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This review suffers from a number of factual errors, which does not bode well for this book. It also shows the Harvard professor’s lack of local knowledge. Reactor #4 that blew up was completed in 1983, so how can it be nine years old? It blew in 1986. The local managers were NOT forced in to the test. As a matter of fact, Kursk nuclear power station turned down this experiment request having deemed it too risky. This fatal experiment was motivated by greed. The reactor was rushed to completion on 12/21/1983 so that the workers can get pay award bonuses that were equal to four monthly salaries. Workers, who caused the accident were a bunch of control panel jockeys led by the biggest jockey of them all with some serious personal issues. That experiment, which other nuclear power stations did not want to do, has failed to run on a couple of previous attempts at Chernobyl. They deputy manager attempting the experiment would have parleyed the success into a promotion to replace the manager above him, he hated, the senior executive staff would have been decorated with medals and work crews would gave gotten pay bonuses. They were jailed justly, but not long enough. The last part, about supplying the destroyed reactor with water, and that deputy manager sending to of his crew “to manually insert the control rods” were examples of an ass saving gestures to demonstrate that the Deputy Manager (Dyatlov) was acing responsibly, having caused the accident in the first place, and the rest of the crew were doing the same thing by “remaining on their post” and supplying water, after they went outside and having seen the graphite soot and debris, having realized that the reactor was destroyed. True, reactor had design flaws, but it was willful human negligence by a night crew of jockeys, who destroyed it, and who spent the rest of their lives (those that lived) trying to convince the world that reactor was bad, and that they just didn’t know… that reactors can melt down and explode… those men with at least 4 year engineering degrees pleading ignorance of three mile islands, and a minor melt down accident in Chernobyl in 1981 and that their rector gets xenon poisoning. They are pitiful to watch, but in the end, they convinced the world, the Russians, and likely, themselves, that reactor blew up because it was bas, and the system was bad, and they were railroaded… Anyway, this is a good review, because it gave me enough information not to buy this book.
Fear and paranoia are the two most common forms of radiation sickness. Pearl-clutching hyperbole is a close third.
The other three reactors at the site were in continual operation after the disaster, until just a few years ago. The workers at the plants were required to take off a week a month. Not because of radiation, but because of the depressive effects of working near the ghost town of Pripyat, abandoned in wholesale panic, but never reoccupied — even though dozens of locals who refused to leave were healthy. As healthy as the workers at the other three sites.
I live on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I visit Kiev often and did not realize Chernobyl is only 75 miles away!
Not sure how you conclude that Chernobyl is no longer a threat. I think that conclusion is based on a conclusion that the new shelter will last a century. There’s a big difference between designing something to last a century, building it to last a century, and it actually standing for a century.
Also – do you think the governments in this area (Ukraine, Russia) have 100 year lasting power, politically and financially?
Further, my understanding is that the philosophy behind this shelter was to keep the weather elements (rain, snow) out — not to keep the radioactive elements (Cesium, Plutonium, Uranium, etc.) in.
Chernobyl will not be a threat only as long as no one goes near it, and if (cross your fingers) it doesn’t spread more radioactivity to the environment.