Chernobyl How did this worker approach this fuel mass at Chernobyl?

DEvens

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Some notes about Chernobyl:

Those "bio-robots," the guys on the roof tossing debris back in the pit. There were many thousands of them. The direct radiation effect is tiny, hardly measurable. It is entirely swamped by another effect. The media and all their friends and relatives assured them they were doomed to a horrible death due to this. So they started drinking and smoking and otherwise not caring for themselves. So they are suffering much more from liver disease, heart disease, smoking-related lung cancer, etc., than the background. But their cancer rates, other than lung cancer, are basically indistinguishable from the background.

That's right. The effects of doom-and-gloom over the radiation dose these guys got was by far larger than the effect of the dose itself.
 

jim hardy

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While on the subject of hype:


Plutonium is not for pizza topping but it isn't what the "screamers" claim either.



TOXICITY


Plutonium never was “the most toxic substance known to man”, as has so often been asserted by its detractors. It is indisputably very toxic but in a different way from more familiar poisons such as cyanide or botulin. In the worst imaginable circumstances plutonium lodged in the body might cause cancer 20 years later. Cyanide can kill in minutes.

What was perhaps the world’s most exclusive club comprised a handful of Americans who became contaminated in accidents with plutonium in the scramble to make the first plutonium weapons. All were young white males who had been working under laboratory conditions acknowledged to have been “extraordinarily crude” in 1944-5, on one of four chemical processes: purification, fluorination, metal reduction and recovery. The kinds of accident they suffered included chemical burns by plutonium salt solutions. Members were enrolled by medics at Los Alamos because they were judged to have experienced the highest exposures to plutonium of all people engaged in the Manhattan Project. The chosen 26 were excreting the highest levels of plutonium in their urine. In 1952, when the club was formed, each was estimated to be contaminated with between 0.1-1.2µg of plutonium.

Most of the men left Los Alamos soon after the war ended and scattered throughout the USA. Three of them continued to work with plutonium. Four had been involved with three or more accidents with the stuff. The medics traced all 26 in 1952-3 and carried out their first follow-up of medical studies. Thereafter they were given a complete medical examination about every five years. Two decades later, in 1971-2, 22 of them returned to Los Alamos for a more complete study of their plutonium body burden, with two more opting for their own doctors instead of Los Alamos’s. One had died.

By 1979, when George L Voelz and his colleagues published their 32-year medical follow-up of club members, two had died: the first from a heart attack in 1959, aged 36; and another from a road accident in 1975, aged 52. The surviving 24 had suffered no cancers other than two skin cancers “that have no history or basis that relate them to plutonium exposure”, they reported. They found the diseases and physical changes in club members were “characteristic of a male population in their 50s and 60s”. The mortality rate of the club was about 50% of the expected deaths among white American males at that time.

The moral of this story is not, of course, that plutonium is good for you, but that it’s nowhere near as deadly as it’s been cracked up to be. Admittedly, the club members were above-average intelligence – college students or chemical engineering graduates in their early-20s who had been called up for the US Army and drafted to Los Alamos. Many returned to college after the war. Within a few years almost all were in supervisory, administrative or professional positions where they were no longer exposed significantly to any toxic chemicals or radioactive materials. Nine never smoked. Four had reached their sixties, one 69.

Voelz, speaking in 1999 after his retirement, recalled that he’d arrived in Los Alamos in 1952 for a year of in-plant training in industrial medicine and was intrigued with all the concern for protecting and following people exposed to plutonium. “I had never heard of plutonium until I got to Los Alamos”. The club had already been started. Describing the exposures of the 26, Voelz noted: “The work during World War II was done in ordinary wood frame buildings with openfaced chemical hoods”. Some work, such as weighing and centrifuging, was actually done outside the hoods”. Club members expressed no serious fears or concerns about their exposures to plute. “They are interested in hearing the results of our studies and have been fully cooperative through these many years”. He stressed the importance of a close rapport and kept in touch personally with letters and presentations, encouraging them to call if they had any questions – as any good club might do. None ever filed claims for compensation.

Today there are over 1200 plute-contaminated people under constant medical observation, with no detectable effects so far, Eric Voice, a British scientist who worked with plutonium at Harwell and Dounreay, told me in the summer of 2004. In retirement in 1992 Voice participated in several experiments, in one of which plutonium citrate solution was deliberately injected into several volunteers, for biomedical researchers to follow the patterns of plute excretion and movement of plute in blood, tissues, liver and bones. These metabolic experiments used short-lived plutonium isotopes. Twelve years later he’d reached the age of 80 and accumulated no fewer than 15 reports of results and deductions about these experiments published in the professional press. Is getting plutonium inside the body more dangerous than any radioactivity we already have inside us? No, Voice asserted, the radium in the world around us is twenty times more dangerous than the same mass of plutonium. “And there is no evidence that any human on Earth has ever died or suffered any health consequences whatever from plutonium radioactivity”.

Eric Voice died in September 2004 from motor neurone disease. An obituary in the Daily Telegraph recounted how in one experiment “Voice was one of a dozen guinea pigs who inhaled trace amounts of plutonium isotopes of the sort found in nuclear reactors. Measurements were then made tracking the progress of the substances through the body. The study was designed to find out how to treat people in the event of a nuclear accident”. He had lived for another five years after the UKAEA declared in 1999 that all of its guinea pigs were still alive and healthy.
http://www.neimagazine.com/opinion/opinionthe-drama-of-plutonium
I think I posted this article someplace before - was glad to find it again.
 
I think the picture was taken many years after the disaster.

10.000 R/hour activity was observed in first minutes after the accident - it is way lower by now.

Still, one has to note that at least one person from reactor 4 personal who was right at the spot during the explosion still alive ( however has quite some medical problems because of radiation exposure of 1000 R or so.).
 
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nikpav73
10.000 R/hour activity was observed in first minutes after the accident - it is way lower by now
I'm sorry it's machine translation


Large radiation fields have their own smell. And if you feel it, do not exhibit any heroism, and very quickly Jacked ".


"How do they smell?"

"Ozone. First Commandment: Fear the smell of ozone."

Found it in one of the rooms at a 6 m fall of 1986 to see the 'ivory leg "had to crawl through a narrow enough, anyway, for my size, slit. After a few meters slot takes you to the corridor service. Right in this corridor was the door to the room is very useful to us for thermal reconnaissance. As it turned out, it was located down and across from the location of the major accumulations of lava. In this room was full of tubes and very hot, over 40 degrees Celsius. However, dose rates remained quite acceptable. Left - corridor widened and there somewhere, far away, and wore a black, smooth surface, a huge drop. She blew cool and the radiation field, reaches 8000 r / hr
http://berkovich-zametki.com/2008/Zametki/Nomer9/Borovoj1.php
Inside the reactor, Elena
 

Attachments

I think the picture was taken many years after the disaster.

10.000 R/hour activity was observed in first minutes after the accident - it is way lower by now.
Correction. Not minutes. Weeks and months.
 
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I remember reading at the time that the workers, in a macho display of bravura, tried to outdo each other in how much radiation they exposed themselves to
 
The guys who went in and gazed directly at the flipped upper biological shield and looked directly into the core all died within a few days or a couple of weeks.

The guy who held the door as they quickly glanced around it endured many skin grafts.
 

.Scott

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Here is another photo of the "elephant's foot." You can see distortions and abnormalities in the photograph caused by EXTREME levels of radiation. This radiation (thousands of rads per hour) actually caused the lower half of the worker to appear transparent.

Crazy... absolutely crazy....

chernobyl-elephants-foot.jpg
This worker appears transparent because this is a time-exposure (I would guess at least 5 seconds) during which the worker moved.

http://www.jonmwang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/chernobyl-elephants-foot.jpg
 

.Scott

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Is that the actual elephants foot? I don't think so that kind of looks like it might be a turbine or something, and I thought no one EVER got that close to the "elephants foot" in person... I thought the only photo(s) they got of it was with a robot.
Robots couldn't hack it. They needed to use people.
Some modern robots are now able to tolerate the heat, radiation, and obstacles.
 

SteamKing

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Google for images "Chernobyl elephant foot" if you want to see it.
 
10,000 R/hr is 2.8 R/second. Assuming the guy just ran up, took the picture, and then ran back, his dose would not be too extreme. More than I would volunteer to receive though.
"Doesn't matter, got the shot!" The photographer in me would be super excited.
 
Hmmm I believe the word I'm looking for is expendable.
 

Morbius

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Off-topic, but how do roentgens convert to rads? Which unit is greater?
Kutt,

They don't!! Roentgens and rads are units for two DIFFERENT quantities. It's like asking how do meters convert to kilograms and which unit is greater.

Roentgens are a unit of of ionizing radiation; an amount that liberates one esu ( electro-static unit of charge ) per cubic centimeter.

A Rad is a unit of absorbed dose. You need to specify what material is absorbing the radiation. A rad was originally defined as 100 ergs of absorbed dose energy per gm of material. The rad has been superceded by the SI unit "Gray" which equals 1 Joule absorbed dose per kilogram.
 
wow this is a great forum!!!!! esp the talk about contamination and radiation!!! lol I just have a question about the video of the guys going into the sarcophagus, at the end of the video he is filming what looks like the top of the blown sideways reactor core, cause thats what it looks like?! thanks jim hardy and all who posted, and as for the two people picture, their is literally no distortion / grain look to the film beside the guy obv.... So how is that possible?? Not radiation thats how.lol. keep the videos of chernobly coming i cant get enough. and thanks again to all i know this all started 3 years ago!!.
 
http://chernobylgallery.com/chernobyl-disaster/radiation-levels/

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2016/0424/Chernobyl-will-be-unhabitable-for-at-least-3-000-years-say-nuclear-experts-video

The town of Pripyat was ordered evacuated. Obviously the Soviets had to explain why.

From the above article: "Asked when the reactor site would again become inhabitable, Ihor Gramotkin, director of the Chernobyl power plant, replies 'At least 20,000 years.'"


See the documentary Chernobyl Uncensored.

Here someone finds a fuel fragment.

 
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mheslep

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From the above article: "Asked when the reactor site would again become inhabitable, Ihor Gramotkin, director of the Chernobyl power plant, replies 'At least 20,000 years.'"
Perhaps so, with no remediation, no cleanup. But radiation levels will have fallen suffciently to allow an effective cleanup in 300 years, with today's technology.
 
From the above article: "Asked when the reactor site would again become inhabitable, Ihor Gramotkin, director of the Chernobyl power plant, replies 'At least 20,000 years.'"
Well, the "the reactor site" per se is a rather small area, maybe 1x1 kilometer. Of course it is heavily contaminated - it has many tons of formerly molten spent nuclear fuel and burnt reactor graphite in it, not to mention other material. That sort of material is not something which decays to safe radiation levels in "only" a few centuries.

But apart from that small area, the remaining lands around the plant (which are vastly larger in area) are much better off: almost all radiation there is due to Cs-137 and Sr-90. Basically, every passed 30 years will be halving radiation levels.
 

mheslep

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Well, the "the reactor site" per se is a rather small area, maybe 1x1 kilometer. Of course it is heavily contaminated - it has many tons of formerly molten spent nuclear fuel and burnt reactor graphite in it, not to mention other material. That sort of material is not something which decays to safe radiation levels in "only" a few centuries.
Not safe to live beside, but once the fission products have decayed away the remaining actinide alpha emitters should be at levels (100X that of uranium ore) where disposal and site mitigation is feasible.
 
Not safe to live beside, but once the fission products have decayed away the remaining actinide alpha emitters should be at levels (100X that of uranium ore) where disposal and site mitigation is feasible.
There were 190 tons of fuel in the reactor. Roughly 0.5% of that was plutonium, almost entirely Pu239 and Pu240, half-lives of 24110 years and 6561 years. A few centuries don't change much for these isotopes' activity. It's way more radioactive than "100X that of uranium ore". More like "100000X that of uranium ore".

About a **metric ton** of that stuff, melted, oxidized, pulverized into dust, formed compounds with all kinds of other materials, is seriously not something anyone would enjoy having to clean up.
 

mheslep

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There were 190 tons of fuel in the reactor. Roughly 0.5% of that was plutonium, almost entirely Pu239 and Pu240, half-lives of 24110 years and 6561 years. A few centuries don't change much for these isotopes' activity. It's way more radioactive than "100X that of uranium ore". More like "100000X that of uranium ore".
Depends on what "it" refers to. One gram of U ore vs one gram of Pu, yes, the Pu is more radioactive. But this is not the relative comparison for sake of clean up, which is, say, 100 tons of U ore vs 100 tons of Chernobyl reactor melt mass.

picture1.jpg


Dust reduction recelves attention in Uranium mining per sources like the WNA. I imagine accident cleanup would receive similar attention.
 

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