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Ghost Town


rustyjaw
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I just went through it again, some of the comments really freak me out. The one about the people standing on the roof of the tallest building in town looking at the beautiful glow from the power plant...they're looking at the glow of radiation.

 

For all intents and purposes if you can see radiation glow with your own eyes, you're basically already dead

 

Then she shows you the view they had.

 

Other comments are almost cinematic, like the comment about filling the empty, silent city with the sounds of her motorcycle.

 

The saddest might be about the firefighters, who showed up to fight a fire, no one bothering to tell them that it's a radioactive fire. The picture of all of the empty firetrucks, and then the empty fire station. Whoa. :(

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Interesting find. When I was in Ukraine in 1989 (or 1990?) I remember being instructed to eat no produce.

 

The one about the people standing on the roof of the tallest building in town looking at the beautiful glow from the power plant...they're looking at the glow of radiation.

 

For all intents and purposes if you can see radiation glow with your own eyes, you're basically already dead

 

I'm not too sure about that. I know there are particular circumstances in which nuclear radiation can cause a glow, but on it's own there isn't any glow. It's invisible.

 

I think people are saying that the glow was caused by burning graphite from a chunk of reactor ejected in the explosion.

 

Basically, a RBMK reactor is a huge stack of graphite with several hundred channels drilled vertically through the carbon matrix. ... However, as the graphite moderator is placed next to the uranium fuel elements, about five percent of the thermal energy released by the uranium is transferred to the graphite. This means that the graphite in RBMK reactors routinely functions at temperatures exceeding 700 Celsius, emitting a faint reddish glow. Unfortunately, graphite has the nasty tendency to burn at high temperatures when exposed to oxygen, so the entire core must be placed into a huge metal container where inert gases are constantly circulated (Marples 4-8).

 

From this article

 

-j

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Originally posted by Robot Monkey@Mar 27 2004, 05:38 AM

I think people are saying that the glow was caused by burning graphite from a chunk of reactor ejected in the explosion.

Ah, OK, Im thinking back to the Japanese nuclear accident about 5 years ago when the workers saw a blue glow, lets just say it's a really bad sign if you see such a thing.

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And Jay, what were you doing in Ukraine? I've never been there, but I'm 1/4 Ukranian.

 

There are so many interesting threads in Elena's photojournal, like the fact that the police started going after looters only after radioactive TVs started showing up on the black market in Kiev.

 

The other one about the mail left in the mailbox, and the date circled on the calendar in the person's house...and of course the photos left on the piano.

 

And if you ever had any doubts that Russian has no articles in its grammar, reading through this will confirm it ;)

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I don't really think there are any words that can accurately describe how completely depressing that was... I have been horrified by the affects of radiation and some of the disasters the human race has made along the way. Why even here in the US there are many places where we just buried radioactive materials under the ground and in some cases its now bubbling back up on the west coast. Louisiana was also a nuclear hot spot with radioactive materials just chilling in people's backyards in an area known as the "cancer strip" down there.

 

Pain of Salvation's "One Hour by the Concrete Lake" CD is what really opened my eyes to these things... its based on the true story of lake Karachay in Kyshtym and is a depressing piece of musical art. Anyone that's interested can read my old impressions of the album here: http://www.geocities.com/byrdtribute/pos.html

 

It also details some of the horrors of Karachay as well...

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Amazing stuff. I was particularly struck by how tourists :shock: found the complete silence to be unbearable. I couldn't imagine doing that, particularly on a motorcycle. What if you laid it down? Even in the best of times [were there any?], Soviet architecture is incredibly ugly, though I love Soviet (especially poster) art.

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One thing I've observed in my travels and reading over the years is that nobody could do environmental catastrophe like Communists. If you're like me and find an oil tanker spill upsetting, you'll need blood pressure medication if you look at what was done in former Warsaw pact countries.

 

If you'd like to know more about a bizarre radiological incident in Michigan in 1995, pick up The Radioactive Boy Scout.

 

From Amazon.com's capsule:

 

On June 26, 1995 the people of Golf Manor, Michigan returned from work to find a federal EPA crew dismantling a potting shed in Patty Hahn's back yard. In subsequent days, the crew, wearing protective suits, carted away the refuse in sealed barrels emblazoned with radiation symbols. The EPA workers refused to disclose what was happening, only offering vague reassurance that everything was ok.

 

Ken Silverstein shows that things in Golf Manor were not, in fact, ok. David Hahn, a 17-year-old aspiring Eagle Scout, had constructed the rudiments of a nuclear breeder reactor in his backyard and had contaminated himself and the immediate area with potentially deadly radioactive material.

 

You can hear an audio interview with the author here. I can't remember whether he got the atomic energy merit badge he was seeking.

 

-j

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