Friday, November 15, 2013

visit sunny chernobyl

energyskeptic | After Chernobyl, Russia had workers hired people to be “liquidators”. They were exposed to a lot of radiation to clean up Chernobyl so radioactive waste wouldn’t be tracked out or blown into the air and spread further.  These workers are now entitled to benefits depending on how much radiation dosage they received.

It hadn’t occurred to me that every time there’s a forest fire, the fallout of Chernobyl continues, because trees take up radioactive particles, which are released by fire again.

After Chernobyl exploded, firemen rushed over and kept the fire from spreading to an adjacent reactor — most of them died, but their bravery kept Chernobyl from creating an 800 kilometer no man’s zone, instead of the 30 kilometer zone that exists today.

Russia is planning to put a concrete dome over Chernobyl that will last for 150 years.  Blackwell describes this as “The reactor building, though, will be dangerous for millennia. So maybe there will one day be a shelter for the shelter for the Shelter Object, and then a shelter for that, and we will continue down the generations, building–shell by shell– a nest of giant, radioactive Russian dolls.”

There are tours of Chernobyl, here’s a description from the book: “Dennis’s radiation meter topped out at 1300 micros, about 30 times the background radiation in New York City. He twisted around in his seat to face me. “Yesterday it was up to 2,000″. There was a hint of apology in his voice. Perhaps he was worried I might feel shortchanged for having received less than the maximum possible exposure …, as if I had come to Nepal to see Mount Everest, only to find it obscured by clouds”.

The Chernobyl core “was the size of a small building, a thick bucket standing several stories tall. It felt impossible to understand the power embodied in such a machine. A quarter ounce of nuclear fuel holds nearly as much energy as a ton of coal; the core had held more than a hundred thousand times that much”.