant to Shcherbina's order all Chernobyl materials were to be sent for approval to Verkhovykh's commission.


"I'm not telling. Blame it all on me! And give me back my manuscript."

"This is terrible. This is all wrong. Why don't we both go to Gosatom and persuade them?"

"They hate me down there. And they hate you, too. They're just in it for their own careers. You, on the other hand, produce literature. I mean you're not publishing a stamp, you're publishing a work of literature."

"But we can't do it without the censors!" he wailed. "Look, are we or are we not going to Gosatom?"

"We're not! Forget it! Let me have my story back, that's all!"

"The commission has been set up, and they will be questioning all journals and publishing houses that have your manuscripts. They'll make sure that you never get into print again!"

I immediately composed a statement addressed to Igor Skachkov, chief editor of the Sovietski Pisatel publishing house. "I hereby withdraw the manuscript of The Truth About Chernobyl. Please deduct any expenses incurred by the printers for typesetting the text of the manuscript from the fees due to me."

There was, naturally, an uproar. But the cordon around me was tightening, and I had to focus on breaking out of my encirclement.

**

By now I was really depressed, and I stayed that way for another couple of weeks. They were closing in on me. What should I do? Where was the way out? I could not abandon what I had already started. But who would support me? On the night of 1 7 February 1 988 I lay down to sleep, utterly exhausted. That night I had a most unusual dream: I was lying on my back on the ground and looking up at the pitch black starry sky. The stars were twinkling, sharp and clear. Suddenly they began to rush from all over the sky toward its highest point, where they formed two beautiful starlit faces, a man and a woman, with huge, bottomless light eyes. The man's face started shrinking and descending, until it came to a halt some thirty meters above me. It stared straight at me. Then, abruptly, a slightly muffled, cavernous bass voice said, "And how is life on Earth?"

"So-so, nothing special. We are fighting," I responded, showing no surprise.

"Wouldn't you like to come up here with us?" (I re- member clearly that he said not "into the sky" but "up here.")

"It's a bit early for me," I answered, as if it were not God's business to decide whether it was early or late or just right. "I still have work to do here on Earth. It's the only one we have in the universe."

"There are plenty of planets like Earth in the universe," the voice said. "So you v won't come and join us?"

"It's a bit early for me," I answered the Lord confidently. For a while the starry male face remained above me, its enormous clear eyes staring searchingly at me. Then the face rose in the sky, growing as it did so, until it stopped next to the woman's face. The woman's face began to shrink and descend to the same altitude, where it stopped above me, staring at me probingly and lovingly, without a word. Compassion was visible in its eyes. Soon the face soared back into the sky, and after a moment both faces vanished among the stars.

When I awoke next morning I was happy and relaxed, my heart filled with joyous energy. For three or four weeks after that, wherever I went I was accompanied by two beautiful faces, my guardians, at my right side, roughly level with my heart.

**

In May 1988 my story "A Living Soul" was published in Ural. In July my book of stories A Moment of Life was put out by the publishing house Sovietski Pisatel, without The Truth About Chernobyl. That same month I received a summons from the Moscow military prosecutor on Rogova, 6 (Military Unit No. 3363), for purposes of investigation. When I phoned him, the prosecutor, Aleksei Khalyavchenko, asked me to come in without delay.

I sat and waited in the corridor of the prosecutor's office. A soldier was seated on either side of the entrance, each with a Kalashnikov across his knees. A tall, solidly built soldier with a stony mien paced to and fro along the corridor. The barrels of the automatic weapons were trained on him.
I could have skipped the last paragraph, but even though he got out of this ordeal, it gives an idea of the trials.
 
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