Trees have started to grow in front of the hospital’s entrance. The radiation has damaged their sense of orientation, leaving them to grow crooked in all directions. [Timm Suess]
Inside Chernobyl’s Abandoned Hospital – Timm Suess – The Atlantic: “A once-modern facility after 27 years of nuclear contamination and neglect Around midnight on March 26, 1986, the engineers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant initiated a test of reactor number 4. The test went wrong and resulted in one of the most devastating nuclear accidents in history, leaving the area a contaminated exclusion zone. In the middle of that zone lies the city of Pripyat, home to 50,000 citizens, it was a modern symbol of progress until the accident. It had schools, public sporting grounds, shops, a cultural center, and a large hospital. Consisting of an inpatient building, three clinics, and a lab building, it had a capacity of 400 patients. Many of them were treated there for radiation sickness until the evacuation of the city.”
Unwashed mattresses next to an autoclave. [Timm Suess]
One of the long hospital corridors. The higher the floor, the more desolate the state. [Timm Suess]
garik: Built in 1970 for the scientists and workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the city of Pripyat, located less than 3 km from the reactor, was once inhabited by nearly 50,000 residents and brimming with life. Authorities did not immediately warn residents of the accident and ordered the evacuation a full 36 hours after the explosion. Pripyat, Ukraine, 1993. Gerd Ludwig
kqedscience: Gerd Ludwig’s “Long Shadow of Chernobyl” project:Internationally-renowned photojournalist Gerd Ludwig has spent years documenting the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In 1986, errors at the plant in Ukraine led to an explosion that ultimately caused over a quarter of a million people to permanently evacuate their homes to escape the radiation and radioactive fallout. Over the course of several trips to the site and the region for National Geographic Magazine in 1993, 2005, and 2011, Ludwig has amassed a documentary record of a people and a place irreparably altered by a tragic accident. His 2011 trip was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Now Ludwig has released aniPad app with over 150 photographs, video, and interactive panoramas.
“TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record. Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station – an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan – is now likely uninhabitable.” — Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think
(CNN) — Japan raised the severity level of its nuclear crisis to the maximum level seven on Tuesday, putting the Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster on a par with the Chernobyl accident in 1986.
The decision to raise the crisis level up from five to seven came after a review of the amount of radiation released in the month since the plant was severely damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, says Japan’s official nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).
Level seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) incidents involve a major release of radiation with widespread health and environmental effects, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Continue reading…
A former nuclear power plant designer has said Japan is facing an extremely grave crisis and called on the government to release more information, which he said was being suppressed. Masashi Goto told a news conference in Tokyo that one of the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was “highly unstable”, and that if there was a meltdown the “consequences would be tremendous”. He said such an event might be very likely indeed. So far, the government has said a meltdown would not lead to a sizeable leak of radioactive materials.
Mr Goto said the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant were suffering pressure build-ups way beyond that for which they were designed. There was a severe risk of an explosion, with radioactive material being strewn over a very wide area – beyond the 20km evacuation zone set up by the authorities – he added. Mr Goto calculated that because Reactor No 3 at Fukushima-Daiichi – where pressure is rising and there is a risk of an explosion – used a type of fuel known as Mox, a mixture of plutonium oxide and uranium oxide, the radioactive fallout from any meltdown might be twice as bad.
He accused the government of deliberately withholding vital information that would allow outside experts help solve the problems. “For example, there has not been enough information about the hydrogen being vented. We don’t know how much was vented and how radioactive it was.” He also described the use of sea water to cool the cores of the reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi as highly unusual and dangerous.
He described the worst-case scenario: “It is difficult to say, but that would be a core meltdown. If the rods fall and mix with water, the result would be an explosion of solid material like a volcano spreading radioactive material. Steam or a hydrogen explosion caused by the mix would spread radioactive waste more than 50km. Also, this would be multiplied. There are many reactors in the area so there would be many Chernobyls.”
BUT, Malcolm Crick says,
At the same time, Malcolm Crick, the secretary of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has told the Reuters news agency: “This is not a serious public health issue at the moment. It won’t be anything like Chernobyl. There the reactor was operating at full power when it exploded and it had no containment.”