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  #101  
Old 05-23-2019, 05:22 AM
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They certainly got a dose of radiation, but any amount of distance and/or building structure between you and the source of radiation would reduce that dose. So a firefighter standing next to reactor graphic and showered with radioactive ash is going to wind up much worse off than someone seated behind multiple wall and under and intact roof.
  #102  
Old 05-23-2019, 05:23 AM
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Wasn't everyone in the control room massively irradiated, even if they didn't go check on anything?
Of course they were massively irradiated. 30-50 mSv/hour just in the control room. As for walking around outside, well, the statistics speak for themselves.
  #103  
Old 05-23-2019, 02:51 PM
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A propos the control-room people, that guy Dyatlov was hard-core when it came to shrugging off amounts of radiation which would kill most people:

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Dyatlov was born in 1931 in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In 1959, he graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. After graduation, he worked in a shipbuilding plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, installing reactors into submarines. During a nuclear accident there, Dyatlov received a radiation dose of 200 rem, a dose which typically causes mild radiation sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and reduction in resistance to infections. His son died of leukemia. In 1973, he moved to Pripyat, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to work at the newly constructed Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

On April 26, 1986, Dyatlov supervised a test at Reactor 4 of the nuclear plant, which resulted in the worst nuclear plant accident in history. During the accident, Dyatlov was exposed to a radiation dose of 390 rem (3.9 Sv), which causes death in 50% of affected persons after 30 days. However, he survived. In 1987, he was found guilty "of criminal mismanagement of potentially explosive enterprises" and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He was granted amnesty after five years. He wrote a book in which he claimed that poor plant design, rather than plant personnel, was primarily responsible for the accident. In later reports it was found that Dyatlov threatened some power plant workers with job terminations if they did not proceed with the test that night in Chernobyl, including Aleksandr Akimov, who initially saw the flaws in the reactor and as well the errors on the plans of the test. He died of heart failure in 1995.
  #104  
Old 05-23-2019, 04:43 PM
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They talked about this a little on the podcast--in fact, speculating that his earlier experience caused him to shrug off concerns about radiation exposure as overblown. Amazing.

ETA: So the men from the control room who were shown in a horrific state in this episode did get a significantly greater exposure than Dyatlov, or no?
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Last edited by SlackerInc; 05-23-2019 at 04:45 PM.
  #105  
Old 05-23-2019, 05:34 PM
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ETA: So the men from the control room who were shown in a horrific state in this episode did get a significantly greater exposure than Dyatlov, or no?
Remind me, who was depicted in the episode besides Dyatlov? Toptunov and Akimov? Remember, Dyatlov only looked around outside a bit, while those two spent hours turning valves while knee-deep in radioactive water. While Dyatlov got his 390 rem (enough to kill 50% of people), they received truly massive doses of over 1500.
  #106  
Old 05-24-2019, 02:11 AM
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Ohhh...right.

What about the engineer who got frogmarched up to the roof to look at the reactor and came away with an immediately burned face? Did he not even make it to the hospital?
  #107  
Old 05-24-2019, 03:18 AM
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Was that Sitnikov? He totally died (1500 rad mostly to the head, according to Wikipedia), but not till May 30.

Plenty of time to contemplate one's imminent gruesome, unbelievably agonizing death even with acute radiation overdose. You might even live a week or two, or even longer at lower doses. There are pictures of people lying in that hospital, but you don't want to see them.
  #108  
Old 05-25-2019, 01:10 AM
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Was that Sitnikov? He totally died (1500 rad mostly to the head, according to Wikipedia), but not till May 30.

Plenty of time to contemplate one's imminent gruesome, unbelievably agonizing death even with acute radiation overdose. You might even live a week or two, or even longer at lower doses. There are pictures of people lying in that hospital, but you don't want to see them.

Yes, checking Wikipedia that is his name. On the show, he initially balked at going to that roof because he was already sure the reactor was destroyed. But his higher-ups insisted (while notably not volunteering to do it themselves--they were hanging out in the hardened bunker) and sent a uniformed guard to escort him. The guard remained sheltered around the corner while Sitnikov shuffled uneasily toward the spot where he could look down at the reactor. The shot of his face, burned just from those few seconds of exposure, was for me the most horrifying moment of a very intense pilot episode.

Then they still didn't believe him!

ETA: On Twitter, I noted that the Moscow hospital "definitely needed more euthanasia".

Last edited by SlackerInc; 05-25-2019 at 01:11 AM.
  #109  
Old 05-25-2019, 07:12 AM
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ETA: On Twitter, I noted that the Moscow hospital "definitely needed more euthanasia".
It depends. Without the hospital you're a goner, whereas sometimes there is a chance they can still save you via a bone-marrow transplant, not to mention an array of aggressive medical treatment including cytokines, antibiotics, blood transfusions, stem cells, and the rest.

Depending on your exposure level and amount of damage to your internal organs, no guarantees you will be alive in a year, or a month, but there is not necessarily reason to blow your brains out right at the start.
  #110  
Old 05-25-2019, 08:26 AM
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Did you see the show? I'm talking about the people who basically had no skin.
  #111  
Old 05-25-2019, 04:49 PM
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Did you see the show? I'm talking about the people who basically had no skin.
Sure I saw the episodes. Once you look like that, you're probably screwed. (I'm not morbidly curious enough to compare what was shown to actual photos of the actual victims.) I'll refer to the handy guide published by the International Atomic Energy Agency. There is a category ominously marked "supportive/palliative treatment only". On the other hand, one hopeful footnote says that "With appropriate supportive therapy individuals may survive whole body doses as high as 12 Gy."

By now some of the actual medical records from that hospital must have been released, but I have enough nightmares Our knowledge of how to deal with acute radiation injuries must have been much advanced thanks to multiple Chernobyl victims

Last edited by DPRK; 05-25-2019 at 04:54 PM.
  #112  
Old 05-25-2019, 04:54 PM
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the US has special burn units in some hospitals which I assume would be used for this kind of event. I don't know if they were in that type of unit after Chernobyl.
  #113  
Old 05-25-2019, 05:52 PM
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Did you see the show? I'm talking about the people who basically had no skin.
Unless you have an identical twin who wasn't exposed and is willing to donate skin/marrow/etc. yeah, you're sort of screwed at that point...
  #114  
Old 05-25-2019, 06:00 PM
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And the scientist said your blood vessels are so screwed up, you can't even get morphine for the incredible pain. That's where the euthanasia should come in.

ETA: Mazin noted that one of the people she talked to in the hospital was so messed up, they didn't even show him on screen--just allowing her horrified reaction to stand in. Given how awful the others looked, I can't even imagine.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 05-25-2019 at 06:03 PM.
  #115  
Old 05-25-2019, 06:15 PM
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Stats: out of 115 patients in the hospital, 30% had burns covering 10-50% of the body, and 11% had over 50% of their skin burned. This exposure was often caused by clothes drenched with radioactive water. Out of 28 deaths, 16 had skin injuries listed among the causes; infection caused more than half of the acute deaths.
  #116  
Old 05-26-2019, 10:35 AM
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I'm keeping my HBO subscription a while longer (after GOT) just for this.
+1 This show is excellent.
  #117  
Old 05-26-2019, 02:59 PM
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... I'll refer to the handy guide published by the International Atomic Energy Agency. There is a category ominously marked "supportive/palliative treatment only". On the other hand, one hopeful footnote says that "With appropriate supportive therapy individuals may survive whole body doses as high as 12 Gy."...
12 Gy wholebody at once! And he lived? Was it one of the Chernobyl victims? That's a dose that I would've figured was 100 percent fatal from secondary radiation sickness. I.e., 2 weeks of sloughing off tissue painfully until death.
  #118  
Old 05-26-2019, 04:08 PM
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12 Gy wholebody at once! And he lived? Was it one of the Chernobyl victims? That's a dose that I would've figured was 100 percent fatal from secondary radiation sickness. I.e., 2 weeks of sloughing off tissue painfully until death.
I skimmed through the references given (Exposures and effects of the Chernobyl accident and Medical management of radiation accidents). If I am reading it right, it appears to say that out of 21 Chernobyl patients with average whole-body doses in the 6.5 to 16 Gy range only 1 survived, and he got "only" 8.7 Gy. He received a bone-marrow transplant. So I'm still not sure who was the patient referred to in the footnote who supposedly got 12 Gy and lived even a couple of weeks; the flowcharts seem to indicate that at that acute dose level you're a goner. This is all based on a really cursory look, however, so maybe I am missing something.

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  #119  
Old 05-26-2019, 08:20 PM
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Just started based on your alls recommendation....Jesus Christ, I know its 1986 Soviet Union but do you assholes really not have rad badges and geiger counters all over the place?? I mean I guess it makes sense given the dumbshit experiments they were doing that they just run around all over the place as if they arnt frigging nuclear engineers.
  #120  
Old 05-26-2019, 08:31 PM
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They had Geiger counters, but the only high-limit ones were locked in a safe for some reason. Then they just reported the max reading of the lower limit counters all the way up the chain of command.
  #121  
Old 05-26-2019, 09:15 PM
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They had Geiger counters, but the only high-limit ones were locked in a safe for some reason. Then they just reported the max reading of the lower limit counters all the way up the chain of command.
Very entertaining show.

I'm sure there are some experts YT videos out there to parse the horseshit from realism.
But it doesn't mean it isn't extremely well done and filmed and the tension is almost unbearable.

Edit: Oh i didn't mean to imply the geiger thing was horseshit.

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  #122  
Old 05-26-2019, 10:20 PM
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They had Geiger counters, but the only high-limit ones were locked in a safe for some reason. Then they just reported the max reading of the lower limit counters all the way up the chain of command.
One lesson taught (at least to USN nucs when I was in) from the SL-1 accident was use the highest range setting on the least sensitive unit available. First responders at SL-1 apparently had radiacs set at low range and quickly approached the area, had the alarm sound, and wasted seconds clicking through the ranges to the highest range, alarm sounding the whole time.
  #123  
Old 05-26-2019, 10:35 PM
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I don't know about this "Geiger counter in a safe" business - any independent references to that? - but there was evidently a lack of safety culture both locally at the plant and nationally when it came to nuclear safety.

Supposedly there were two high (as in really high) range dosimeters available in the building, but one was buried in the rubble and the other one was not in working order. The regular low-range dosimeters all read off-scale, of course.

Lack of access to appropriate dosimeters, at least ones that work, and/or not remembering to use them when accessing dangerous areas has been seen in other places and times, for instance IIRC the industrial irradiator accidents in Israel and El Salvador. Let your guard down and start ignoring nuclear safety rules at your peril; next thing you know you're walking into an industrial radiation source without checking your meter or mixing up critical masses of plutonium by hand in a bucket, or blowing up nuclear reactors (and designing reactors made of explodium in the first place).

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  #124  
Old 05-27-2019, 01:35 AM
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Or, like Louis Slotin, messing around with an experiment that killed him and harmed others in the room because his screwdriver slipped.

(This may be my last post ITT until a few months from now.)
  #125  
Old 05-28-2019, 01:10 AM
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I was disappointed they did not depict some of the infamous radioactive pigs:
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Two large emaciated pigs were running in our direction on the narrow little lane from the school along the wall of a long five-story building. They came running up to the car, squealing, crazily touching the wheels and the radiator with their snouts. They were looking at us with poisoned red eyes, they raised their snouts toward us, just as though begging something. Their movements were somehow out of synch, uncoordinated. They were swaying. I poked the counter toward the flank of the hog—50 roentgens per hour. The hog tried to seize the counter in his teeth, but I managed to pull it away. Then the hungry radioactive pigs started to devour the mastiff. It was rather easy for them to tear large hunks from the flank of the corpse, which was already decomposing, pulling the corpse apart and dragging it here and there over the concrete. A swarm of agitated blue flies rose up from where the eyes had been and the parted jaws.
  #126  
Old 05-28-2019, 08:49 AM
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I had to skip the parts where they killed pets. It would be nice to have more than 5 episodes since the show is so good but I guess they felt 5 is enough.
  #127  
Old 05-28-2019, 09:41 AM
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I had to skip the parts where they killed pets. It would be nice to have more than 5 episodes since the show is so good but I guess they felt 5 is enough.
Yeah, I couldn't watch any of that, either. I get that it was mercy killing, but just nope. It did seem to go on for a long time. Can anyone tell us if we missed any important information in those scenes?
  #128  
Old 05-28-2019, 12:18 PM
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It was interesting the soldier said to the non soldier that if he shot an animal he needed to make sure it was dead so it would not suffer. And if he did let it suffer then the solider would kill the other guy , he added he killed a lot of people , I assume in combat. (That's as much of that scene that I watched. )
  #129  
Old 05-28-2019, 01:15 PM
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It was interesting the soldier said to the non soldier that if he shot an animal he needed to make sure it was dead so it would not suffer. And if he did let it suffer then the solider would kill the other guy , he added he killed a lot of people , I assume in combat. (That's as much of that scene that I watched. )
I stopped after he said that killing them was easy, they were so excited to see someone, they would come right to you.
  #130  
Old 05-28-2019, 02:01 PM
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Can anyone tell us if we missed any important information in those scenes?
I just re-watched the entire episode. There was nothing of import to the overall plot in those scenes, in my opinion. Except the soldiers saw a banner that read 'Our goal is the happiness of all mankind.' That's where the title of the episode came from.

I guess that those scenes showed one of the shit ancillary jobs associated with the disaster. But it certainly was a large part of this episode.
  #131  
Old 05-29-2019, 02:08 PM
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I stopped watching when those scenes came on with the killing of the pets. I will fast forward through them in order to watch the rest.
  #132  
Old 05-29-2019, 02:49 PM
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IIRC there is no actual graphic violence, just some bangs and two or three brief shots of corpses, like of the cow at the beginning.
  #133  
Old 05-29-2019, 03:45 PM
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IIRC there is no actual graphic violence, just some bangs and two or three brief shots of corpses, like of the cow at the beginning.
For me, it's not the scenes themselves, it's the feelings. I have way more problems with animal deaths (especially when the animals are trusting the humans not to hurt them) than I do with human deaths in movies and shows. Weird, yes, but it looks like I'm not the only one affected this way. Actually, I'm sure I would react the same way to the killing of a small child, but you very rarely see that.
  #134  
Old 05-29-2019, 04:42 PM
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IIRC there is no actual graphic violence, just some bangs and two or three brief shots of corpses, like of the cow at the beginning.
There are multiple shots of truckloads full of dead dogs, and they're not exactly brief.
  #135  
Old 05-29-2019, 06:03 PM
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For me, it's not the scenes themselves, it's the feelings. I have way more problems with animal deaths (especially when the animals are trusting the humans not to hurt them) than I do with human deaths in movies and shows. Weird, yes, but it looks like I'm not the only one affected this way. Actually, I'm sure I would react the same way to the killing of a small child, but you very rarely see that.
Yup. That was why I was gutshot in GoT when certain animal/WMD got kily.
  #136  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:03 PM
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I think there's a misunderstanding about the danger of the corium reaching the underground water tanks. It wasn't simply a steam explosion they were worried about.

It was that a steam explosion around the corium, in that confined underground space, would compress the fissile material to such an extent that it would become supercritical, resulting in a massive nuclear explosion.

This is how nuclear fission bombs work. The fissile material is compressed by explosives to reach supercritical mass.
  #137  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:28 PM
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I think there's a misunderstanding about the danger of the corium reaching the underground water tanks. It wasn't simply a steam explosion they were worried about.

It was that a steam explosion around the corium, in that confined underground space, would compress the fissile material to such an extent that it would become supercritical, resulting in a massive nuclear explosion.

This is how nuclear fission bombs work. The fissile material is compressed by explosives to reach supercritical mass.
IANANP but I don't believe that's true. For one, weapons grade uranium is at least 85% U235, whereas reactor fuel is about 3% U235. The fissile uranium wasn't pure enough for a nuclear exposion. For two, bombs have to be very carefully designed to compress the fissile material, it's not going to accidentally happen from a steam explosion. Even with bomb grade nuclear material, there's generally no risk from accidental explosions making them go critical. They must be triggered. It's hard enough to make them go boom if you really want them to.

The concern was simply that a steam explosion would be very large, and spew radioactive material all over Europe and Russia.
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:49 PM
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IANANP but I don't believe that's true. For one, weapons grade uranium is at least 85% U235, whereas reactor fuel is about 3% U235. The fissile uranium wasn't pure enough for a nuclear exposion. For two, bombs have to be very carefully designed to compress the fissile material, it's not going to accidentally happen from a steam explosion. Even with bomb grade nuclear material, there's generally no risk from accidental explosions making them go critical. They must be triggered. It's hard enough to make them go boom if you really want them to.
Keep in mind that the quantity of fissile material in a bomb is about 50-100kg, In a reactor it's of the order of 30 tons. Even though the corium is very impure, the large mass would make an out-of-control fission reaction possible. Even if not compressed, this mass can result in a meltdown. But compressed by a conventional explosion, it could result in nuclear explosion.
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:02 PM
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Update: It seems Chernobyl reactor 4 contained 200 tons of nuclear fuel.
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:07 PM
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Keep in mind that the quantity of fissile material in a bomb is about 50-100kg, In a reactor it's of the order of 30 tons. Even though the corium is very impure, the large mass would make an out-of-control fission reaction possible. Even if not compressed, this mass can result in a meltdown. But compressed by a conventional explosion, it could result in nuclear explosion.
Mmmm....yeahhhh.....nooo. I'm gonna need a cite on that beyond the show writers.
  #141  
Old 05-31-2019, 02:57 PM
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Keep in mind that the quantity of fissile material in a bomb is about 50-100kg, In a reactor it's of the order of 30 tons. Even though the corium is very impure, the large mass would make an out-of-control fission reaction possible. Even if not compressed, this mass can result in a meltdown. But compressed by a conventional explosion, it could result in nuclear explosion.
Also, don't you need to bombard the critical mass with neutrons to start the chain reaction? I think I remember reading something like that in Forsyth's "The Fourth Protocol".
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Old 05-31-2019, 03:57 PM
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You don't even necessarily need another "nuclear explosion" to ruin everybody's day. Just imagine anything at all causing the reactor building to collapse (more), disturbing the contents and releasing that much more radioactive crap into the environment.
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:17 PM
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Update: It seems Chernobyl reactor 4 contained 200 tons of nuclear fuel.
Not applicable.

200 tons (where is that number from?) would not be enriched.

Neither is it one or two uranium ingots. It is either in what remains of a fuel assembly, or it is mixed in with the solidified remains of whatever melted (corium).

A fission bomb event was not going to happen. Period.

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  #144  
Old 05-31-2019, 04:28 PM
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We were discussing this a bit earlier.

Obviously, a nuclear reactor core is not built anything like a fission bomb with its multi-kiloton explosive energy output. On the other hand, it is possible for nuclear reactors to go critical; that's basically how they normally operate.
  #145  
Old 06-01-2019, 02:33 PM
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We were discussing this a bit earlier.

Obviously, a nuclear reactor core is not built anything like a fission bomb with its multi-kiloton explosive energy output. On the other hand, it is possible for nuclear reactors to go critical; that's basically how they normally operate.
Well that was part of the problem with that design of reactor, right? They were merely attempting to control a fission reaction by pumping water into it for energy instead of using other means to initiate/control the fission reaction.
  #146  
Old 06-04-2019, 06:40 PM
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A masterpiece, a triumph. Best TV I've seen in years.
  #147  
Old 06-04-2019, 07:50 PM
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Having seen the whole thing, indeed it was truly excellent. I will admit to being disappointed though listening to the podcast when I found out the trial was not as depicted. Neither Shcherbina nor Legasov testified or were even present for that matter. That whole bit about revealing the truth was heavily fictional.
  #148  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:53 PM
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Having seen the whole thing, indeed it was truly excellent. I will admit to being disappointed though listening to the podcast when I found out the trial was not as depicted. Neither Shcherbina nor Legasov testified or were even present for that matter. That whole bit about revealing the truth was heavily fictional.
Interesting. I was wondering if that was when the rest of the world found out how fucked up the whole thing was. So when did the truth come out? I assume it was not before the dissolution of the USSR.

I did appreciate being taken through the accident minute by minute. That was very powerful.

It was a wonderful series, beautifully done. And I learned a lot watching it.
  #149  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:03 PM
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Well that was part of the problem with that design of reactor, right? They were merely attempting to control a fission reaction by pumping water into it for energy instead of using other means to initiate/control the fission reaction.
The reaction is controlled by means of control rods, not by the water pumping through it. There were a number of design flaws at Chernobyl, among which was a large positive void coefficient which increased reactivity when cooling water was displaced or boiled, combined with a control rod design which left columns of water at the bottom of the channel when the rods were pulled out. This water was displaced by a graphite spacer at the bottom of the rod when it went back in, creating a local increase in reactivity which proved fatal under the messed-up operating conditions preceding the accident.
  #150  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:05 PM
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Isosleepy is offline
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Originally Posted by aurora maire View Post
Interesting. I was wondering if that was when the rest of the world found out how fucked up the whole thing was. So when did the truth come out? I assume it was not before the dissolution of the USSR.

I did appreciate being taken through the accident minute by minute. That was very powerful.

It was a wonderful series, beautifully done. And I learned a lot watching it.
He made tapes, which were shared among scientists. The show’s post-script says they were given more weight by his suicide. Maybe. On the other hand, many scientists knew the truth by then. And the USSR nearly lost a significant chunk of its land under cultivation, and millions of people. They did lose serious face, and tremendous resources in dealing with the aftermath. Even a paranoid regime would go to great lengths to avoid a repeat.
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