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Media Center>Chernobyl
Frazod 09:08 PM 05-06-2019
Just finished the first episode; I guess I'll be keeping HBO a bit longer after Game of Thrones ends.

It is fascinating, horrifying and infuriating. And spellbinding.
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Fish 09:03 AM 05-21-2019
I got to tour Wolf Creek while in college. We took our engineering club on a tour of the facility. It was pretty cool. It's less than 100 miles from KC. And not many people know it, but it was actually the target of a hacking attempt in 2017...

https://www-1.kansas.com/news/local/...160030764.html
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Buehler445 09:11 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by Fish:
I got to tour Wolf Creek while in college. We took our engineering club on a tour of the facility. It was pretty cool. It's less than 100 miles from KC. And not many people know it, but it was actually the target of a hacking attempt in 2017...

https://www-1.kansas.com/news/local/...160030764.html
Woof.

I went to college in Emporia and knew some people that got jobs there.
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DJ's left nut 09:34 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by Amnorix:
Right. The entire key is CONTAIN, because the irradiated material is continue to spit out radiation.




What you see coming off of there is nothing but regular old steam. And the key thing that you do see is the fucking cement dome, which is a containment vessel if anything goes wrong. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty damn sure EVERY nuclear power plant in America, and probably most of the rest of the world, had them, other than in the Communist states.

Compare to Chernobyl (pre-accident), with no fucking containment dome.
My understanding (which could easily be incorrect) is that the soviets believed their 'blast shields' were sufficient to contain any meltdown events. I mean it was a 1,000 ton concrete slab that was designed to do exactly what the dome concept you're describing would do.

They simply had no concept of the possibility that the damn thing might explode. And really, it's a hard thought to wrap your mind around.

I just get the idea that a containment dome would've still been blown to hell and gone given the force of that blast. Maybe I'm wrong, but the way it tossed a 1,000 ton concrete slab clear suggests there was quite a bit of umph behind that explosion.
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Detoxing 09:37 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by Fishpicker:
so far I'd say its better than Sopranos, Veep, Eastbound and Down, Curb your Enthusiasm, GoT, and Silicon Valley. the first episode was also the scariest debut to any series I've ever seen.
Wow that's incredibly high praise. I was gonna give it a go last night but opted for sleep instead. Gonna have to make it happen tonight.
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O.city 09:49 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by Amnorix:
Not to try to move this thread into DC, but if there was EVER an argument for allowing assisted suicide... I mean, JFC, who would EVER want to die that way?!?!
I was thinking about that too. Those 3 that had to go down in the water? Yeah, soon as I came out, i'd want to have a few drinks then just have someone shoot me.
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O.city 09:53 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by DJ's left nut:
My understanding (which could easily be incorrect) is that the soviets believed their 'blast shields' were sufficient to contain any meltdown events. I mean it was a 1,000 ton concrete slab that was designed to do exactly what the dome concept you're describing would do.

They simply had no concept of the possibility that the damn thing might explode. And really, it's a hard thought to wrap your mind around.

I just get the idea that a containment dome would've still been blown to hell and gone given the force of that blast. Maybe I'm wrong, but the way it tossed a 1,000 ton concrete slab clear suggests there was quite a bit of umph behind that explosion.
I've read about it a little, but i'm interested to see if they can figure out how the thing actually exploded.

At the time, they had no clue that it was even possible.
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DJ's left nut 10:02 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by O.city:
I've read about it a little, but i'm interested to see if they can figure out how the thing actually exploded.

At the time, they had no clue that it was even possible.
It's been a long time since I went down this rabbithole but my memory is that they have a pretty damn good idea. It has something to do with the composition of the control rods and how, when they were inserted, their initial length was made of material that couldn't handle the high heat they allowed to build up and it effectively seized them in place. That caused a runaway reactor and power levels nobody had ever really considered possible.

I think those then led to a steam explosion and that had something to do with the low power test they were running allowing more of the cooling fluid to build up and detonate.

I've seen a couple of good documentaries on the subject I just don't recall them well enough to give you a clear answer. With a little digging I'm betting you can find it - there are some engineers that seem to have a pretty good idea of what caused it all at this point.
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O.city 10:13 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by DJ's left nut:
It's been a long time since I went down this rabbithole but my memory is that they have a pretty damn good idea. It has something to do with the composition of the control rods and how, when they were inserted, their initial length was made of material that couldn't handle the high heat they allowed to build up and it effectively seized them in place. That caused a runaway reactor and power levels nobody had ever really considered possible.

I think those then led to a steam explosion and that had something to do with the low power test they were running allowing more of the cooling fluid to build up and detonate.

I've seen a couple of good documentaries on the subject I just don't recall them well enough to give you a clear answer. With a little digging I'm betting you can find it - there are some engineers that seem to have a pretty good idea of what caused it all at this point.
Yeah, they for sure know how it went down now, just at the time they didn't feel it was possible.
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Amnorix 10:53 AM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by DJ's left nut:
My understanding (which could easily be incorrect) is that the soviets believed their 'blast shields' were sufficient to contain any meltdown events. I mean it was a 1,000 ton concrete slab that was designed to do exactly what the dome concept you're describing would do.

They simply had no concept of the possibility that the damn thing might explode. And really, it's a hard thought to wrap your mind around.

I just get the idea that a containment dome would've still been blown to hell and gone given the force of that blast. Maybe I'm wrong, but the way it tossed a 1,000 ton concrete slab clear suggests there was quite a bit of umph behind that explosion.

I am by NO means a nuclear power plant designer/engineer/operator, but my understanding of the design of Chernobyl is that the core was within a concrete lined pit, and that there were other barriers around it to encase it and contain it.

I'm unable to confirm (via five minutes of Google), but I don't believe that approach to be fundamentally different from other nuclear power plant designs as a general matter. What is different is the further step of encasing the entire reactor within a containment building.

Or, using fewer words -- I **think** that most countries have a containment area for the core, within a containment building, and that the Russians only had a containment area for the core, and no secondary protection in the form of a containment building.

I'm glad to be educated on the matter, however, if I'm wrong.
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TravelingChiefs 02:14 PM 05-21-2019
Or, using fewer words -- I **think** that most countries have a containment area for the core, within a containment building, and that the Russians only had a containment area for the core, and no secondary protection in the form of a containment building.

I'm glad to be educated on the matter, however, if I'm wrong.[/QUOTE]

All of ours do. It's called the RCA or radiation control area.
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Frazod 02:25 PM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by Buehler445:
Band of Brothers, I think.
Yes. And since I consider that to be the best thing ever on TV, any sort of comparison to it is very high praise.
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DJ's left nut 02:47 PM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by Amnorix:
I am by NO means a nuclear power plant designer/engineer/operator, but my understanding of the design of Chernobyl is that the core was within a concrete lined pit, and that there were other barriers around it to encase it and contain it.

I'm unable to confirm (via five minutes of Google), but I don't believe that approach to be fundamentally different from other nuclear power plant designs as a general matter. What is different is the further step of encasing the entire reactor within a containment building.

Or, using fewer words -- I **think** that most countries have a containment area for the core, within a containment building, and that the Russians only had a containment area for the core, and no secondary protection in the form of a containment building.

I'm glad to be educated on the matter, however, if I'm wrong.
Fair enough. I didn't realize that western plants had both; I figured the Soviet 'biological shields' or whatever the hell they call them were done in lieu of the dome rather than independent of them.

I really wish I could remember the name of the documentary I watched years back; it was a really fascinating bit of insight as to the design of the soviet reactors. My best recollection is that they take an absolutely hellish rap now but there were some advantages to those designs as well (and if memory serves there are still about a dozen of them in service, though with some modifications on account of one of them nearly making Eastern Europe a wasteland....)
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O.city 02:54 PM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by DJ's left nut:
Fair enough. I didn't realize that western plants had both; I figured the Soviet 'biological shields' or whatever the hell they call them were done in lieu of the dome rather than independent of them.

I really wish I could remember the name of the documentary I watched years back; it was a really fascinating bit of insight as to the design of the soviet reactors. My best recollection is that they take an absolutely hellish rap now but there were some advantages to those designs as well (and if memory serves there are still about a dozen of them in service, though with some modifications on account of one of them nearly making Eastern Europe a wasteland....)
I didn't realize how bad it actually could have been if those 3 didn't get the water out of the tanks.

Shit, there really would be a huge area of that continent that would be unlivable.
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DJ's left nut 03:00 PM 05-21-2019
Originally Posted by O.city:
I didn't realize how bad it actually could have been if those 3 didn't get the water out of the tanks.

Shit, there really would be a huge area of that continent that would be unlivable.
I had no idea either and when I first saw the commercials for the HBO series I thought "eh, know as much as I need to know..."

They had me at Jared Harris, though. Dude is a phenomenal actor.

Evidently it's not quite as dramatic as they made it out to be (there was no 'oh shit, we forgot about the hose water!' moment), but that's still pretty amazing.
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Cheater5 03:02 PM 05-21-2019
If episode one was about the explosion of the plant, the information below might clarify what was going on. If episode one didn't get to the explosion, spoilers reside below. This is all from memory, and I've tried to modify / simplify somas to not get too grossly technical.

Aleskander Akimov in his his drive to finish a silly little turbine speed regulator test (which wasn't all that important, but his boss Fomin had told him he wanted it done, and Akimov was a good party hack), Akimov disabled all the safety systems and violated all the safety procedures which made the RBMK-1000 a steady and dependable machine. That plant was as boring as a tea kettle when operating, and was only unstable during startup and shutdown, but as long as procedures were followed all would be fine.

An electrical fire at a coal fired plant over a hundred miles away combined with maintenance underway on an electrical distribution substation meant that the only power plants then running with a working direct connection to the main substation powering the city of Kiev were Chernobyl 3 and 4 (units 1 and 2 were shut down at the time for repairs to the lubricating oil system for the turbines they shared, and unit 5 was still under construction). Chernobyl 3 was then powering the Duga 2 radar facility used for detecting incoming ballistic missiles from the west and was also busy swapping out fuel assemblies for plutonium extraction (the RBMK design produced both power and plutonium bomb fuel, and the fuel assemblies could be exchanged out while the reactor was still producing electricity). That meant that Chernobyl 3 could not at that time accept a request for a change in power level or electrical load, so Chernobyl 4 was tasked with picking up the load.

Even though Akimov had done everything as stupidly possible to render his plant unsafe over the strenuous objections of his chief reactor operator, Leonid Toptunov, the shutdown and turbine speed regulator test were both progressing uneventfully until Akimov ordered Toptunov to bring power levels back up to bear the load of the city of Kiev. The reactor was already so close to being shut down that xenon poisoning had set into the core, making it very difficult to wake the reactor back up. More and more control rods were withdrawn until (over Toptunov's objections) there were not enough remaining in the core to adequately respond to any unexpected power excursions due to the slow speed at which the rods moved (a logical design for safety as long as procedures had been followed). When they still weren't generating enough power, Akimov ordered coolant pump speed increased to try to raise power through increasing coolant density (in the RBMK design the coolant is in a near saturated state of mixed water and steam while in the core, but Akimov tried to boost power by making the coolant more liquid and less steam; it can make power spike up temporarily at the risk of cold-shock damage to some of the metallic parts of the core, and is about as far from safe as you can get). The change with the core from steam to water was inconsistent across the core, causing localized temperature variations and a warping of the shape of the neutron field being produced. When Toptunov saw that happening, he decided to put an end to listening to Akimov's nonsense and just shut the reactor down manually before something bad happened. He pushed the Az button, which automatically inserted all of the control rods into the core as fast as their little drive motors could push them down. Akimov screamed at him.

Toptunov's decision was correct, but his timing was wrong. If he had pushed that button five minutes earlier, all might have been well, and if he had pushed it ten minutes later everything would have certainly gone off without a hitch other than temporary darkness in Kiev. However, what Toptunov didn't account for (and might not have even known) was that the soft hafnium control rods had harder zirconium tips on their bottoms to prevent water erosion by high speed pumps while the rods were near the bottom of the core. The hafnium was designed to absorb neutrons that would have supported the chain reaction, thus stopping it and shutting down the core. However, the zirconium tended to bounce the neutrons back into the fuel assemblies to give them another shot at boosting the chain reaction. When the rods started descending into the core, so many zirconium tips came down simultaneously that before the hafnium was down far enough to do its job, the reactor had gone out of control. All the coolant instantly flashed to steam and blew the plant up.
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