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What Chernobyl Looks Like In 2010

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the quiet-neighborhood dept.

Power 413

An anonymous reader writes "The editor of Phoronix.com has toured Chernobyl's Zone of Alienation (the 30km zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant) to see what the area looks like 24 years after the world's largest nuclear disaster. Many photographs from Chernobyl in 2010 have now been published, showing off the power plant and its RBMK reactors, the town of Pripyat, the town of Chernobyl, and the Red Forest. The 24th anniversary of this deadly nuclear disaster will be on April 26."

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Largest Nuclear Disaster? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31772972)

...really? Does a disaster have to be an accident to be classed as a disaster?

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

sgt101 (120604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772994)

Booooooooom!

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (5, Interesting)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773442)

Just as Chernobyl nature has taken back the surrounds of Pripryat, the Chernobyl stories take on mythical proportion.

Unfortunately, most people who go to Chernobyl (TFA author included) - seem to adopt this faux-investigative journalist approach, as if the entire experience is touch and go.
This is entirely not the case - and while there are many interesting elements to Chernobyl, its surrounds, and its history, the above really just isn't one of them.

For those of you who are interested - I've been. It's interesting enough. You pay 40 - 80USD, hop in a bus, drive 2 hours, and you're there. There's a quick paper check on the edge of the exclusion zone. You drive to a small village that has more kittens than people, and you're told a little about the history. You drive a little further into a larger town, and buy some Kvass and sausages, and keep going.

From there, you're back in the bus - you see a memorial on the eastern side of Reactor 4, drive to the western side, at another memorial. This is as close as you can get to the reactor (and it's where the author shot his photos from)

From here, it's a crapshoot depending who you went with. Normally, you'll get a speed-tour of Pripryat. They used to do the helicopter / heavy equipment graveyard, but that's no longer done.

Pripryat is quite interesting, but the tours are always superficial. You follow a set path, and everyone sees the same thing: The ferris wheel, the school, the swimming pool. The buildings are decayed - not due to radiation, but simple weather exposure, yet peeling-paint photos somehow always manifest into drama-heavy recants.

On my trip, I was lucky enough to slip away from the group, and get some more interesting perspectives:
http://ninjito.com/2009-09-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com]
The hotel Polissia. It was quiet a pleasant day.

http://ninjito.com/2009-09-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-2.jpg [ninjito.com]
Roof of said building, you can see reactor 4 in the distance to the right.

http://ninjito.com/2008-08-16/qx-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com]
Rarely seen fresque honouring the cosmonauts.

Interesting things to take away from the trip are:
- There's a lot less 'fuss' than most people imagine
- There are active buildings, people in the region
- The unchecked nature growth has resulted in truly beautiful surrounds - the forests and plant life are stunning.
- Radiation is pervasive and scary. While it's obvious that you can't see, touch, or smell it, it's truly startling to stand somewhere that has slightly-higher than background radiation, take two steps to the right, and suddenly be exposed to several-hundred times background radiation.

Summary: Go and see it for yourself, but don't buy into the mythology.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (4, Insightful)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773090)

I don't consider the attacks which ended World War 2 a disaster.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (2, Informative)

Celt (125318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773148)

You may not consider it a disaster but many Japanese likely do....affects are still felt to the present day.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773180)

That's generally the sentiment of most people on the receiving side of wartime attacks. Many Germans are still pretty upset about the "Dresden disaster".

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (-1, Troll)

Celt (125318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773212)

In fairness dropping bombs on Japan killed many many more civilians then military people/targets.....massive civilian casualties are not acceptable in any war situation...but then maybe the US things it is?

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773244)

Well, WWII is generally considered to have been a great example of "total war", meaning that there really was no such thing as a civilian, which is also how many political and military leaders, regardless of country, viewed it. After all, how do you determine if someone is a civilian when practically everyone is involved in the war effort in one way or another?

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (3, Informative)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773494)

About a dozen Americans were killed by the Hiroshima atomic bombing. They were PoWs (airmen captured when they were shot down in raids on Japan).

When Americans are taught about the bombing, is that ever mentioned, that they nuked their own soldiers? I'm not taking a position that it is right or wrong to drop bombs that kill your own soldiers in the pursuit of the greater goal, but it would seem appropriate to recognize the sacrifice that was made and honor the dead.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773314)

That's true of the Dresden firebombing also. Actually, it was true of most large-scale WW2 bombings, which were inaccurate and indiscriminate, mostly killing civilians and destroying residential homes. If you want to focus on an atrocity committed against Japan, the Tokyo firebombings were actually considerably worse than the atomic bombings.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Celt (125318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773340)

Your still forgetting the long terms after affects of nuclear when compared to regular bombs

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773390)

Effects, you want to write effects.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773426)

Define long term.

While you are doing your rapid research into the matter in order to reply with more alarmist stuff, I think that you are going to find that you were terribly mistaken about the "long term" effects of those two bombs.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773448)

Longtime? Like people still dying years later?
You can get that with normal bombs, in fact you are likely to find those in almost any bombed area just waiting for something to trigger them. Just this month a WWII bomb had to be diffused in munich.

You can find that with airplanes (2, Interesting)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773474)

Longtime? Like people still dying years later?
You can get that with normal bombs, in fact you are likely to find those in almost any bombed area just waiting for something to trigger them. Just this month a WWII bomb had to be diffused in munich.

We had a couple of those here in the UK over the past year as well (though thankfully, no one died).

You get the same effect with airplanes. People are still dying (years later) from illness and other health-related problems directly attributable to the 9/11 atrocity, which involved no bombs (nuclear or otherwise), just a couple of big airplanes, a couple of big buildings, and a whole lot of jet fuel.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0, Redundant)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773414)

Considering how many civilians would have died in Japanese held territories had the war dragged on further, yes its fair. And before you say, "The Japanese would have given up anyway", bear in mind that even AFTER the atomic bombs were dropped there was still a huge faction of the military that wanted to continue fighting. In fact the night before the emperor's surrender speech was broadcast a group of them tried to occupy the palace and tried to find and destroy the recording. They were not successful and Japan surrendered.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773260)

Many Germans are still pretty upset about the "Dresden disaster".

That wasn't just a disaster, it was a war crime [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773382)

I think you mean "some people consider it to have been a war crime, but in actuality it has never been declared one, and those that keep insisting on it seem very quiet about the bombing of British cities by the Luftwaffe".

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

troc (3606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773444)

The bombing of Dresden has never been legally classified as a war crime. There are plenty of people who believe it is, plenty of people who believe it isn't and even more people who have no opinion either way. Whether it would be classified as a war crime if it were "on trial" is a matter for discussion :)

The link to Wikipedia merely explains some of the discussions around whether is may or may not be a war crime, a disaster or merely a nasty thing (tm) but it is technically NOT a war crime as it has not been defined as such by the UN (for example). Furthermore, citing Wikipedia as a reference is fraught with uncertainty. It is not a legally relevant or correct document.

As to whether Dresden was a humanitarian disaster, was vastly excessive, badly thought out, "just plain wrong", justified, necessary, stupid, clever, a thoughtless act, pure revenge, intelligent counter-attack or mind instructions from the great spaghetti monster - these are all opinions people are free to hold and discuss. Personally, I can understand the reasons the bombings happens but with hindsight it is obvious that they should probably not have taken place as they were (I think) taken with poor thought and consideration of the consequences. Should they have taken place? IMHO, no they shouldn't. Given the situation at the time, were they a war crime? I don't think so. A humanitarian disaster, yes.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773496)

The bombing of Dresden has never been legally classified as a war crime.

The legal classification is pretty much irrelevant, except for a few lawyers and people who get off on patriotic speeches. The same goes for the classification of Hiroshima as "not a disaster".

As with every war, the victor writes the history. Of course they won't say their actions were bad. It's always the losing party's fault and the winner never did anything wrong.

That's the way it has been since the dawn of recorded history. Probably one of the reasons history recording started in the first place.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773530)

The bombing of Dresden has never been legally classified as a war crime. There are plenty of people who believe it is, plenty of people who believe it isn't and even more people who have no opinion either way. Whether it would be classified as a war crime if it were "on trial" is a matter for discussion :)

It wasn't classified as a war crime simply because the perpetrators of said attack were on the winning side.

A prime example of that is some of the charges that Admiral Donitz faced regarding the sinking of neutral and unarmed shipping even though both the British and the Americans waged a similar campaign tactic against both Germany and Japan.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773152)

I don't consider the attacks which ended World War 2 a disaster.

How about naming that a "man caused disaster" ? The word "disaster" does not imply "natural", neither "accidental".

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773172)

I do. YMMV.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773200)

I don't consider the attacks which ended World War 2 a disaster.

Me neither. I consider them murder.

Your leaders could have proven a point by detonating an atomic bomb somewhere near Japan, without causing so many victims, especially among the civilians. I believe the idea was to prove them your military superiority, to make them surrender, isn't it ?

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (3, Informative)

Crysm (1410083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773288)

An example detonation would not have had the same effect as a show of willingness to bomb and easily destroy civilian populations. I'm not saying it was a good thing, but it could be called necessary.

Either way, the loss of life is regrettable, tragic. You will note that there has been no detonation of nuclear weapons in war in the 65 years since.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773330)

it could be called necessary

You could call the first bomb on Hiroshima that. But the second one, on Nagasaki? Why?

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

ToteAdler (631239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773544)

It was an unfortunately necessary military strategy. At that point in the war the US was afraid of its ally the Russians as much as it needed to end the war with the Japanese. Pretty much all the major players at that point were at least considering nuclear weapons or had some sort of nuclear program, so they knew how difficult they were to manufacture. The second bomb implied that the US had a stockpile of nuclear weapons well before anyone else even had one. In reality it would have taken many months to manufacture additional weapons.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Ardx (954221) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773336)

You will note that there has been no detonation of nuclear weapons in war in the 65 years since.

I don't know that I would attribute the lack of use of the nuclear arsenal to the horror of it's use in WWII as much as to the mutually assured destruction that would have resulted from the use of them in subsequent wars/actions. As we move on to a more widespread availability of nuclear weapons (both of conventional and the 'dirty bomb' style), the nationless states gain an advantage in that they have no homeland to retaliate against and thus nullifying MAD's ability to ensure the world's safety.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Antity-H (535635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773338)

As much as I would like to agree with you, Japan didn't surrender after a first explosion on one of their cities, do you seriously think it would have surrendered after a show off over the ocean ?

(disclaimer, I am not american, I am not japanese)

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773552)

As much as I would like to agree with you, Japan didn't surrender after a first explosion on one of their cities

They didn't surrender within 3 days. There's no way of telling if they wouldn't have surrendered if they had been given a longer period to respond.

Wow, that's pretty ignorant (2, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773214)

That the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were dropped in order to end the second world war, doesn't mean they didn't had disastrous results. In fact, that was the whole point of the operation, to force Japan into surrender by causing extreme devastation. I think it is a valid question to ask if the millions of innocent citizens spanning multiple generations who lost their lives or were severly harmed by these actions justify the ending of a war.

And of course, there is the question of necessity. It's plausible to assume the war would have stopped without nuclear attacks. It's extremely plausible the war would have stopped after the first nuclear attack on Hiroshima, so surely the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was gratuitous at best.

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773220)

And of course, there is the question of necessity. It's plausible to assume the war would have stopped without nuclear attacks. It's extremely plausible the war would have stopped after the first nuclear attack on Hiroshima, so surely the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was gratuitous at best.

And of course its plausible the war could have continued for another few years...

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (3, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773254)

US intelligence already knew the end was near. They wanted to make sure the Japanese surrendered to them, and not the Russians.

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773302)

... millions of innocent citizens ...

"Repo Man" quote:

Leila: What if he's innocent?

Agent Rogersz: No one is innocent.

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773420)

so surely the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was gratuitous at best.

No, it served a purpose. Just not one that fits neatly into the Good vs Evil narrative, so often attributed to World War II.

Both bombs were dropped on Japan, in order to show Russia exactly what sort of weapons the US now possessed. The military leaders of the day were already mentally moving past the Nazi/Japanese, and were then looking to Stalin.

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773430)

And they didn't showed this already in Hiroshima?

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773492)

No, because dropping one could have been hand-waved as "We didn't know how devastating it would be" or "It's so horrible, we don't like to use it" or "It's a weapon of last resort".

Dropping one, then dropping another a few days later, gives the impression of "We can keep this up until you're all dead. Surrender or else."

That's the sort of message they were going for.

Re:Wow, that's pretty ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773538)

Maybe the intention was to show that the effect was replicable, that they could easily produce bombs of this power in sufficient quantity and build quality to be a threat.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773100)

Well consider that earthquakes that kill maybe 1-300 people and leveled a 30 mile square area are commonly classed as disasters, then consider that chernobyl killed untold thousands (it's lucky it wasn't millions in Kiev or various other nearby european cities), and rather than leveling the area, rendered it completely uninhabitable for a long time.

I certainly count that as a disaster.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773116)

Do you have severe reading comprehension problems? GP did not imply that it was not are disaster, but that there were bigger nuclear disasters. Sheeeesh.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773504)

And the bigger ones were? I was pretty sure that Chernobyl was the biggest

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773150)

He's referring to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, which took out between an eighth and a quarter million people in short order, and a bunch later. They were far worse disasters, but they were intentional disasters, the ethics of which will probably be debated for centuries.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773156)

I don't think that was the OP's point. The two WWII bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 150,000 people, and that would make it a larger disaster, were it not for the fact that it isn't classed apparently as a disaster. Which was the OP's point.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773240)

The OP wasn't questioning the fact that Chernobyl was a disaster. They were questioning whether it is the largest, given that Hiroshima killed over 100,000 people and and levelled a good portion of the city.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773162)

From the article

"
the Chernobyl nuclear accident led to more than one hundred times the nuclear fallout of what was experienced during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
"

Fucking retards

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (4, Informative)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773170)

Well, it caused a larger zone of serious radiation spread than the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did. Some of the tests in the pacific, Australia, and continental US contaminated very large areas but like the nuclear bombings it is mostly light isotopes that decayed very quickly. The nuclear bombings of Japan, or some other incident, might have been a more serious nuclear disaster (at least for the Japanese) but I would give Chernobyl the credit as largest.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773188)

Well, the iPad isn't nuclear powered, but I guess if it was...

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773196)

If you refer to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both are lively cities as of today. This is not the case of Chernobyl.

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773322)

...really? Does a disaster have to be an accident to be classed as a disaster?

to other Anon Coward

No, it doesn't. Hurricanes can leave a disaster in their wake ... and they aren't "accidents".

Re:Largest Nuclear Disaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773410)

Chernobyl was not an accident. It happened when they turned of severall failsafes to see if the rest would be enough.
While the results where not what people hoped for, the test itself was rather successfull.
Now we know that removing the failsafes to stop a nuclear meltdown from an inuse reaktor is a bad idea.

If you're going to debate semantics.... (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773524)

...really? Does a disaster have to be an accident to be classed as a disaster?

Do as the automotive industry does. Call it a Nuclear incident.

There are more animals there now (4, Interesting)

Aku Head (663933) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772982)

No matter how bad for you radiation might be, living around humans is worse.

Re:There are more animals there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773004)

Yeah, we're one of the biggest natural disasters in recent years :).

Re:There are more animals there now (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773304)

Depends. If you consider just the number of living animal as a metric, I would say that chicken farms are one of the incredible environment that humans created for animals that are indeed more successful than many others.

Yes I am ironic. I heard that in Chernobyl, while one can see wild horses, no bird can be heard as they are very sensitive to radiation. Walking into a silent birdless forest is said to be a very strange feeling.

Re:There are more animals there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773332)

No matter how bad for you radiation might be, living around humans is worse.

Try living next to a grizzly bear some day.

Or swimming with a great white shark.

Hell, just wander off into some remote tropical rain forest and see how long it takes for that oh-so-natural-and-better-than-humanity life to EAT you..

Chernobyl (5, Informative)

ssentinull (1763168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772996)

First post! Seriously though, just went to Chernobyl about 3 weeks ago, and seeing it is surreal. I wasn't alive when it happened, but going through the amusement park they had just built was just remarkable. I took a lot of pictures, and my favorite one is from the school we went to, found a child size gas mask, something you wouldn't expect to find in a school, but nice regardless. If you want to see more pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sswezey/ [flickr.com] . I would definitely recommend going to see it, and Kiev is a cool city to see for a day as well

Re:Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773104)

I would definitely recommend going to see it, and Kiev is a cool city to see for a day as well

Not to mention that on average, Ukrainian women are freakin' HOT!

Re:Chernobyl (2, Funny)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773228)

I would definitely recommend going to see it, and Kiev is a cool city to see for a day as well

Not to mention that on average, Ukrainian women are freakin' HOT!

... and sterile!

Re:Chernobyl (1)

Ardx (954221) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773434)

I would definitely recommend going to see it, and Kiev is a cool city to see for a day as well

Not to mention that on average, Ukrainian women are freakin' HOT!

... and sterile!

And there is a problem with that? Mwua!

Dude, your dose must be through the roof ... no?! (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773264)

Dude, those pictures you took from the bumpercars at the amusement park and the stacked radiators and stuff tell me that you where a tad close to those kind of things, if I may put it that way. I remember pretty clearly others describing their dosimeter going wild when closing in on metal objects and walls facing the reactor.

Did you have a dosimeter or szintomat on you when walking about and taking those pictures?

I'd suggest you switch to an organic diet with lots of iodine and vitamin D for the next year or two ... Jesus, you gotta watch out, there was a frigging reactor superdisaster out there!

Re:Dude, your dose must be through the roof ... no (3, Informative)

ssentinull (1763168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773392)

We did have a dosimeter with us, at the closest point to the sarcophagus, the SV was reading a 3.57 (I have a picture of it). On average though, it was reading about 0.1. To put in in perspective, an X-ray tech during a year gets an annual dosage of 32, so I'm honestly not too worried about it, and the pictures are worth it!

Re:Dude, your dose must be through the roof ... no (2, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773450)

When I was in Pripryat (and yes, we had the dosimeters as well) the readings were perfectly fine if you stepped on concrete, tarmac, or in some of the buildings. But if you stepped onto grass, soil, vegetation or anything which was connected to the water table, the dosimeter shot WAY up WAY fast.

Our guide made a point of showing this to us, when we were taking photos of the bumper cars in the amusement park.

I'm considering going back again this year.

Not too good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773000)

.. that it's not going to look much better until it *completely* loses structural integrity.

The fact Chernobyl is so far away from anything and (for the fortunate) anyone makes it great for governments since they can forget it.

And it continued operating for 14 years, it seems. (4, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773006)

The interesting detail I picked up from this was that Chernobyl continued operation (on other reactors) for 14 years after this disaster.
The popular view of the accident would be that the area was unusable, and most probably lethal - it would seem not.
Of course, the wildlife in the area also shows this, however it is interesting how reality gets buried in popular belief.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773014)

Damn, there goes my hopes for glow in the dark marshmallows!

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (3, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773044)

What's even more interesting, as wildlife flourishes, random private individuals introduce new animals on their own.
Someone brought and released a pair of Przewalski's Horses and now they form quite a big herd. There are some other species not native to the area and never observed there before. They were brought there by humans - unsanctioned, unregulated activity funded entirely by enthusiasts from their own money.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (3, Informative)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773070)

I like the nags and know a little about breeding. A single pair would not be enough to create a herd.

Wikipedia says a few dozen were introduced. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Przewalski%27s_Horse#Preservation_efforts

Interest fact, nevertheless. Cheers.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773234)

Drunk people do stuff like that.

Russians like to drink.

You do the math.

Chernobyl Wildlife? (1)

mr_3ntropy (969223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773158)

"Chernobyl no wildlife Haven"
--BBC News






Sorry, I can never resist blurting out my favorite BBC headline on any mention of Chernobyl! But seriously [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Chernobyl Wildlife? (1)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773256)

If you want to drink their coolaid, feel free, but the fact remains that the local ecologies are much better off on average than without the accident.
Of course the gains are because people on the whole are removed, which massively outweighs the small reductions from the remaining radiation.

What they are doing is claiming that is prople were removed, AND there had been no accident, the ecology would be (slightly) even better off, well duh!.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773242)

The story by the USSR seemed to be 'don't worry too much Europe, most radioactive material has stayed on site'. But if you visit the site and measure radioactivity it seems the opposite and you could now claim don't worry about concrete mantel repair as most material was blasted into the sky, a cheap steel roof is all that is needed to keep material remaining from raining into the groundwater. You can walk the whole site and look at the decayed mantel on the inside if you get permission as some European tv crews got. The craziest thing there is locals swimming in provably contaminated water each summer as long as they are teenagers.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773274)

The interesting detail I picked up from this was that Chernobyl continued operation (on other reactors) for 14 years after this disaster.
The popular view of the accident would be that the area was unusable, and most probably lethal - it would seem not.
Of course, the wildlife in the area also shows this, however it is interesting how reality gets buried in popular belief.

My understanding is that the whole site is still operational due to the need to maintain fuels at the site. I saw a documentary on it recently and the facility is still heavily staffed.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (5, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773278)

Also other identical reactors, built at the same time from the same design, like the one at Ignalina [wikipedia.org] in Lithuania continued operating until the end of 2009 (not because the plant was at the end of its useful life, but because the EU didn't want Lithuania to be operating a potentially unsafe reactor any longer).

Chernobyl type reactors, despite being absolutely obsolete and horribly dangerous by 1980s nuclear standards (even if they are far more stringent than other energy standards), have been operating right up until the end of last year. (With some updated safety features learned from Chernobyl of course)

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (3, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773516)

Remaining RBMK reactors were modified to make them safer, but I suppose you can consider them unsafe just like a car that kills its passengers if the driver accelerates to 200km/h and aims at a concrete wall or a tree.

And Ignalina power plant was shut down mainly because our politicians, fresh out of one Union, wanted to get into another so badly they signed whatever they were told to sign by said Union. Now most of the electricity comes from an old ~1.5GW oil and gas power plant which has ~25% efficiency (which I'm told is pretty low for these power plants).

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (3, Informative)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773528)

RBMK is safe now, with a few modifications they added. There are still ~10 RBMK running inside Russia, and I don't think they have plans to shut them down early. (I think they'll gradually be taken off line between now and 2030, depending condition and how old).

From what I remember:
Added more control rods, faster application, removed graphite tips.
Added more base neutron absorber (not sure how to call it, like control rod that is always in), so that reactor is unable to run at low power level (where it was unstable).
To compensate for the above it needs to run more enriched uranium though, I think ~2.5%. I suppose this makes it less cost effective than old, but safety is worthwhile exchange...

I think most new reactors will be VVER type (PWR, with containment, safe, and exported to many places). There is also new MKER under development, it's the same theory as RBMK, with hotswap fuel rods and such, and will be used to replace old RBMK. - I think it is to be full containment, though.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773280)

The popular view of the accident would be that the area was unusable, and most probably lethal - it would seem not. Of course, the wildlife in the area also shows this, however it is interesting how reality gets buried in popular belief.

Depends on your definition of "lethal". It is not lethal as in "breath there and suffocate, die within 5 minutes". It is lethal as in "die of a cancer within the year if you eat food and drink water from here" or in "live there several years and lose 10 years of life expectancy". Not a barren land, but not exactly hospitable either.

Re:And it continued operating for 14 years, it see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773310)

I can't believe that the popular view has been that the operation stopped after the disaster. Makes me wonder what other facts of this part of history haven't made it into the domain of the popular view.

Nuclear decay is slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773016)

With the rate of nuclear decay, the plant will probably still look much the same way in 20100. It's just a day in the life of our planet, though.

Re:Nuclear decay is slow (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773056)

that's 30km * 30km * 3.14 of land free from human intervention for another 100K yrs. that's still a day in the life of our planet; but not in the life of our species.

Pictures are nice, but ... (4, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773020)

... playing one of the Stalker series of games is more fun. Even if the scenery isn't 100% accurate.

Re:Pictures are nice, but ... (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773408)

Strongly agree.

Re:Pictures are nice, but ... (4, Interesting)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773476)

One of the best parts of going to Pripryat was seeing one of the Woodpeckers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Woodpecker [wikipedia.org] looming in the distance.

Looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773038)

Their servers have reached critical and are heading toward meltdown.

documentarys (2, Insightful)

clemdoc (624639) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773098)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194278/ [imdb.com] is quite an interesting documentary about the power plant and its surroundings. and not one of these "ohmygodit'sallsoterriblewon'tsomebodythinkofthechldren"-ones either.

Re:documentarys (1)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773146)

Any leads on where to actually find this? Doesn't appear to be on DVD release anywhere, and the IMDB review alone isn't quite enough

Get out of here stalker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773114)

Get out of here stalker

Kidd Of Speed (0)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773140)

Elena Filatova has been riding her motorbike through that area since 2003 and has some interesting things to say; http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/chapter1.html [angelfire.com]

Re:Kidd Of Speed (5, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773298)

She's a fraud. The whole thing never happened [museumofhoaxes.com] . It was just wishful thinking on her part because she wanted to write poetry. The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong. "Apparently she didn't go around alone on a motorcycle. She went in a car with her husband and a friend. Elena defends herself, admitting that much of her story was 'more poetry' than reality." It just baffles me how someone can take some cool photos and then ruin the entire thing by lying about it. It's like going to the White House to meet the President, and then you make up a tale about how you went to the bathroom, opened the wrong door, and stumbled into the Situation Room. Your story is already way cool, why the F lie about it? The REALLY sad part is all the people who rushed forward to defend this fraud.

Her stories have been debunked as yarn. (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773300)

While the pictures are real, the stories of her riding around alone on her bike in the disaster zone where debunked as fake and made-up. There are pictures she took showing others standing next to her indicating that the took one of the officical bus trips into the zone, since no one was allowed in alone at the time. There may be a little yarn spun into her descriptions, so take them with a grain of salt.

Re:Kidd Of Speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773318)

While a pretty good read, I just want to add that it was established that her story is fiction.

Re:Kidd Of Speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773348)

No she hasn't. Ukraine doesn't allow you to do things like that, you go on guided tours on foot.

She went on a tour carrying a helmet and dressed in motorbike leathers.

Re:Kidd Of Speed (1)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773498)

So it's based on a true story. Evaluate it on its own merits and stop sweating the particulars.

This Guy's Server cannot handle the traffic (1)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773236)

Getting slashdotted. Can someone throw this up on Flickr or something?

Re:This Guy's Server cannot handle the traffic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773334)

Coral cache [nyud.net] .

The server is slashdotted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31773238)

...and possibly now resembles chernobyl as well...

Apparently his server got nuked in the blast too. (1, Offtopic)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773246)

Don't worry folks, I'm here all evening.

Re:Apparently his server got nuked in the blast to (3, Funny)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773554)

The news meant to say that in 2010 Chernobyl looks slashdotted.

Is this an anniversary or a commemoration? (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773320)

So, where's the anniversary party taking place?

Another perspective (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31773460)

Was there on a lovely day and managed to slip off from the group at Pripryat to see some unique perspectives.

http://ninjito.com/2009-09-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com]
The hotel Polissia.

http://ninjito.com/2009-09-12-PANO/qx-pano-pripyat-2.jpg [ninjito.com]
Roof of said building, you can see reactor 4 in the distance to the right.

http://ninjito.com/2008-08-16/qx-pripyat-1.jpg [ninjito.com]
Rarely seen fresque honouring the cosmonauts.

Getting to Chernobyl isn't the overwhelming task of mental fortitude and endurance most of these 'reporters' want you to think it is. You go to Kiev, you spend 40 - 80USD, and you get taken there. It's very official, it's very routine, and you get an interesting experience from it. And a delicious meal at the end of it..

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