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Archive for the ‘nuclear fuel’ Category

Chernobyl: The Day After

Posted by feww on April 27, 2010

Chernobyl Happened Yesterday!

City of Chernobyl had managed to live for 793 years…

Reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded on April 26, 1986 at about 1:00am local time.  The explosion killed at least  four plant employees instantly.

By the time  residents of Pripyat, a town located near the plant, were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning.


Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant underwent a core meltdown [center] in 1986 with disastrous consequences. This image was taken by authorities in the former Soviet Union

The Incident: A meltdown of the reactor’s core in the Chernobyl power plant killed thirty people in 1986. About 135,000 people were evacuated. It is believed that about one hundred times more radiation was released in the accident than by the atom bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Legacy: More than 4000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed among children and adolescents between 1992 to 2002 in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Victims under 14 years were most severely affected by the elevated concentrations of radioiodine found in milk.

Incidents of skin lesions, respiratory ailments, infertility and birth defects were readily found among the more than five million people who inhabit the affected areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine for many years following the accident.

Disputed Facts: The above facts, however, have been disputed by a number of individuals including the author of a recent WHO report, and the retired “nukophile” British academic, James Lovelack. Local and international experts, however, have dismissed the WHO report findings. A UN report released in 2005 estimated the number of victims at just 4,000. Their figure is hotly disputed  by NGOs and independent experts.

“A report by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko which appeared in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science showed that by 2004, there were 985,000 additional deaths worldwide caused by the nuclear disaster, including 212,000 of them within Western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”

The Poisoned land. Up to 5 million people continue to live on radioactive contaminated land. About 85% of the children who live in contaminated areas of Belarus today are ill, a near 6-fold increase compared to the time before the explosion (15%), according to The Belarusian National Academy of Sciences.

Chernobyl and Other Nuclear Stats

  • More than 95% of the radioactive material (180 metric tons with a radioactivity of about 18 million curies) still remains inside the Chernobyl reactor.
  • Immediately after the accident, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, and 31 died within the first 90 days of the disaster.
  • About 135,000 people were evacuated from the area surrounding the plant, including 50,000 from the town of Pripyat.
  • The Academy’s  estimate for the number of casualties  are more than 90,000 deaths and more than a quarter of a million cancer cases.
  • The Ukrainian National Commission for Radiation Protection calculates the number of radiation casualties at half a million  deaths so far.
  • Some 436 commercial nuclear power reactors are  operating in 30 countries ( total capacity of 372,000 MWe) each of which is potentially as dangerous as Chernobyl, if not worse.
  • An estimated 56 countries operate more than 250 research reactors.
  • At least 220 nuclear reactors power military ships and submarines.

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Smoke Detected at Japanese Nuke Plant

Posted by feww on October 10, 2008

Japan’s Nuclear Cowboys

Sensors detected smoke at Tokaimura nuclear complex about 120km northeast of Tokyo on Friday. Smoke was detected at a solid waste facility where metal waste is incinerated. The operator claimed there was no release of radioactivity.

The fuel reprocessing center in Tokaimura was the scene of an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction in September 1999 which killed two employees and contaminated about 700 people with radiation.

“Japan’s nuclear power program has a history of accidents and lax oversight. In August, liquid containing uranium splashed out of a container at a nuclear fuel plant southwest of Tokyo, exposing two people to radiation.” AP reported.

Engineers at Tokaimura plant triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Credit: New Scientist. Image may be subject to copyright.

Emergency response personnel at the site of the Tokaimura criticality accident, Japan, September 30, 1999. Source: The Encyclopedia of Earth.

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