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PostPosted: May 05, 2017 7:48 pm 
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NOVA - Building Chernobyl's MegaTomb

Wow!

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PostPosted: May 06, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Tim Meyer wrote:

Yes, wow.

I will say that the show seemed to drag on a bit, covering the same things over and over again, as if they didn't have enough material to fill an hour long program. I do wish they had gone a bit more into things like the events that lead up to the disaster, some more on the technology involved in making the structure, and some more on the plans for the future.

One thing that I especially thought should have been covered better was the plans for the future. They did mention that there were no plans yet on how to dispose of the materials from inside the dome as they are dismantled. Certainly this has been given some thought up to this point. Were not any plans proposed? This structure seems to have been sealed up pretty tight but they do plan to take materials out over time, how do they plan to do that? Is there an air lock of some sort?

What I thought was taken a bit too far was the dangers involved. I understand that any construction site is dangerous, and doing so within several hundred meters of a pile of radioactive waste adds a lot to that. From what I saw in the video it seems they were doing quite well in keeping people safe on the work site. I saw people in high visibility clothing, goggles and masks, anyone at height wore safety harnesses. I'd think it would create a better atmosphere on what was happening by pointing out how safe everyone was on the site. If this place is so dangerous then how many people died so far? My guess is that it is very close to zero.

What was also a bit maddening was the interview with one of the workers from the initial cleanup from the meltdown. He commented on how that there are fewer and fewer survivors every day. I don't mean to be heartless here but that happened THIRTY YEARS AGO. These people were adults at the time, enough of an adult to be in military service, or employed as a firefighter, nuclear power plant technician, or some such. It took about ten seconds of an internet search to find out that the average life span of a Ukrainian male is 66 years, with many of them dying from heart disease, HIV/AIDS, stroke, and liver disease.
Cite: http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/ukra ... expectancy

Even if these people were not involved in any way with Chernobyl their natural life expectancy wasn't all that great to begin with. Living in a society with poor diets, high rates of smoking and alcohol abuse, and all the other hazards of living in a former Soviet nation, one does not expect to live a long and healthy life. I have to wonder just how much of a hazard Chernobyl poses to people now. So long as one lives outside the exclusion zone how much of an increased risk does it pose? Are rates of cancers and birth defects still elevated? It should be no surprise that these men, now in their 50s, 60, and 70s, are dying off. Surviving in Ukraine for 30 years is a minor miracle in itself, even without a nuclear reactor blowing up in your face.

It was an interesting video and I will probably watch it again. I just didn't like how much they emphasized the dangers, it started pretty slow and then flew by what I thought should have been given a few more minutes covering.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: May 07, 2017 2:12 pm 
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I agree with you, Kurt, that the filmmakers are biased by being silent (and the other ways you mentioned) on nuclear power successes. One for me—as I am NOT a climate change denier—is the amount of carbon dioxide nuclear power as kept and is still keeping out of our Earth atmosphere. I'm glad you watched this show and commented.

Starting from about 4:25 through 8:00, the film gave an historical overview; and then they add a little more—beginning around 15:00 through about 16:45 highlighting the 28 workers who are remembered every year on the anniversary of the disaster who died from acute radiation exposure—the first responders. Two died in the explosion itself and they say that in both segments.

Pretty sure they said how the dome is going to be sealed when the dismantling and remediation work begins.

I am an optimist. I find Chernobyl a heroic lesson and my condolences to the families who lost loved ones and all who have suffered from what amounts to a bad reactor design and flawed test. No comment on the big picture? What about Dr. Alvin Weinberg's vision?

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PostPosted: May 16, 2017 2:43 am 
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With all due respect Kurt your analysis is not entirely accurate, please let me point out a few major factors.
I would agree with you about the movie, but whenever people from US or western democracies in general comment about the former USSR or Europe in general they tend to overstate things and it feels like the US school taught everyone from a young age that everything that has to do with Russia is either nuclear bombs , WW3 or people drinking to death.
I usually try to stay away from anything that touches politics because it usually gets into trouble, but on one other forums I once even saw that folks with masters and even Phd's thought that people in the USSR were eating grass soups.


I come from another former soviet nation with a rich history called Latvia. sure we were a nation before the gigantic USSR project took us in against our will, that would be pre WW2.
I personally know a bunch of folks who had participated in the cleanup of the Chernobyl disaster, one of them was even the president of our country for a single term, he was working as a doctor back then in the medical assistance staff of the liquidators.
Sure Ukraine is worse off than the european parts of the former USSR but overall though we never had the average life standard of a Swiss , British or American citizen we lived fairly ok. The premature deaths due to alcohol is not so much due to poor living standards but more simply due to the problem of drinking which is very wide spread in Russia and has been for hundreds of years. in the former USSR literally every fool had a job and bread on his table (well you can imagine why) and then they drank even more simply because living was so easy.

The simple truth about Chernobyl which you don't hear in the news or even among academic circles is that in terms of deaths it has caused very few actually. Most of the liquidators are dead simply because of their old age, and since a large majority of them (contrary to belief) wasn't even from Ukraine but from many different parts of the European side of USSR. Keep in mind that only the army reserves that were called in were in their 20ies , all others were 30 and older simply because they were specialists of a variety of fields.
But all in all they die simply because of old age, how many people do you know for example that are still alive and well in their late 60's and early 70'ies? I know a bunch including my grandfather and grandmother which are close to 90 now and actually also contrary to belief the life expectancy doesn't show the real situation because many people lived 90 or more just as in the beginning of the 20th century as they do now and throughout the soviet times, the life expectancy dropped alot simply because we here in Europe had two world wars and a very hard recovery after them, and then came the huge industrial complexes after the war in which thousands of young men without education worked and with the money they earned without much else to do drank and smoked like chimneys, the very same folks who had worked in their parents single household farms before WW2 were now mobilized in the large collective farms and factories. But this changed as time went on.
Although there are increased cancer rates among the liquidators and some other health effects that they have more than the general population that is also a fact. They have a special medicare section in each city here which is devoted to them and their annual medical checks and examinations.
But whenever talking about deaths from nuclear energy we must remember that all energy forms and their mass usage involve deaths and accidents, how many have died in oil rigs and oil production over the last 100 years of worldwide oil mass production? I bet more than a few thousand surely the number is probably even higher.


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PostPosted: May 16, 2017 8:49 am 
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Girts wrote:
But whenever talking about deaths from nuclear energy we must remember that all energy forms and their mass usage involve deaths and accidents, how many have died in oil rigs and oil production over the last 100 years of worldwide oil mass production? I bet more than a few thousand surely the number is probably even higher.
Thank you, Girts, for your reply to Kurt's comments and for your valuable life perspective on dispelling fears of nuclear power especially with respect to Chernobyl—the go to fact for the fear mongers and alarmists like Dr. Helen Caldicott.

What choice do we humans have to replace fossil fuels when they run out? And in the meantime, loading up the atmosphere with combustion gases is upsetting biospheric balances. Aside from this last rancorous and sadly rude debate, nuclear energy is a couple million times more powerful than chemical energy—it's obvious enough.

Thankfully, Dr. Holcomb at ORNL has been directed by the U.S. DOE to revive and support MSRs and get the NRC MSR specs for licensing in the U.S. and support other countries interested in Dr. Weinberg's invention from the 1950s and 1960s at ORNL.

Even within the MSR community there is rancorous debate. What's with the rancor? Talk about wasted energy! People having meltdowns in methods. Less of the disrespect and more on solving problems. On behalf of the billions of people who will never succeed in the sciences or know anything about nuclear engineering.

Here's another video by RT from the Fukushima year that moves beyond Chernobyl:

New, Clear Energy: Russia's Atomic Revolution
Uploaded on Oct 11, 2011

With rising demand for energy, especially electricity, the world is in need of new resources. Fossil fuels produce harmful carbon emissions and green technology may never be able to provide a reliable source of renewable energy. Despite ongoing concerns about the safety of nuclear power, it's likely going to play an increasingly large role in satisfying our needs. Several projects being developed in Russia will hopefully help make nuclear's enlarged role as safe as possible. Fast neutron reactors look to be the future of the industry, while an advanced gas-cooled reactor design could have benefits beyond electricity generation. And Russia's plans for a fleet of floating nuclear power stations will bring electricity, heat and fresh water to isolated populations.

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—James Arthur Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic


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PostPosted: Jun 08, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Girts,
Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate you taking the time to add some first and second hand knowledge to this conversation. I will say in defense of my comments on life in the Ukraine that while I admit I was a bit hyperbolic, made some assumptions, and played on some stereotypes I did cite my source. It does not take much to put the top five causes of death along with some stereotypes from movies (both factual and fictional) and such and see some truth in it. Movies, books, and jokes make sense to us because there is a morsel of truth in them. Rates of alcoholism, tobacco use, poor diets, and drug abuse are real problems in former Soviet nations. This shows in the statistics.

Strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and other lung diseases, are all associated with poor diet, alcohol abuse, and tobacco use. What I found a bit shocking at first was how high HIV/AIDS ranks in causes of death in Ukraine. On further reflection it makes sense. I hear in the news on how "krocodil" is a problem in the US among certain immigrant groups. It seems that this has been a problem in many parts of the world for a long time but has only recently made it to USA and Canada. As I'm sure you know but others on this forum may not is that "krocodil" is a very dangerous opiate that has become a problem. It is made from prescription and over the counter medications and contains some nasty solvents, and is taken by injection. This often creates a scaled appearance to the skin around the injection site, like a crocodile, giving the drug its name. The sharing of needles for using this and similar drugs will spread HIV and other diseases.

I went into that somewhat lengthy and gory description of the harsh life in many former Soviet nations to make a point. Of all the things to fear in this world what should scare us more than nuclear power is the dangers of poverty and ignorance. You mention that many people in the former Soviet Union live long and healthy lives, and I don't doubt you. These are the people with the intelligence, education, and wealth to save themselves from the risks of bad habits, poor diets, and generally bad choices. What has happened though is that there are a lot of people that were not so fortunate and/or made some bad choices and brought down the average life expectancy. This is why I made the comment, only half joking, that surviving for 30 years in Ukraine is a minor miracle.

You also point out something on why I did not like this NOVA episode very much, it did little to dispel some of the stereotypes of life in Ukraine. I think they overplayed the risks posed by the remains of the Chernobyl accident. I think they made life in Ukraine seem harsher than it actually is. This is demonstrated, in my mind at least, by how they portrayed that more people from the Chernobyl accident die every day. It was thirty years ago and so natural life expectancy is just catching up with many of them. I can only assume that many of these people smoke because just generally many Europeans smoke, which reduces their expected life span. I can assume some of them don't have the best diets, because they still live in Ukraine. These people might be getting some of the best health care in the world but that does not negate all risk factors they face.

Girts, thanks again for your post and I look forward to seeing you again on this forum.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Jun 10, 2017 2:46 am 
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There is a lot of coal ash lying around and creating nuisance.
As a prototype case, the reactors could be buried in wetted coal ash and suitable flora should be planted to stabilise it. If successful, it could be an option for an economical end to reactors after their lifetime. It would also be a good disposal for coal ash.


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