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The Chernobyl "Disaster". 30 years ago today. Was it actually an environmental catastrophe?

roc_

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The Chernobyl "Disaster". 30 years ago today. Was it actually an environmental catastrophe?

30 years ago today, the early hours of 26 April 1986, we had the melt-down at Chernobyl. - What have we learned from it?

Personally I think we were wrong to think of it as an "environmental catastrophe"... It certainly wasn't - it turns out it was actually a real blessing to the natural environment!

For example, there was incredible regeneration of the flora and fauna around Chernobyl. ---Chernobyl: No People But A Thriving Ecosystem

Even there was the return of many species that were on the verge of extinction in that part of the country!

(Now no doubt some humans subsequently went into the area and chopped up some of these animals living there so as to study them. And for example, they found that the new generation of birds had bird-brains that were 5% smaller. Although they automatically deduce that radiation is having a negative effect. - But perhaps these birds just have less to think about and fear, avoiding humans and traffic and other impacts we make on their life etc?!!)

And the human effects of Chernobyl too were vastly over-stated. - Remember the so called "environmentalists" claiming a million deaths would be caused? Whereas here are the actual findings:


UNSCEAR has conducted 20 years of detailed scientific and epidemiological research on the effects of the Chernobyl accident. Apart from the 57 direct deaths in the accident itself, UNSCEAR originally predicted up to 4,000 additional cancer cases due to the accident,[4] however the latest UNSCEAR reports insinuate that these estimates were overstated.[5] In addition, the IAEA states that there has been no increase in the rate of birth defects or abnormalities, or solid cancers (such as lung cancer) corroborating UNSCEAR's assessments.[6]

Precisely, UNSCEAR states:

"Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine there had been, up to 2002, about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident, and more cases are be expected during the next decades. Notwithstanding problems associated with screening, many of those cancers were most likely caused by radiation exposures shortly after the accident. Apart from this increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality rates or in rates of non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure. The risk of leukaemia in the general population, one of the main concerns owing to its short latency time, does not appear to be elevated. Although those most highly exposed individuals are at an increased risk of radiation-associated effects, the great majority of the population is not likely to experience serious health consequences as a result of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Many other health problems have been noted in the populations that are not related to radiation exposure."[7]

Thyroid cancer is generally treatable.[8] The five year survival rate of thyroid cancer is 96%, and 92% after 30 years, with proper treatment.[9]

"The Chernobyl Forum"[10] is a regular meeting of IAEA, other United Nations organizations (FAO, UN-OCHA, UNDP, UNEP, UNSCEAR, WHO and The World Bank) and the governments of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, which issues regular assessments of the evidence for health effects of the Chernobyl accident.

"The Chernobyl Forum" has concluded that a greater risk than the long-term effects of radiation exposure, is the risk to mental health of exaggerated fears about the effects of radiation:[11]

" ... The designation of the affected population as “victims” rather than “survivors” has led them to perceive themselves as helpless, weak and lacking control over their future. This, in turn, has led either to over cautious behavior and exaggerated health concerns, or to reckless conduct, such as consumption of mushrooms, berries and game from areas still designated as highly contaminated, overuse of alcohol and tobacco, and unprotected promiscuous sexual activity."[12]

While it was commented by Fred Mettler that 20 years later:[13]

The population remains largely unsure of what the effects of radiation actually are and retain a sense of foreboding. A number of adolescents and young adults who have been exposed to modest or small amounts of radiation feel that they are somehow fatally flawed and there is no downside to using illicit drugs or having unprotected sex. To reverse such attitudes and behaviors will likely take years although some youth groups have begun programs that have promise.

In addition, many charities which help the "Children of Chernobyl" may be helping disadvantaged children, but the health problems of such children are not only to do with the Chernobyl accident, but also with the desperately poor state of post-Soviet health systems.[14]

General findings of the forum here - UNSCEAR assessments of the Chernobyl accident


No doubt, many parts of industry were badly hit. - For example, Chernobyl lead to large areas of marine life being given a much needed break from over-fishing and marine resource depletion so it could regenerate itself! (Aww. Poor fishing industry...).

And no doubt there is dangerous nuclear waste still there. But certainly, it is buried deeply, and would pose zero threat to the earth anyway... and be dangerous only to those foolish enough to expose themselves to its radiation...

But in general, perhaps we might learn from Chernobyl that if that is the worst that can happen, maybe we should forge on with the development of this power source?

What do people think?
 


cozzy121

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Messages
5,069
Personally I think we were wrong to think of it as an "environmental catastrophe"... It certainly wasn't - it turns out it was actually a real blessing to the natural environment!
Jesus wept.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_the_Chernobyl_disaster

The 1986 Chernobyl disaster triggered the release of substantial amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere in the form of both particulate and gaseous radioisotopes. It is one of the most significant unintentional releases of radioactivity into the environment to present.

The work of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), suggests that the Chernobyl incident cannot be directly compared to atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons through a single number, with one being simply x times larger than the other. This is partly due to the fact that the isotopes released at Chernobyl tended to be longer-lived than those released by the detonation of atomic bombs, thus producing radioactivity curves that vary in shape as well as size.
 

roc_

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Jesus wept.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_the_Chernobyl_disaster

The 1986 Chernobyl disaster triggered the release of substantial amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere in the form of both particulate and gaseous radioisotopes. It is one of the most significant unintentional releases of radioactivity into the environment to present...
Yes. We know that.

Now, tell us, where did the "environmental catastrophe" stem from that? Quantify it. What did it do to the environment. How long did these effects last? And so on.

I am most probably talking to a particularly obtuse wall here, but the statement "the release of substantial amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere in the form of both particulate and gaseous radioisotopes" has about as much significance in terms of its relation to "environmental catastrophe", as my stating "I released a substantial amount of my own p1ss from the roof of my house into the atmosphere largely in the form of last night's well processed guinness. It was one of the most significant p1sses I've ever taken from such a great height".

Now, whether that guinness permeated p1ss landed on some shrubbery and caused some notable effects, is the next question. - The same question you need to make the giant leap to... :roll:
 
Last edited:

Gin Soaked

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The other side to this is that we are "lucky " that it was relatively contained.

Imagine a complete failure to contain it? And different wind patterns.
 

HenryBone

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Got as far as 'For example, there was incredible regeneration of the flora and fauna around Chernobyl' lol, your link is from 2005 btw.

[video=youtube;NSO4ZoY7GT0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSO4ZoY7GT0[/video]
TITLE: Biological Consequences of Nuclear Disasters: From Chernobyl to Fukushima
SPEAKER: Timothy Mousseau
EVENT DATE: 2014/05/15
RUNNING TIME: 63 minutes
Library of Congress Biological Consequences of Nuclear Disasters: From Chernobyl to Fukushima Webcast | Library of Congress

'So we started working in Chernobyl in 2000 as a team, Anders and I. And we'd both been there before then and we decided this would be an interesting place to potentially discover new kinds of adaptations in plants and animals. We also began work in Fukushima in July 2011, three or four months after the disaster. Again mostly populations of birds, insects, microbes, mammals, just about mostly everything except people. Although we have started a small project in collaboration with the hospital in Kiev looking at a cohort of children because they found many parallels to what we found with the animals and so they're interested in maybe pairing some of these studies. More than 30 research expeditions to Chernobyl, 10 to Fukushima so far, more than 60 papers just on Chernobyl, Fukushima. And you can find most of them on my Website if you're at all interested in seeing these papers. I make this point at every talk because I frequently, I don't know why but I frequently get invited to speak to anti-nuclear activist groups. Some of my best friends but, you know, I make the point of we are independent biologists.

We don't have a dog in this race as it were. And we're mostly interested in the biological consequences of elevated mutation rates which is something that evolutionary biologists have not been able to really look at beyond a laboratory setting. And so being able to look at this, the effects of mutation inputs in a field setting at a landscape scale is kind of a unique opportunity for evolutionary biologists. I did discover recently that I am indeed an activist but I'm an activist for evidence based science policy as it relates to energy in the environment. So as, as a biologist, as a an active scientist of course we frame everything that we do in the context of hypotheses and questions. We try to be logical about it. And I'm not going to spend a lot of time at this but I just want to show you the chain of thought as it were involved in the logical progression in what we do.

You know, the first question is, you know, do, does the radiation levels, do the radiation levels that exist in Chernobyl and Fukushima, do they do anything? Are they high enough to cause increased mutation rights in natural populations? You might think that would be a given but it's, you know, there were lots of questions about this and so that's one of the, been one of the priorities for us is to document what kind of, what amount of genetic damage occurs as a result of the exposures that are there. Are there consequences? You know, we all have mutations inside our bodies and many of them don't do anything. They're not expressed, they're just sort of neutral as it were or slightly neutral. Dr. Steen can tell you about that. So you need to know whether or not these mutations have any meaning to the, to the animal. Particularly in terms of whether it has any meaning to the fitness of the animal. Does it affect its survival? Does it affect its ability to reproduce? Does it affect its susceptibility to disease and that kind of thing? You need to know this for it to really matter to make any difference. Finally, you know again, well not finally but again as ecologists we're quite interested in the notion of can there be adaptation? Will there be adaptation? In much the way that we're interested in whether or not plants and animals can adapt to climate change right now. That's a big topic as it were. We're interested in knowing whether or not there can be adaptation to elevated radiation levels. And I'll talk a little bit about that. Are there effects at the, you know, at the ecological scale on abundances in biodiversity? And finally are there effects on ecosystem functioning? Do the ecosystem services that we all rely on for generating clean water and food and building materials, are they effective in some significant way as a consequence of these kinds of disasters? I have to say that, you know, apart from the novelty we were also motivated by statements published by the International Atomic Energy Agency and their Chernobyl form reports from about 10 years ago. And in this reports they actually suggest with these words that the plants and animals inside the zone are actually, and you've probably all heard this. The plants and animals inside the zone are actually thriving. They're doing great because there's a fence and there's no people. And by implication because the radiation has no effect, right? And so we were intrigued by this notion. And so we wanted to see for ourselves. And we wanted to, turns out there wasn't a lot of data for it but there were, you know, lots of newspaper reports, you know. Chernobyl becomes a wildlife haven. Maybe you've seen, you know, the video, Radioactive Wolves and, you know, Disney Channel has these kind of Cinderella stories for Chernobyl on a regular basis. And we, but there, when we went to look for it there wasn't any quantitative scientific data published. This was really all anecdotally based. And so this motivated us. We knew that we could, whatever we found would be publishable. So we decided to get to it. And as I mentioned, most of our work has been with animal models, mostly birds because they're easier to see than most other animals. And a lot's known about birds. But also because I've never seen a barn swallow drinking vodka or smoking cigarettes. And as far I know they don't get stressed out from the disaster which has been used as one of the, you know, stress is an important component of human disease. We all know this. But the animals don't get stressed out from this and so we're presuming that if we do find things that are related to, you know, effects that are related to the radiation, it's not due to stress.'

We employ what I call a massively replicated biotic inventory approach. It's kind of a long name. But basically as we go to, we go to 400 locations in Fukushima and about 300 locations in Chernobyl. We've been to each of these 3 times now so far, and we basically count everything we see and identify everything we see at these 3 and 400 locations. We also measure everything else that might be important to determining whether a bird is there or not. What kind of trees there? Is there water there? What's the ground cover like? What's the soil type? What's the pH of the soil? Basically everything that's measurable in a relatively short period of time as well as the radiation level. And we do some GIS kind of things and multifarious statistics. And this allows us to factor out in a very sensitive manner whether or not there is as many animals as there should be of a given species at a given location.

And what proportion the variation or the deviation from prediction from expectation is due to radiation? And we do this, turns out that in the hotter parts of Chernobyl abundance is depressed by 2/3. There's on 1/3 as many birds as there should be living in these hot areas. So if you went there you'd still see a few birds. And you might go oh, looks kind of normal. But when you go and count them and you relate this to the radiation and everything else that's important, very, very strong signal, only 1/3 as many birds, about 1/2 as many species of birds in the area. So big effects on the abundance of biodiversity of birds. But it's not just birds. Spiders, again very few in the hot areas. Grasshoppers, fewer in the hot areas. Dragonflies, fewer in the hot areas. Bumblebees are quite sensitive it turns out and missing from the hot areas. Butterflies missing from the hot areas. Did I already say butterflies? And the question everybody asks of course is what about the mammals? To get at this we went and tracked animals in the wintertime. Not much fun but we can do this. Anybody have any idea what that footprint is? It's a wolf, yeah, it's a wolf. Look at the size of this thing. It's huge. There are wolves inside the zone. But when you look at the entire assemblage of mammals using this technique, many fewer mammals especially the smaller mammals in the hot areas. Here's one looking just at the voles. Aren't they cute? And basically when you get to above 10 microsieverts per hour, there are no voles in any part of the zone. They seem to be quite sensitive. They like to eat mushrooms that tend to concentrate in the [inaudible]. So we convinced at least BBC, I'm not sure we convinced anybody else but we convinced BBC that it's not a wildlife haven in the radioactive parts of the zone. The clean parts of the zone are just fine. But the radioactive parts of the zone are depauperate.'

'So just to finish up. So, what did we find? We found that most organisms show significantly increase rates of genetic damage where it's radioactive, no surprise there. Most, many of the organisms show increased rates of deformities and other kinds of developmental abnormalities again in proportion to the contamination levels, reduced fertilities, shortened lifespans. I didn't talk about that but we have data on this. Reduced population sizes and reduced biodiversity in many of these hot areas. Some other more interesting speculative suggestions are that there may be in some groups, there's some evidence of sort of amplification, magnification of genetic damage because of chronic multigenerational exposure to the radiation. There's some people, there are folks in Japan who have been working on this question and shown that this indeed happens for some butterflies and some mice under some sets of conditions. So it's certainly worth pursuing. And then the other issue of potential importance is the fact that because this radiation is low dose radiation, it doesn't kill the animals immediately. Most of the animals do not die as a direct result of the radiation and some other consequence. They live long enough to move as animals do. And so there's migration of this genetic damage outside of the zone.

^M00:50:11
>>Good news, there's not much good news, but it's, you know, there's some evidence that, that natural selection is working to improve response for some of these species. We don't know whether it will continue in the future. We don't know what's happening in Japan for the critters that are there. And let me just end with this then that I'd like, I'd like the next headlines to be something like this, you know. Basic scientific research reveals hidden effects of radiation that may be of general relevance for energy and health policy. That's what we're trying to do. And of course the one after that we'd like to see as would all of us in this room I'm sure. Thank you very much.'
http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/transcripts/2014/140515stb1130.txt
Introduction
 

olli rehn

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30 years ago today, the early hours of 26 April 1986, we had the melt-down at Chernobyl. - What have we learned from it?

Personally I think we were wrong to think of it as an "environmental catastrophe"... It certainly wasn't - it turns out it was actually a real blessing to the natural environment!

For example, there was incredible regeneration of the flora and fauna around Chernobyl. ---Chernobyl: No People But A Thriving Ecosystem

Even there was the return of many species that were on the verge of extinction in that part of the country!

(Now no doubt some humans subsequently went into the area and chopped up some of these animals living there so as to study them. And for example, they found that the new generation of birds had bird-brains that were 5% smaller. Although they automatically deduce that radiation is having a negative effect. - But perhaps these birds just have less to think about and fear, avoiding humans and traffic and other impacts we make on their life etc?!!)

And the human effects of Chernobyl too were vastly over-stated. - Remember the so called "environmentalists" claiming a million deaths would be caused? Whereas here are the actual findings:


UNSCEAR has conducted 20 years of detailed scientific and epidemiological research on the effects of the Chernobyl accident. Apart from the 57 direct deaths in the accident itself, UNSCEAR originally predicted up to 4,000 additional cancer cases due to the accident,[4] however the latest UNSCEAR reports insinuate that these estimates were overstated.[5] In addition, the IAEA states that there has been no increase in the rate of birth defects or abnormalities, or solid cancers (such as lung cancer) corroborating UNSCEAR's assessments.[6]

Precisely, UNSCEAR states:

"Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine there had been, up to 2002, about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident, and more cases are be expected during the next decades. Notwithstanding problems associated with screening, many of those cancers were most likely caused by radiation exposures shortly after the accident. Apart from this increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality rates or in rates of non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure. The risk of leukaemia in the general population, one of the main concerns owing to its short latency time, does not appear to be elevated. Although those most highly exposed individuals are at an increased risk of radiation-associated effects, the great majority of the population is not likely to experience serious health consequences as a result of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Many other health problems have been noted in the populations that are not related to radiation exposure."[7]

Thyroid cancer is generally treatable.[8] The five year survival rate of thyroid cancer is 96%, and 92% after 30 years, with proper treatment.[9]

"The Chernobyl Forum"[10] is a regular meeting of IAEA, other United Nations organizations (FAO, UN-OCHA, UNDP, UNEP, UNSCEAR, WHO and The World Bank) and the governments of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, which issues regular assessments of the evidence for health effects of the Chernobyl accident.

"The Chernobyl Forum" has concluded that a greater risk than the long-term effects of radiation exposure, is the risk to mental health of exaggerated fears about the effects of radiation:[11]

" ... The designation of the affected population as “victims” rather than “survivors” has led them to perceive themselves as helpless, weak and lacking control over their future. This, in turn, has led either to over cautious behavior and exaggerated health concerns, or to reckless conduct, such as consumption of mushrooms, berries and game from areas still designated as highly contaminated, overuse of alcohol and tobacco, and unprotected promiscuous sexual activity."[12]

While it was commented by Fred Mettler that 20 years later:[13]

The population remains largely unsure of what the effects of radiation actually are and retain a sense of foreboding. A number of adolescents and young adults who have been exposed to modest or small amounts of radiation feel that they are somehow fatally flawed and there is no downside to using illicit drugs or having unprotected sex. To reverse such attitudes and behaviors will likely take years although some youth groups have begun programs that have promise.

In addition, many charities which help the "Children of Chernobyl" may be helping disadvantaged children, but the health problems of such children are not only to do with the Chernobyl accident, but also with the desperately poor state of post-Soviet health systems.[14]

General findings of the forum here - UNSCEAR assessments of the Chernobyl accident


No doubt, many parts of industry were badly hit. - For example, Chernobyl lead to large areas of marine life being given a much needed break from over-fishing and marine resource depletion so it could regenerate itself! (Aww. Poor fishing industry...).

And no doubt there is dangerous nuclear waste still there. But certainly, it is buried deeply, and would pose zero threat to the earth anyway... and be dangerous only to those foolish enough to expose themselves to its radiation...

But in general, perhaps we might learn from Chernobyl that if that is the worst that can happen, maybe we should forge on with the development of this power source?

What do people think?
You sound like a shill for the nuclear industry !

Just one remark: The radiation is not deeply burried. It is all over the area in the top soil. Considering that it is all bog land, a forest fire would have devastating consequences for the area itself and large parts of Europe- depends again on the wind factor. The radioactive particles will be all over the place- including your lung.Global warming will sooner or later create another desaster !
 
Last edited:

cozzy121

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Messages
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Yes. We know that.

Now, tell us, where did the "environmental catastrophe" stem from that? Quantify it. What did it do to the environment. How long did these effects last? And so on.

I am most probably talking to a particularly obtuse wall here, but the statement "the release of substantial amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere in the form of both particulate and gaseous radioisotopes" has about as much significance in terms of its relation to "environmental catastrophe", as my stating "I released a substantial amount of my own p1ss from the roof of my house into the atmosphere largely in the form of last night's well processed guinness. It was one of the most significant p1sses I've ever taken from such a great height".

Now, whether that guinness permeated p1ss landed on some shrubbery and caused some notable effects, is the next question. - The same question you need to make the giant leap to... :roll:
"Guinness piss" :roll: Sigh..

6000 children born every year in the Ukraine with congenital heart defects such as ‘Chernobyl Heart’.
Chernobyl Children International - Home
 

roc_

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Messages
6,650
I am fairly sure this is just one of the self regarding and sentimental "charidees" that usually spring up when sentimental people feel they "must do something".

Can you point me to any proper scientific evidence of congenital heart defects in these "Chernobyl babies"?

I linked the research of UNSCEAR above.

Here's one extract from one of their reports from their scientific research:

There have been many studies of possible heritable effects following
radiation exposure; such studies were reviewed by the Committee in 2001. It has
been generally concluded that no heritable effects in humans due to radiation
exposure have been explicitly identified
(specifically in studies of offspring of
survivors of the atomic bombings). Over the past decade, there have been additional
studies that have focused on survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer following
radiotherapy, where gonadal doses are often very high. There is essentially no
evidence of an increase in chromosomal instability, minisatellite mutations,
transgenerational genomic instability, change in sex ratio of offspring, congenital
anomalies or increased cancer risk in the offspring of parents exposed to radiation.


What are the actual figures and facts beyond the full screen pictures of crying babies, please? Thanks.
 

roc_

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Thanks, @HenryBone for the report. Good stuff.

So am I correct in saying that his main conclusion is that in the 'hottest' zones close to the accident site, there are around one third less fauna than there would be in a regular nature reserve? And there are some small anomalies in mutation levels observable?

Is that the worst of it?

And for comparison, what would the corresponding environmental impact be if say a Disney world was built on the site?

Or put another way, is this...



... the image that people generally would have in their head of an area hit with nuclear fall-out, as has been generally depicted in films, and in the media etc?
 

EoinMag

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I believe that if you stood next to the reactor back when it was going off that you could make great toast...the dangers were really overstated, the toast was apparently delicious.
 

roc_

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You sound like a shill for the nuclear industry !

Just one remark: The radiation is not deeply burried. It is all over the area in the top soil. Considering that it is all bog land, a forest fire would have devastating consequences for the area itself and large parts of Europe- depends again on the wind factor. The radioactive particles will be all over the place- including your lung.Global warming will sooner or later create another desaster !
Let's say that actually happened. Now, answer the question - is radioactivity at the kind of levels you are talking about in your scenario really that bad? Quantify it. Demonstrate it. What have we learned from Chernobyl in that regard? Have a look at the UNSCEAR or other studies etc.
 

gleeful

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I believe that if you stood next to the reactor back when it was going off that you could make great toast...the dangers were really overstated, the toast was apparently delicious.
Standing in the furnace of a coal power station would have a similar effect.
 

roc_

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Ukraine is a big place and received almost no fallout due to chernobyl. 6000 heart defects for a population is about what youd expect for 60 million people. The UK has a simular number.
Just for information:

[video=youtube;MU4_bJT8W3Y]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU4_bJT8W3Y[/video]
 

EoinMag

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Standing in the furnace of a coal power station would have a similar effect.
The toast might burn a little bit in that case, but yes, similar definitely.

#sciencenstuff
 

cozzy121

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Daughter of KGB first responder Genia, 31, London. Then, Kiev
"....My dad stayed and continued his daily trips to the evacuation zone – first just Pripyat, then a 5km radius, then 10km, then 30km. It took 20 years before he agreed to talk about what happened.

He arrived at the explosion site early in the afternoon on 27 April. By then most of the firefighters and plant workers had been sent home: some had already died from radiation exposure.
The army commanders gave the orders: the priority was to collect the waste. There were no radioactive suits or protective gear, not even gloves. Most died within hours."
'Not a year went by without a Chernobyl funeral': 30 years since disaster hit | World news | The Guardian
 

roc_

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gleeful

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I'm not doubting personal tragedies. Particularly for the families of firefighters at the site, and people evacuated from the immediate vicinity who lost their homes.
I am doubting the statement "Most died within hours". There's no evidence that people involved in the cleanup died within hours, or indeed that they died younger as a result. The 200,000 people involved in cleanup have been very heavily studied and tracked over the past 30 years. Their health and mortality rates are the same as the general population.

One study linked on the wikipedia article says that by 2006 (ie. 20 years later), 10% of the liquidators were dead - but not from radiation.
 

cozzy121

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Chernobyl nuclear accident: figures for deaths and cancers still in dispute | Environment | The Guardian

At the children's cancer hospital in Minsk, Belarus, and at the Vilne hospital for radiological protection in the east of Ukraine, specialist doctors are in no doubt they are seeing highly unusual rates of cancers, mutations and blood diseases linked to the Chernobyl nuclear accident 24 years ago.

But proving that infant mortality hundreds of miles from the stricken nuclear plant has increased 20-30% in 20 years, or that the many young people suffering from genetic disorders, internal organ deformities and thyroid cancers are the victims of the world's greatest release of radioactivity, is impossible.
 

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