The Best Cyprus Community

Skip to content


Chernobyl

Feel free to talk about anything that you want.

Chernobyl

Postby Londonrake » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:01 pm

Not a Cyprus thing, per se, I know but what I found to be an interesting article on the 1986 disaster. A lot of ordinary folk heroism then but a damning indictment of the Government.

It's paywalled, so I have to post it all:

"Experts say only 49 people died during the Chernobyl explosion. Others closer to the disaster put the number at a devastating 150,000. In a new book, Kate Brown goes behind the scenes and discovers widespread cover-ups

At 01:23:48 on 26 April, 1986, 17 employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant were on shift. To carry out a routine experiment, they turned off Reactor No 4’s emergency system, which was, in any case, too slow to prevent an accident. As the operators finished the test, they planned to take the reactor offline for several weeks of routine maintenance.

But on shutdown, the chain reaction in the reactor core went ‘critical’, meaning operators no longer controlled it. The reactor’s power surged. The operators would remember how the thick concrete walls wobbled, plaster rained down and the lights went out.

They heard a human-sounding moan as the reactor bolted and then popped. The blast tossed up a concrete lid, the size of a cruise ship, flipping it over to expose the molten-hot core inside. A few seconds later, a more powerful second explosion sent a geyser of radioactive gases into the Ukrainian night. Plant worker Sasha Yuvchenko felt the thudding concussions and looked up from the machine hall to see nothing but sky. He watched a blue stream of ionising radiation careening toward the heavens. ‘I remember,’ he later reflected, ‘thinking how beautiful it was.’

Photojournalist Igor Kostin risked his life to take photos of men in lead aprons, shoulders down, rushing to extinguish the radioactive inferno. Kostin’s black-and-white images do not show the men’s spooky pallor. High doses of radiation cause spasms in surface capillaries of the skin so that faces look strangely white, as if powdered for the stage.

The accident drew hundreds, then thousands, and finally hundreds of thousands of people towards the disaster zone. Helicopter pilots navigated overhead, dropping 2,400 tons of sand, lead and boron on the reactor to try to snuff out smouldering embers. One helicopter clipped a crane and crashed, killing four men. Soldiers took turns racing on to the roof of reactor No 3 to shovel off the graphite innards of the blown reactor.

Miners tunnelled 90ft under the melted core to build a protective wall. Construction workers created dams to hold back the radioactive Pripyat River. Suspecting sabotage, KGB investigators rifled through filing cabinets, computer records and the minds of survivors dying on their hospital beds. On 27 April, army officers escorted 44,500 residents from the nearby city of Pripyat. In the next two weeks they resettled 75,000 more people from a surrounding 18-mile belt, which was renamed the ‘Zone of Alienation’.

But General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and his advisers did not warn people to stay indoors during the emergency. Photos of families in Kiev, 95 miles south, enjoying the sunny May Day holiday a week after the accident now appear cruelly sardonic. The day before the holiday, radiation levels spiked suddenly in Kiev to 30 mSv/hr (microsieverts per hour), which was more than 100 times higher than pre-accident background levels.

The festivities went ahead as planned on orders from Moscow. The parade lasted all day, as flank after flank of schoolchildren marched, keeping step to the music of brass horns. They carried portraits of leaders they were taught to venerate and trust. The newsreels of the May holiday did not record the actions of two-and-a-half million lungs, inhaling and exhaling, working like a giant organic filter. Half of the radioactive substances Kievans inhaled were retained by their bodies. Plants in the lovely, tree-lined city scrubbed the air of ionising radiation. When the leaves fell later that autumn, they needed to be treated as radioactive waste.

On 6 May, Soviet officials broadcast to the world they had put out the raging fire in the reactor core. ‘The danger is over,’ they announced. That was not true. Classified records show that radioactive gases poured from the disaster site for another week, spiking on 11 May. Soviet officials estimated that three to six per cent of the core vaporised into the air and dropped about 50 million curies of fallout on the surrounding environment. A later study conducted after the USSR collapsed estimated that 29 per cent of the fuel burnt up in the fire for a total closer to 200 million curies of radiation dispersed into the environment. The radioactivity released was 400 times greater than from the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Three months after the accident, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health issued 5,000 copies of a pamphlet addressed to ‘residents of communities exposed to radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl atomic station’. The pamphlet, speaking directly to the reader (‘you’), begins with assurances.

Dear Comrades!

Since the accident at the Chernobyl power plant, there has been a detailed analysis of the radioactivity of the food and territory of your population point. The results show that living and working in your village will cause no harm to adults or children. The main portion of radioactivity has decayed. You have no reason to limit your consumption of local agricultural produce.

If villagers read beyond the first page, they found that the confident tone trailed off:

Please follow these guidelines:

– Do not include in your diet berries and mushrooms gathered this year.

– Children should not enter the forest beyond the village.

– Limit fresh greens. Do not consume local meat and milk.

– Wash down homes regularly.

– Remove topsoil from the garden and bury it in specially prepared graves far from the village.

– Better to give up the milk cow and keep pigs instead.

The pamphlet is actually a survival manual, one that is unique in human history. Earlier nuclear accidents had left people living on territory contaminated with radioactive fallout, but never before Chernobyl had a state been forced to admit publicly to the problem and issue instructions on how to live in a new, post-nuclear reality.

Thirty years on, I picked my way around the ‘beware falling bricks’ sign and went into the Central Ukrainian State Archive in Kiev. Not a lot had changed in the archive since I had last worked there 20 years ago, researching my first book – the same worn, parquet floors, sickly green walls and oriental runner. I asked the woman at the reception desk for public health records on Chernobyl and she laughed. ‘Chernobyl was a banned topic in the Soviet period. You won’t find anything.’

Flipping through the large catalogue, I quickly identified whole collections labelled in plain Ukrainian, ‘On the Medical Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster’. She didn’t know about these records because no one had ever asked for them before. The papers, hundreds of them, contained medical and farm records, statistical reports, transcripts of meetings, official correspondence, petitions and letters.

I soon came across a document that left me bewildered. It was a petition requesting ‘liquidator status’ for 298 people who worked in a wool factory in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. ‘Liquidator’ was a term reserved for people who received significant doses of radioactivity while employed to clean up the Chernobyl accident. I was confounded. How could wool workers, most of them women, in a quiet ‘clean’ town 50 miles from the accident have been liquidators? I drove to Chernihiv to find out more.

Chernihiv, a medieval city of golden cupolas sitting high on a precipice overlooking the Desna River, is too beautiful to be a stage for disaster. The wool factory, dedicated to sorting and washing wool, is another matter. The plant consisted of a dozen large, brick buildings shot through with railroad tracks. It looked like it hadn’t been touched up much since the 1930s.

I and my colleague Olha Martynyuk started asking questions at the manager’s office. The current factory owner called up a factory old-timer, Tamara Haiduk, a retired shift supervisor. She said that in June 1986, the factory was operating at full capacity. Every spring after the annual shearing, 21,000 tons of wool arrived at the loading dock from all over Ukraine.

To manage the deluge, she had three shifts going around the clock, everyone working 12 hours, seven days a week. ‘Very stressful work,’ Haiduk remembered. ‘Two hundred trucks and train cars would be backed up, waiting to unload.’

I asked about radioactive wool. ‘Some wool came in from contaminated areas,’ Haiduk said in a matter-of-fact way, ‘and two dock workers had nosebleeds. Another man, a buyer, felt nauseous. So we called up Moscow. Moscow sent a commission. They measured and we changed our process. After that, any wool that measured over [10 mSv/hr], we pulled off the line and stored it.’

Sometime in the autumn of 1987, Haiduk recalled accompanying a dozen drivers to bury the most radioactive wool in an evacuated village inside the Zone of Alienation. ‘That was it. After 1987, hardly any wool was radioactive,’ she said.

Others recalled it differently. When I asked if we could see the factory’s production line, a woman named Tamara Kot showed up to give us a tour. As soon as we were out of earshot, Kot started talking and her story differed disturbingly from Haiduk’s account.

‘I came to work here in 1986. A year later, my friend got diagnosed with leukaemia. She died soon after that. I think she got sick from the radioactive dust we breathed in. All the dock workers and the drivers, those guys are all dead. They got dosed.’

We climbed the stairs into a dark, cavernous room where women, in blue smocks and masks, stood over tables of wire mesh pulling apart great wads of dirty wool. The women stopped on seeing us enter and gathered around the list I held out. ‘That’s my name and this is Svetlana here. That’s Maria.’ They were the ‘liquidators’ I had found in the Kiev archives. Of 200 women on the list, these 10 were the only ones left."

Londonrake
Regular Contributor
Regular Contributor
 
Posts: 1018
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:19 pm
Location: ROC

Re: Chernobyl

Postby Paphitis » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm

Yeh right. Only 49 died.

We will never know the true extent of the devastation terms of how many people dies, but would not at all be surprised that the death toll so far is in fact 150,000 people plus and still increasing.

We are talking about Russia here.
User avatar
Paphitis
Leading Contributor
Leading Contributor
 
Posts: 23604
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 2:06 pm

Re: Chernobyl

Postby repulsewarrior » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:41 am

thanks for posting.
User avatar
repulsewarrior
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8165
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:13 am
Location: homeless in Canada

Re: Chernobyl

Postby Robin Hood » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:09 pm

Paphitis wrote:Yeh right. Only 49 died.

We will never know the true extent of the devastation terms of how many people dies, but would not at all be surprised that the death toll so far is in fact 150,000 people plus and still increasing.

We are talking about Russia here.


I would tend to agree with you .................. but

FYI: Sorry to disappoint you but NO, we are NOT talking about Russia here!

• Chernobyl is in Ukraine, not Russia. Russia like Ukraine at that time was one of the states that formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics....... or better known as the USSR which ceased to exist in 1991.

• The Chernobyl Reactor was designed by the Russians and there are still about a dozen still working today without serious incident and have been operating for over 20 years.

• The Chernobyl nuclear power complex is/was owned by the Government of Ukraine ..... not Russia!

• The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was operated by the Ukraine State Agency ..... not Russians

• There was one previous cover up by the Ukraine’s of an accident in 1982 on Reactor No.1 and a fire in Reactor 2 in 1991. Both incidents came to light many years after the event.

The one thing you have to remember is that what happened at Chernobyl was an Accident, caused basically by mal-operation, not a design or construction fault. So a bit difficult, even for you, to justify planting the blame on those evil Russians or Putin. :roll:

However, THIS was another one of those nuclear incidents that was deliberately covered up and not only killed thousands of Iraqi’s on a lie, but many coalition personnel have suffered as a result and still do to this day. This is still causing cancer deaths, still births and horrific birth defects, orders of magnitude greater than is deemed normal among the Iraqi population..... and Russia was nowhere in the picture ..... nor Assad ..... AND THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT!!!!

But I don’t suppose you are aware of this event and won’t bother to read about it any way as it is from a site that does not support your anti-Russian views:

Depleted Uranium and Radioactive Contamination in Iraq: An Overview - Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Through this paper, an overview of major scientific DU conclusions will be presented, drawn from investigations and research conducted since the year 1991 by Iraqi researchers and MDs. This research was never published outside Iraq because of the comprehensive sanctions imposed on Iraq from (1991-2003). They were published only in Iraqi University peer reviewed journals and two related conferences. Schemes of the research papers can be classified into three categories
:
1. DU contamination detection and exploration programs.
2. DU effects on human body cells.
3. DU related epidemiological studies.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/depleted-uranium-and-radioactive-contamination-in-iraq-an-overview/5605215
Robin Hood
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 3315
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 7:18 pm
Location: Limassol

Re: Chernobyl

Postby Paphitis » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:53 am

repulsewarrior wrote:thanks for posting.


It was an interesting read.

There are a lot of docos about Chernobyl on YouTube as well. RW.
User avatar
Paphitis
Leading Contributor
Leading Contributor
 
Posts: 23604
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 2:06 pm

Re: Chernobyl

Postby Robin Hood » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:00 am

Paphitis:
There are a lot of docos about Chernobyl on YouTube as well. RW.


There was plenty of info about at the time of this Japanese 'Chernobyl' and even though it was a much larger event, it sort of got played down. It was also an accident like Chernobyl but one that was waiting to happen ...... the authorities just ignored the advice that it was being built in the wrong place!

Cover-up’s it appears are endemic when it comes to nuclear disasters, even if in this modern world, we get a blow-by-blow account of events on our TV’s, a lot of the facts are withheld. It is obvious that only ‘Russian’ events are of importance in the MSM …… you need to look elsewhere for all the other nuclear horror stories as mostly they are not of ‘Russian’ origin.

I would consider that as biased news distribution? :?:

So, from an alternate source ………


March 11, 2011: Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

The Fukushima-Daiichi Disaster, Eight Years ago, March 11, 2011.

In the light of reports pertaining to “unimaginable” levels of radiation, we are reposting this I-Book on the Fukushima tragedy, which has been the object of media coverup and distortion. In the words of Dr. Helen Caldicott, “one millionth of a gram of plutonium, if inhaled can cause cancer”.

The Fukushima disaster in March 2011 resulted in 16,000 deaths, causing some 165,000 people to flee their homes in the Fukushima area.

Both the Japanese and Western media tend to downplay the impacts of nuclear radiation which has spread to vast areas in Northern Japan, not to mention the contamination of the food chain. The Abe government casually points to “harmful rumors”.
Moreover, the dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive contamination.

Amply documented the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was involved in a coverup. And so was the Japanese government.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-nuclear-war-worldwide-nuclear-radiation-2/28870


and another ........

Eight Years Ago: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in Perspective - By Dr. Helen Caldicott

Dr. Helen Caldicott’s March 18th, 2011 press conference in Montreal, sponsored by the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

“One of the most deadly [nuclear by products] is plutonium, named after Pluto, god of the underworld. One millionth of a gram, if you inhale it, would give you cancer. Hypothetically, one pound of plutonium if evenly distributed could give everyone on earth cancer. Each reactor has 250 kilograms of plutonium in it. You only need 2.5 kilograms to make an atomic bomb, because plutonium is what they make bombs with. (Helen Caldicott, March 18, 2011)

This press conference organized by Global Research was held in the context of Helen Caldicott’s public lecture to Montreal on March 18, 2011.

Transcript and 10 min video.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-in-perspective/24730



Both of the above came out at the time of the event but were never published or covered in any detail in the MSM, the general public only ever got the ‘official’ version of events and the dangers they posed.
Robin Hood
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 3315
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 7:18 pm
Location: Limassol

Re: Chernobyl

Postby supporttheunderdog » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:22 pm

I do not think RH understood how the USSR operated, which was very much under centralised control from Moscow, and that was why the Collapse of the USSR was so spectacular. The Supreme Soviet of the USSR was supreme...indeed the collapse of the USSR finally came about when Russia itself under Yeltsin seceded from the USSR.

As it was reports indicate that the RMBK reactors had some serious design issues, in particular The reactor had a dangerously large positive void coefficient of reactivity. The void coefficient is a measurement of how a reactor responds to increased steam formation in the water coolant. Most other reactor designs have a negative coefficient, i.e. the nuclear reaction rate slows when steam bubbles form in the coolant, since as the vapour phase in the reactor increases, fewer neutrons are slowed down. Faster neutrons are less likely to split uranium atoms, so the reactor produces less power (a negative feedback). Chernobyl's RBMK reactor, however, used solid graphite as a neutron moderator to slow down the neutrons, and the water in it, on the contrary, acts like a harmful neutron absorber. Thus neutrons are slowed down even if steam bubbles form in the water. Furthermore, because steam absorbs neutrons much less readily than water, increasing the intensity of vaporization means that more neutrons are able to split uranium atoms, increasing the reactor's power output. This makes the RBMK design very unstable at low power levels, and prone to suddenly increasing energy production to a dangerous level. This behaviour is counter-intuitive, and this property of the reactor was unknown to the crew.
A more significant flaw was in the design of the control rods that are inserted into the reactor to slow down the reaction. In the RBMK reactor design, the lower part of each control rod was made of graphite and was 1.3 metres shorter than necessary, and in the space beneath the rods were hollow channels filled with water. The upper part of the rod, the truly functional part that absorbs the neutrons and thereby halts the reaction, was made of boron carbide. With this design, when the rods are inserted into the reactor from the uppermost position, the graphite parts initially displace some water (which absorbs neutrons, as mentioned above), effectively causing fewer neutrons to be absorbed initially. Thus for the first few seconds of control rod activation, reactor power output is increased, rather than reduced as desired. This behaviour is also counter-intuitive and was not known to the reactor operators.

Basically they were designed to be cheap to build and simple to operate,with relatively less well trained / qualified staff, with shortcuts on safety.

That is not to diminish the concurrent issues of human error, compounded by the general poor Safety culture in the USSR, which involved likely less well trained / qualified staff, who were likely incomptetent to perform this test, as opposed to simply negligent.

As for deaths, the figure of 150,000 has been picked out of the air...the most reliable estimates suggest that there might be 4000 to 6000 premature deaths attributable to Chernobyl by 2065. The number of extra cancer cases is statistically small.
User avatar
supporttheunderdog
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8301
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:03 pm
Location: limassol

Re: Chernobyl

Postby supporttheunderdog » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:22 pm

I do not think RH understood how the USSR operated, which was very much under centralised control from Moscow, and that was why the Collapse of the USSR was so spectacular. The Supreme Soviet of the USSR was supreme...indeed the collapse of the USSR finally came about when Russia itself under Yeltsin seceded from the USSR.

As it was reports indicate that the RMBK reactors had some serious design issues, in particular The reactor had a dangerously large positive void coefficient of reactivity. The void coefficient is a measurement of how a reactor responds to increased steam formation in the water coolant. Most other reactor designs have a negative coefficient, i.e. the nuclear reaction rate slows when steam bubbles form in the coolant, since as the vapour phase in the reactor increases, fewer neutrons are slowed down. Faster neutrons are less likely to split uranium atoms, so the reactor produces less power (a negative feedback). Chernobyl's RBMK reactor, however, used solid graphite as a neutron moderator to slow down the neutrons, and the water in it, on the contrary, acts like a harmful neutron absorber. Thus neutrons are slowed down even if steam bubbles form in the water. Furthermore, because steam absorbs neutrons much less readily than water, increasing the intensity of vaporization means that more neutrons are able to split uranium atoms, increasing the reactor's power output. This makes the RBMK design very unstable at low power levels, and prone to suddenly increasing energy production to a dangerous level. This behaviour is counter-intuitive, and this property of the reactor was unknown to the crew.
A more significant flaw was in the design of the control rods that are inserted into the reactor to slow down the reaction. In the RBMK reactor design, the lower part of each control rod was made of graphite and was 1.3 metres shorter than necessary, and in the space beneath the rods were hollow channels filled with water. The upper part of the rod, the truly functional part that absorbs the neutrons and thereby halts the reaction, was made of boron carbide. With this design, when the rods are inserted into the reactor from the uppermost position, the graphite parts initially displace some water (which absorbs neutrons, as mentioned above), effectively causing fewer neutrons to be absorbed initially. Thus for the first few seconds of control rod activation, reactor power output is increased, rather than reduced as desired. This behaviour is also counter-intuitive and was not known to the reactor operators.

Basically they were designed to be cheap to build and simple to operate,with relatively less well trained / qualified staff, with shortcuts on safety.

That is not to diminish the concurrent issues of human error, compounded by the general poor Safety culture in the USSR, which involved likely less well trained / qualified staff, who were likely incomptetent to perform this test, as opposed to simply negligent.

As for deaths, the figure of 150,000 has been picked out of the air...the most reliable estimates suggest that there might be 4000 to 6000 premature deaths attributable to Chernobyl by 2065. The number of extra cancer cases is statistically small.
User avatar
supporttheunderdog
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8301
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:03 pm
Location: limassol

Re: Chernobyl

Postby Robin Hood » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:39 pm

I bow to your greatly superior knowledge of the design and operation of the Russian designed RMBK reactors. I don't really know much about them but it was not so much what happened but the obvious implied accusation that the cover up was by the RUSSIANS! Paphitis was too hasty to pin the blame on Russia, driven solely by his well known anti-Russian/'Pootin' irrational obsession!

I was sure that the top site management were Ukraine and that the people at the very top level were no doubt based in Moscow. But, knowing how these authoritarian systems work, I would suggested that the cover up was by the Ukraine authorities as they would no doubt try to play down their incompetence. Usually, the method would be to blame someone else ....... often some lowly operator ..... but in this case that would have been Moscow? Oooop's :oops: ....... so they decided to keep as much of it as possible as quiet as possible. The locals would know to keep their mouths shut and the majority, if not all, were Ukrainian's.

I resented such a obvious and deliberate anti-Russian slur and replied accordingly.

I posted the Fukushima articles for interest and as a comparison of the magnitude and thus effect of each incident, and how even in a Western society, a cover-up to protect often those responsible for the event is endemic. :wink:
Robin Hood
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 3315
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 7:18 pm
Location: Limassol

Re: Chernobyl

Postby supporttheunderdog » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:04 am

Here is a picture of a memorial in the Mitinskoye Cemetery in Moscow where most of the known Chernobyl dead are buried. I took this in August when I passed it on the way to visit my Son's and Father in Law's grave.
Mitinskoye Cemetery resize.jpg

Most of those immediately affectedby radiation sickness who were not already dead (andntwo died very fast, because of the blast) were brought to Moscow for treatment: that is why there are 23 graves there.

It is important to be aware that all nuclear facilities were under central Soviet control from Moscow under the All-Union Ministry of Power and Electrification, not Ukranian Control . Also there had been at least 14 serious incidents in USSR atomic power stations, in the 20 years before Chernobyl, including 14 deaths at the Baloklava reactor, in 1985 and a power failure at the Kursk reactor in 1980 that may have prompted the Chernobyl experiment, which involved instigating a power failure.

The man directing the experiment was a Russian, Anatoly Dyatlov. He wrote a book called " Chernobyl: How it was", available on line and readable (just) thanks to google translate. he claims it was down to design flaws. There were indeed design flaws but they were brushed under the carpet as so much was secret about the USSR Nuclear systems that discussing flaws was not tollerated. Theere were also Human failings, but given his role, Dyatlov would wish to minimise them. By all accounts the experiment should have had central approval from Moscow but it had not been cleared with Moscow or even been notified to the on site reps from the Ministry.

The accident occcured at about 0126 26th April. It was too big to hide, and the deputy minister in Moscow was notofied by about 0300 that day.

The USSR tried to conceal it from the world, but "Fall-out" triggered alarms in Sweden on 28th and the USSR then admitted something was wrong.

Note I say USSR not Russia, which was but one state in the USSR, albeit dominant. Putin was not involved. he only arrived after the collapse of the USSR, during Yeltsin's period.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
supporttheunderdog
Main Contributor
Main Contributor
 
Posts: 8301
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:03 pm
Location: limassol

Next

Return to General Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest