Mar. 28th, 2009

webfarmer: (Default)
March 26th was the anniversary of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear reactor melt and release. The Nation has an article in remembrance with a questionable conclusion, imo. Some say it was a big deal healthwise, others say it was no big deal in that department. On a similar theme, the Sand Jose Mercury News put out a report on the haps at Chernobyl.

A bit of irony. The same folks who are pushing for new nukes are often the same people who don't believe in global warming and certainly not cap-and-trade or other carbon tax or credit systems which would actually help the new nukes become halfway cost-effective. At least in theory, as noted in the MIT report on the future of nuclear power a few years back. They don't pencil out well even if you go that way compared to several alternatives.

Three Mile Island, the NRC and Obama - The Nation - 27 Mar 09

"It was thirty years ago this week that the Unit 2 reactor of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant began a partial meltdown. As its fuel rods began to burn out of control, a hydrogen bubble formed, causing a small explosion."

"The crisis was eventually brought under control. How narrow the margin of error. That accident was bad--43,000 curies of krypton radiation were released--but it could have been catastrophic.

One reason more radiation was not released was because 'paranoid' anti-nuke activists worried that the plant, built directly in the flight path of the Harrisburg airport, could be hit by a jet. They demanded a very strong containment shell be built over the reactor. As a result, TMI had one of the strongest such protective seals in the country."


The Lost City of Chernobyl - San Jose Mercury News - 28 Mar 09

"More than 20 years after the atomic genie was released from the bottle, the invisible danger in this modern ghost town remains. Zaburin tells me not to worry, but I can see the readout on his dosimeter. It says 1,800. Only a few hours earlier he told me that 50 is normal. What am I doing here?"

"While it wasn't a nuclear explosion, the reactor blew apart, shooting radioactive debris more than a mile into the sky. In the days after the explosion, winds carried radioactive fallout across most of Europe.

Eventually more than 300,000 people were forced to relocate. It may seem a macabre place to visit, but is Chernobyl any different from the sites of tragedies like Auschwitz or New York's ground zero? It too has become hallowed ground where people come to witness history and to remember."

"Pripyat, the power plant's support city, once had a population of about 50,000. Today it's zero.

Back in 1986, officials told residents that the evacuation was temporary and they need only bring a few days' worth of clothes. As a result, most people left everything behind, unaware that they would never return.


Pripyat was a modern city before the disaster. Today, it is a crumbling shell, a surreal place where empty roads are lined with street lamps that never light. The only traffic is the occasional bright yellow dump truck emblazoned with radioactive symbols. Zaburin warns us not to breathe when they pass by. The dust could be hazardous to our health."
webfarmer: (Default)
March 26th was the anniversary of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear reactor melt and release. The Nation has an article in remembrance with a questionable conclusion, imo. Some say it was a big deal healthwise, others say it was no big deal in that department. On a similar theme, the Sand Jose Mercury News put out a report on the haps at Chernobyl.

A bit of irony. The same folks who are pushing for new nukes are often the same people who don't believe in global warming and certainly not cap-and-trade or other carbon tax or credit systems which would actually help the new nukes become halfway cost-effective. At least in theory, as noted in the MIT report on the future of nuclear power a few years back. They don't pencil out well even if you go that way compared to several alternatives.

Three Mile Island, the NRC and Obama - The Nation - 27 Mar 09

"It was thirty years ago this week that the Unit 2 reactor of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant began a partial meltdown. As its fuel rods began to burn out of control, a hydrogen bubble formed, causing a small explosion."

"The crisis was eventually brought under control. How narrow the margin of error. That accident was bad--43,000 curies of krypton radiation were released--but it could have been catastrophic.

One reason more radiation was not released was because 'paranoid' anti-nuke activists worried that the plant, built directly in the flight path of the Harrisburg airport, could be hit by a jet. They demanded a very strong containment shell be built over the reactor. As a result, TMI had one of the strongest such protective seals in the country."


The Lost City of Chernobyl - San Jose Mercury News - 28 Mar 09

"More than 20 years after the atomic genie was released from the bottle, the invisible danger in this modern ghost town remains. Zaburin tells me not to worry, but I can see the readout on his dosimeter. It says 1,800. Only a few hours earlier he told me that 50 is normal. What am I doing here?"

"While it wasn't a nuclear explosion, the reactor blew apart, shooting radioactive debris more than a mile into the sky. In the days after the explosion, winds carried radioactive fallout across most of Europe.

Eventually more than 300,000 people were forced to relocate. It may seem a macabre place to visit, but is Chernobyl any different from the sites of tragedies like Auschwitz or New York's ground zero? It too has become hallowed ground where people come to witness history and to remember."

"Pripyat, the power plant's support city, once had a population of about 50,000. Today it's zero.

Back in 1986, officials told residents that the evacuation was temporary and they need only bring a few days' worth of clothes. As a result, most people left everything behind, unaware that they would never return.


Pripyat was a modern city before the disaster. Today, it is a crumbling shell, a surreal place where empty roads are lined with street lamps that never light. The only traffic is the occasional bright yellow dump truck emblazoned with radioactive symbols. Zaburin warns us not to breathe when they pass by. The dust could be hazardous to our health."

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