Author Topic: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)  (Read 2776 times)

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Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2019, 02:43:29 PM »
Two questions stemming from the most recent episode re: the roof clean-up:

1. Did the United States have a robot at the time, 1986,  capable of withstanding the intense radiation of the third and final roof section?  (Do we have one now?) Not that the Soviets would have requested our help, of course.

2. If faced with a similar situation and sans robot, what would the United States options be? The Russians used conscripts numbering nearly four thousand men. Would the United States have resorted to using "bio-robots" in absence of any other recourse? I assume volunteers would have been asked of from the military...but what if not enough men came forward? Would we have ordered men into the radiation? Is that scenario no different than ordering men to assault a highly defended enemy position in combat? One advantage of an authoritarian state is that it can order people to do extremely hazardous/suicidal things if required in an emergency without hesitation and expect full compliance (or else). Could a western democracy have done the same or gotten sufficient compliance?    I would imagine we would have better protective suits, but still...
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 02:46:51 PM by Paul Blevins Jr. »

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2019, 03:02:05 PM »
Two questions stemming from the most recent episode re: the roof clean-up:

1. Did the United States have a robot at the time, 1986,  capable of withstanding the intense radiation of the third and final roof section?  (Do we have one now?) Not that the Soviets would have requested our help, of course.


I seem to recall that they had issues with robots sent into the Fukushima plant... which were presumably robots hardened to radiation...

Offline Captain Video

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2019, 03:07:44 PM »
Two questions stemming from the most recent episode re: the roof clean-up:

1. Did the United States have a robot at the time, 1986,  capable of withstanding the intense radiation of the third and final roof section?  (Do we have one now?) Not that the Soviets would have requested our help, of course.

2. If faced with a similar situation and sans robot, what would the United States options be? The Russians used conscripts numbering nearly four thousand men. Would the United States have resorted to using "bio-robots" in absence of any other recourse? I assume volunteers would have been asked of from the military...but what if not enough men came forward? Would we have ordered men into the radiation? Is that scenario no different than ordering men to assault a highly defended enemy position in combat? One advantage of an authoritarian state is that it can order people to do extremely hazardous/suicidal things if required in an emergency without hesitation and expect full compliance (or else). Could a western democracy have done the same or gotten sufficient compliance?    I would imagine we would have better protective suits, but still...

I found this article about robots being developed for Fukushima

https://www.wired.com/story/fukushima-robot-cleanup/

Quote
In the first chaotic weeks after the meltdown, with radiation levels far too intense for anyone to work inside the reactors, Tepco scrambled to deploy robots to assess and contain the damage. Tractor-treaded bots from iRobot, drones from Honeywell, and a prototype disaster-­response mech from Tohoku University scouted the rubble-­strewn facility and tried to measure the intensity of the radiation. A remote-­controlled concrete pumping truck was adapted so that its extendable spout could pour water into the reactors, cooling and stabilizing the overheated chambers.

In the months and years that followed, Fukushima became both a market and a proving ground for ever-advancing robot technologies designed to operate in hazardous conditions. Remote-controlled front-end loaders, backhoes, and other heavy equipment were put to work breaking up radioactive debris and loading it onto remote-controlled dump trucks. A four-legged walking robot investigated the reactor buildings. Robots with 3-D scanners were sent in to gather imagery and map radiation levels. Swimming robots inspected pools where spent fuel rods were stored, taking pictures.
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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2019, 03:25:50 PM »
You rang?

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Offline Captain Video

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2019, 03:55:37 PM »
Its much bigger than the roomba I have at home  ;D 



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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2019, 03:59:17 PM »
Do the Russians still have the same kind of ignorant secrecy in place that they did then?  If Chernobyl happened today how would it be handled?
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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2019, 05:12:22 PM »
Do the Russians still have the same kind of ignorant secrecy in place that they did then?  If Chernobyl happened today how would it be handled?
They were Russians before they were Communists.
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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2019, 05:54:21 PM »
Couple of things:

Do the Russians still have the same kind of ignorant secrecy in place that they did then?  If Chernobyl happened today how would it be handled?

With Putin, a devotee of the old Soviet rulers and the KGB?  Obviously they do.

Two questions stemming from the most recent episode re: the roof clean-up:

1. Did the United States have a robot at the time, 1986,  capable of withstanding the intense radiation of the third and final roof section?  (Do we have one now?) Not that the Soviets would have requested our help, of course.

No, we didn't have any robots that could have functioned on that roof.

Quote

2. If faced with a similar situation and sans robot, what would the United States options be? The Russians used conscripts numbering nearly four thousand men. Would the United States have resorted to using "bio-robots" in absence of any other recourse? I assume volunteers would have been asked of from the military...but what if not enough men came forward? Would we have ordered men into the radiation? Is that scenario no different than ordering men to assault a highly defended enemy position in combat? One advantage of an authoritarian state is that it can order people to do extremely hazardous/suicidal things if required in an emergency without hesitation and expect full compliance (or else). Could a western democracy have done the same or gotten sufficient compliance?    I would imagine we would have better protective suits, but still...

Not sure any suit could protect you from 300,000mSv/hr.  The US elected a reactor design that basically couldn't get that high.  Assuming it did, I'm not sure what the US would do.  The problem with the robots is that the radiation disrupts electrical signaling and plays havoc with semiconductors.  If you could develop a robot that has all of it's brains FAR away, then maybe it would work.


I am not even sure if any of the 1980s Soviet characters knew how Western reactors worked, the Cold War wasn't exactly a time of free knowledge sharing abouz nuclear technology and even if they knew, they would have never admitted that theirs was the inferior design.

The Soviets did understand really well how our reactors worked, the even used Pressurized water reactors in certain conditions. As an example, they used them in their Nuclear submarines

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon-class_submarine

Finally,

Here's a good twitter thread (he's got all the episodes) from a descendant of one of the Russians who was there for part of the clean up.

https://twitter.com/slavamalamud/status/1132029943297265664?s=12
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2019, 01:57:13 AM »
One of my friends is a nuclear physicist and this was his review so far.


Quote
I'll also be caught up on Chernobyl.... so far it is mostly minor nitpicks. They did their research but just are dumbing down some of the technicals.   My biggest issue, which I expected, is they haven't addressed how these reactors are fundamentally different than reactors built in the US or most of the west. (there were also design changes to the RBMK's to prevent a recurrence based on this event so that is wasn't repeatable.)  As expected, this show is fueling the anti-nuclear paranoia in some viewers .... e.g. I have people in my social media feeds posting about their proximity to nuclear reactors. 

While I'm sensitive to this as well, I do feel like they've started to address it in episode 4, by talking about how this disaster was a combination of gross incompetence and a design flaw that was specifically ignored and covered up. They've also made it abundantly clear that neither of those things would have been enough to cause anything like this on their own.  Now, that's not specifically saying that Western and modern day reactors are clearly and by far safer, but I think it goes a good way.  I also think (not that I'm suggesting you or they have done this, mind you) that it's a bit unfair to say the show has done a bad job of managing misconceptions about nuclear reactors when they haven't finished the show yet.  More than that, I think it's that no matter how well they did in explaining that this horrific disaster they've gone to great lengths to dramatize the horror and scale of was a one in a million fluke and absolutely not possible today, that people would STILL use this series as a means to discuss ignorant anti-nuclear talking points.  And to be perfectly fair, no one before Chernobyl thought this was possible either so it's not hard to understand why maybe people wouldn't be trusting of people saying the same today, no matter how well they said it.

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2019, 03:04:58 PM »
I'm finding this series and the facts behind the Chernobyl disaster horrifying and depressing....but it hasn't changed my pro-nuclear power stance.

It's an unavoidable fact that our current (no pun intended) civilization is vitally dependent on cheap abundant electricity. There's no way we could feed and provide a 20th century level of comfort for 300 million Americans let alone the population of the rest of the developed/developing world without it. Coal is a terribly dirty way to produce electricity. Nuclear is much cleaner....but I acknowledge when something does go wrong, it goes catastrophically wrong.

As I'm sure everyone on this board knows, until we solve fusion or renewable energy becomes ever more  prevalent and cheaper, nuclear is the best option. Having said that, I would not be surprised to find a half dozen or more Chernobyl-like accidents and exclusion zones scattered around the globe a hundred/two hundred years from now. Just as I expect there to be an inevitable nuclear weapons exchange on some level within a hundred years. There's no way human beings can go that long with nuclear power/weapons without  fucking up again...and again. Tis our nature sadly. Yep, it's the Great filter.
 

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2019, 03:27:14 PM »
Haven't seen the show yet, but just felt like mentioning that one of my university contemporaries was born within 90km of Chernobyl, 6 months after the meltdown.  Always thought that was neat. 

(She graduated with an engineering degree, but is now an unemployed perma-stoned snowboarder.)
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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2019, 04:42:53 PM »
I'm finding this series and the facts behind the Chernobyl disaster horrifying and depressing....but it hasn't changed my pro-nuclear power stance.

It's an unavoidable fact that our current (no pun intended) civilization is vitally dependent on cheap abundant electricity. There's no way we could feed and provide a 20th century level of comfort for 300 million Americans let alone the population of the rest of the developed/developing world without it. Coal is a terribly dirty way to produce electricity. Nuclear is much cleaner....but I acknowledge when something does go wrong, it goes catastrophically wrong.

As I'm sure everyone on this board knows, until we solve fusion or renewable energy becomes ever more  prevalent and cheaper, nuclear is the best option. Having said that, I would not be surprised to find a half dozen or more Chernobyl-like accidents and exclusion zones scattered around the globe a hundred/two hundred years from now. Just as I expect there to be an inevitable nuclear weapons exchange on some level within a hundred years. There's no way human beings can go that long with nuclear power/weapons without  fucking up again...and again. Tis our nature sadly. Yep, it's the Great filter.
 


I think there are ways to even further improve it.  I actually even think that the standard pressurized water reactor would have been an even safer version if we hadn't had to deal with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

There are far better and safer nuclear fission options out there:

Thorium Reactor

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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2019, 01:36:29 AM »
Welp, that has to have been one of the best miniseries I've ever seen.  It did everything I've ever wanted from a historical dramatization by not inventing drama to make history "more interesting" but by finding the drama that existed and presenting that in a compelling way.  Granted, that doesn't work with every historical event worth filming, but the result is that we get a gripping drama that ACTUALLY leaves the lay viewer not just more informed about what happened, but makes a powerfully emotional and logical case for how it happened that has profound relevance to not just today, but every day.  I know I'll be thinking about this show a lot in the future and thanks to the respectful and tasteful (though not shy) way they've made this, it's a show I have no problem recommending to just about anyone but the most incurious people I know.  Bravo to everyone involved in making this.

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2019, 08:59:03 AM »
we really enjoyed it as well. Did not enjoy the emergency broadcast interruption around half way through it. Did anyone else have that? Very annoying, we lost a few minutes and it said it would last an hour so glad it was only a few. We also listened to the podcast for the first four episodes and really liked that. Highly recommend for anyone watching.

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Chernobyl (HBO) discussion (spoilers)
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2019, 02:50:03 PM »
The most mind-boggling thing to me: How in the hell are two of the divers still alive while Boris (can't remember Russian last names) was dead by 1990?!?!?!

Radiation exposure/sickness works in mysterious ways.....