• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Chernobyl series on HBO

Cosmik

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
2,843
Likes
1,586
Location
UK
#2
I'm watching the second part tonight. Thought the first part was brilliant - and grim (if that makes sense).

The story so far is summed up by:

"What readings are you getting?"
"3.6, but the meter doesn't go any higher than 3.6"
"3.6 isn't too bad. No need to worry."
 

dc655321

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
391
Likes
307
#4
Also, watching this mini-series. I agree it has been great so far.

Every place I've worked in the last decade has required "Radiological Worker Training" of some form or another, so I'm somewhat sensitive to the hazards (and more than a little paranoid!).

To put some of numbers in the show in perspective, the maximum allowable rate of exposure at my current place of employment is on the order of 100 mrem/yr or 5 mrem/hr (milli-Roentgen-equivalent-man; damn USA and their antiquated units!).

1 Roentgen is ~0.9 rem. So, by modern safety standards, 3.6 Roentgen is approximately 30 times the "safe" yearly limit for radiation exposure.
Not sure of the integration time of the meters in the show, but lets say 1 second. That means (according to that particular, limited meter) workers were receiving 30 times the yearly "safe" exposure levels every second.

Spoiler alert: the actual exposure levels were thousands of times higher than 3.6 Roentgen...

In part two of the series, they show the air glowing above the broken reactor core (due to Cherenkov radiation, basically the wake emitted by subatomic particles with relativistic velocities). I actually got shivers seeing and thinking about what that indicates.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
5,987
Likes
5,219
#5
From the second episode using the 3.6 number. Party official says, "it is about as much as one chest x-ray". Nuclear physicist corrects him, "it is about 400 chest X-rays. Every second".
 

NTomokawa

Active Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
168
Likes
157
Location
Canada
#10
Now I can't wait for a Fukushima disaster TV series to be made.

All the officials behind the massive and ongoing cover-up should perform mass seppuku.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
5,987
Likes
5,219
#11
Now I can't wait for a Fukushima disaster TV series to be made.

All the officials behind the massive and ongoing cover-up should perform mass seppuku.
I wouldn't be surprised if such a thing isn't done one day.

I've in years past worked in public utilities. Not electrical or nuclear. But it is the same in all of them. It won't get noticed quite as much as nuclear issues. You have disasters simply designed in and waiting to happen. Almost always there are people who can see it from years away and try to get it changed. Bureaucracy interferes and nothing happens until the disaster occurs. At which point people from the outside are almost incredulous that something so stupid could have been done or that something so stupid was done in handling the disaster. Worse the bureaucratic response is often to implement some onerous rule to prevent it in the future, and about as often as not the rule actually isn't effective either. But everyone feels like something was done so they can't be held responsible for doing nothing.

The big deal with Chernobyl is running nuclear reactors without containment vessels. With a containment vessel this would have been a notable accident, but nothing like what it became.
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
6,875
Likes
3,049
Location
Riverview, FL
#12

Cosmik

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
2,843
Likes
1,586
Location
UK
#13
I wouldn't be surprised if such a thing isn't done one day.

I've in years past worked in public utilities. Not electrical or nuclear. But it is the same in all of them. It won't get noticed quite as much as nuclear issues. You have disasters simply designed in and waiting to happen. Almost always there are people who can see it from years away and try to get it changed. Bureaucracy interferes and nothing happens until the disaster occurs. At which point people from the outside are almost incredulous that something so stupid could have been done or that something so stupid was done in handling the disaster. Worse the bureaucratic response is often to implement some onerous rule to prevent it in the future, and about as often as not the rule actually isn't effective either. But everyone feels like something was done so they can't be held responsible for doing nothing.

The big deal with Chernobyl is running nuclear reactors without containment vessels. With a containment vessel this would have been a notable accident, but nothing like what it became.
One of the responses to the global warming idea is to say that we need more nuclear power and that modern types of reactor are safe, stable, inherently can't go wrong. In fact, I did read someone advocating having one in every town! What's your opinion?
 
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
25
Likes
16
#14
One of the scariest and most gripping HBO docs-drama's ever. Both Lane Pryce and Good Will Hunting professor guy are brilliant as the two leads. Emily Watson has never been disappointing. I've been more excited about new episodes of this than Game of Thrones.
 

March Audio

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,662
Likes
3,249
Location
Perth Western Australia
#15
I havent been able to watch this yet but I (and my wife) spent some time working at Berkeley nuclear power station in the UK. Safety was paramount.

What was good fun was the monthly drills practicing event responses, such as incursion by protestors or terrorists :)

This construction film from the late 50s is brilliant British Pathe style :)

 

DKT88

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
119
Likes
88
Location
South Korea
#16
The big deal with Chernobyl is running nuclear reactors without containment vessels. With a containment vessel this would have been a notable accident, but nothing like what it became.
You're right, and it didn't help that the reactor used graphite and had a positive void coefficient. Criminally unsafe design.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
5,987
Likes
5,219
#18
One of the responses to the global warming idea is to say that we need more nuclear power and that modern types of reactor are safe, stable, inherently can't go wrong. In fact, I did read someone advocating having one in every town! What's your opinion?
So how much is my opinion worth in something very much out of my area of experience or expertise? I've some of both working in bureaucratic institutions.

Liquid fluoride thorium reactors from my limited knowledge appear to fulfill the inherently safe and stable criteria. Obviously such a design is a big step forward. In the US at least rules seem to be in the way. And the economics still might not be an improvement.

Some of what makes the above inherently safe can be incorporated into modern reactor design using other radioactive elements. I've seen reports on these designs where if something goes wrong at worst they sort of melt and shut down on their own. You still have issues of waste products and storage of those for at least 300 years. 300 years doesn't seem incredibly un-doable, but then again think of 1719 to now. And how many unforeseen gotchas are hidden in a plan for the next 300 years.

There is the fact that people killed by coal plant emissions are real and costing lives now though the fact is hidden.
https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/kharecha_02/

So yes, I think one should be very careful and proceed with expanded nuclear plants. I suppose the economics favor solar over nuclear for the foreseeable future. Yet solar is not good overnight for a simplistic analysis. So I'd think coordinating the right mix of nuclear and solar over the next 50 years would make lots of sense. But that isn't how such things are decided.
 

March Audio

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,662
Likes
3,249
Location
Perth Western Australia
#19
I was dismayed coming to Australia to find how backward they are with regard to renewable energy. I am no eco warrior but an abundance of sun and the potential for wind power makes it a no brainer. We have solar panels on our house generating about 42kWh on a typical summers day, falling to about 30kWh per day in mid winter. ROI is about 3 to 4 years. IMO all new houses here should have solar, it should be part of building regs/planning permission.

However there is a significant coal mining industry here and the way the politics are (seemingly actively supporting the coal industry) seems to be significantly hindering the development of alternative energy sources. The government appears to have no long term plan. My understanding is that all coal fired generation will cease in the UK by 2024.

Regarding solar it does have a couple of issues. Obviously the sun dont shine at night :) so you need battery systems. Also there is significant variation in output dependent upon cloud conditions. These variations come on and dissipate very quickly, so it can be difficult to manage in terms of what you do about your base load generation.

FWIW, yes nuclear is scary if it goes wrong, but as an example the UK has had safe commercial nuclear generation for 60 years. I know from personal experience its regulated up and down the ying yang. France* is something like 75% nuclear electricity generation.

As you point out coal is not safe, its just the death toll is hidden. Then of course the obvious eco/global warming impact. IMO nuclear should be part of the mix of generation. The dangers are very emotive, but they need to be put into context. You need to weigh up the real impact V the benefits. The dangers of driving cars are massive in comparison with hundreds** dying everyday, but generally as a society we feel those risks are worth it for the benefits it brings.

The reality is that the number of deaths and injuries from the 60 years of commercial nuclear power generation accidents are utterly tiny.



* http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx
French retail prices, without major effects from feed-in tariffs for wind and solar, remain very low. In 2013 French prices for medium-size industrials were about 90% of EU-27 average, and those for medium-size households (at less than 8 c/kWh) were less than half of EU-27 average



** quick wiki search
For 2016 specifically, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes, an average of 102 per day. In 2010, there were an estimated 5,419,000 crashes, 30,296 deadly, killing 32,999, and injuring 2,239,000.
 
Last edited:

Nemo

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
7
Likes
7
Location
Spain
#20
Regarding the proposal of expanding the use of nuclear power to reduce our emissions, there is simply not enough uranium to make that worthy of consideration:

Uranium abundance: At the current rate of uranium consumption with conventional reactors, the world supply of viable uranium, which is the most common nuclear fuel, will last for 80 years. Scaling consumption up to 15 TW, the viable uranium supply will last for less than 5 years. (Viable uranium is the uranium that exists in a high enough ore concentration so that extracting the ore is economically justified.)https://phys.org/news/2011-05-nuclear-power-world-energy.htmlI have not seen the show yet, but I am definitively interested! https://phys.org/news/2011-05-nuclear-power-world-energy.html

Apart from increasing research on nuclear fusion reactors, which works on a completely different principle and promise clean and unlimited energy once its monumental challenges are (hopefully) resolved, mankind should be focusing on renewable sources and energy carriers (vectors) to accumulate and transport the “excess” energy produced by the elements when there is less demand on the grid.

This brings me to a point I think has not yet been discussed in the forum, that it is of my interest and I believe will also be a consideration for some other members: the sustainability of our hobby. The focus here I think should be the reliability and expected longevity of the electronics and to a lesser extent speakers, something that it is embedded in both the design and manufacturing of a product. There is also the energy consumption and footprint of the media of choice (hint: streaming is terribly unsustainable) but it is probably worth a separate discussion :)
 
Top Bottom