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[flagged] Chernobyl’s Blown Up Reactor 4 Just Woke Up (historyofyesterday.com)
44 points by illuminated 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 92 comments





This is nonsense fear mongering. It didn't "just wake up" in any sense, the reactivity has been monitored for years and did rise slightly after 2017-2019 as the New Safe Confinement reduced the amount of rain getting into the structure.

Here's a Reuters link of the same damn thing from six months ago: https://www.reuters.com/world/chernobyl-staff-record-rise-nu...

The journal article they refer to was from work done in 2020. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2021/ta/d0ta0...

Work done to better understand the decay process going on in the post-meltdown structure is interesting, but none of it notes any real risk of significant criticality in the remnants of the core.


>Scientists don’t understand why…

They know exactly why - in the Reuters article they say it's because of the lost moisture from the rain (there is now shelter above the reactor) and that it was expected :D

What a piece of journalistic crap...


I figured it would be fear lingering when the link was from a site I’d never heard of. If some imminent disaster was on the cards id expect to hear about it from Reuters or AP.

Wonderfully scary. Scientists have two theories: water is getting in, causing startup. And, water isn't getting in, preventing dampening down.

Ie, they have no idea. Both A and not-A are being hypothesised.

The meetings must be quite confrontational. If only we had two Chernobyl to run A/B testing on.


It's not a case of them having no idea but that the instrumentation effort necessary to map out where water was relative to neutron flux sources in the corium would be hugely expensive and serve no practical benefit to safety. So unless some EU grant lets a uni team spend a few million euro getting equipment in there to come to be a clearer understanding that results in the same overall answer of whether or not it's a new safety risk ("no"), it's a curiosity.

Managing neutron flux in a deliberately designed structure via water immersion is what nuclear operators do every day on water-moderated reactors. But the core is no longer in a designed state, it's a combination of portions of the fuel mixed with all the other metals and bits of concrete from the lower portion of the reactor.

The people monitoring know basically what it's doing, but they give considered answers like ""Based on predictive estimates, it is expected that in the future there will be an increase in the neutron flux density, which will be determined by the process of moisture loss" -- Ukraine's Institute For Safety Problems Of Nuclear Power Plants


I don't think there's much controversy about keeping water out. The main scenario to avoid is a bunch of water flashing into steam (when the nuclear reactions suddenly ramp up, for whatever reason) and blowing everything wide open again.

It could be something else [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_the_Unknown


This is also my usual comeback to false dichotomies.

(and of course, the science is good, they aren't stupid, and both A and not-A can be true, and not in conflict in the wider scheme of things-going-wrong-in-chernobyl)


You have to hypothesise both A and not-A. If you can rule out A then you know not-A is true.

(Or you reject the Law of the Excluded Middle, but that's not cool.)


Well really the hypotheses are "A causes B" and "not A causes B" which does actually leave a third case "A and B are independent".

Which leaves a rather large set of N causes B's

Maybe water is getting in and out at differing rates

Nuclear power is far too risky and even if all goes well, the waste problem is mostly unsolved (some solutions exists but who knows how many years they are stable), and the sourcing of uranium is a environmental and health problem, too (cf. the situation in Niger).

Anyway, I don't know why I even write on HN about this topic since most of the crowd is pro-nuclear anyway and will either ignore this article or play it down and praise the technology…


I dunno, we're looking at the worst case scenario in the history of nuclear power here, from a Gen 2 plant in the days when safety didn't matter. It is still doing better than a big dam failure. The risk looks pretty bearable.

The fact that it is still leaking power is a testament to how much energy there is in this tech. The upsides are unfathomable.

EDIT And my advice is abandon the waste argument. We've got 40 years of experience with it. It just hasn't turned out to be a problem. It isn't important enough to solve, the problem is tiny.


Not a problem? Ah. From 1946 to 1982, 14 countries buried nuclear waste in 80 places in the ocean, without any more surveillance since 1995 (the detected radioactivity was low). Some liquid waste was just released there, some barrels are not protected, some are. In total, they are as radioactive as 3 Fukushima. No operation is planned to pick the old barrels up, because "most of them would not support a manipulation".

We bury them under forests, so they become a lost territory, the forest is filled with cameras and drones. Not a problem for the inhabitants? Their life is also changed by the invasion of militaries and cops in the closest village (Bure). When we bury them underground, then the drinking water is at risk, some territory is closed… this impacts people.

Then we are thinking in sending the waste to space? Wow O_o And what do I not know?


80 locations! Dear me. And do you feel that this more-than-single-digit list is sufficient to abandon the entire discipline of nuclear physics, or just the part that generates energy?

That is comparable to the number of Biosecurity level 4 labs in the world. The ones that research biological weapons. That is the sort of activity that can be threatening when there are 80 of them globally. Not 80 small piles of toxic garbage.

How many unspeakable waste dumps are there in the world? More than 80. More than anyone can count.


Not what I said, and narrow focus. Still, not a problem as of today?

Yes still not a problem as of today. These problems are nothing compared to the slag of old lead mines. There isn't anything to rebut, these problems are localised and trivial on the scale of 10% of the globe's electricity supply.

The waste issues of solar panels are going to be substantially bigger - because there is actual volumes of waste produced there. Waste issues from coal are already substantially bigger. Oil is substantially bigger. Hydro might produce less waste, but sterilises large areas and does a lot more ecological damage. Waste issue from any industrial process that is useful globally is going to create bigger waste problems than nuclear. The globe is big.

You can lose a plant's nuclear waste in a parking lot if you don't demarcate it (the part of the waste that is scary, anyway). There isn't a lot of waste. It is hard to describe how small that is compared to all the land and sea we have available and sitting unused.


Nuclear is one of the least deadly energy sources (taking all deaths, including by nuclear disaster, into account).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzfpyo-q-RM


It is also not a widely used energy source. Nor is direct fatality, especially just looking into the past, the only issue.

Proponents of nuclear power often don't want you to think about what happens when nuclear power has to be doubled, quadrupled, and so on. Nor are the risks really computable at all, with really small chances of extremely bad things happening. And the potential for bad actors at any time.


Personally I'm not really worried about the technical side - just the way it's handled. Here's a lesser known minor incident:

https://www.edf.fr/en/the-edf-group/dedicated-sections/journ...

Which wouldn't be newsworthy if it wasn't for how it was handled - the local authorities outright refused to even entertain the idea of even temporarily shutting the plant down to check if everything is okay.

This incident isn't serious, but I'm afraid that should a serious incident happen, we won't know until it gets out of control.


Does that take into account the millions of people who'll suffer from birth defects, low fertility, physical deformities and cancers for millennia to come?

From the nuclear and chemical pollution from burning coal and other fossil fuels? Probably not. Nor the impacts of climate change for millennia to come.

Using Chernobyl as argument that nuclear power is "far too risky" is akin to using a car accident caused by an unsafe car as argument that cars are "far too risky".

Yes, it can be very dangerous. But so can many industrial and technological processes. The questions are rather can we make it safe? and, if so, can we reliably do it? The answers are 'yes' to both.


If I was going to college I would get a degree in nuclear engineering. It has to be the future.

Not the immediate future though... the current technology is unsustainable because of the waste, and everything that could solve it is too unproven to be rolled out big scale any time soon.

The waste just isn’t that much.

Enough so that most countries don't know where to store it and nobody wants it in their backyard. Unfortunately, many democractically run countries don't have much area that is "nobobody's backyard" and at the same time geologically stable enough so no radioactive material will ever leak.

Even "very little waste" is quite a big problem if you don't know where to put it. And proponents of nuclear power want to scale it up by a few times, then run the scheme for a couple hundred years.


It's fair to have this opinion, but what would your alternative large-scale energy creation suggestions be?

Renewable with strong storage.

Essentially, what we are currently doing to improve.

Besides, according to what I heard from people who actually build plants, it takes about 20 years from starting the process to producing electricity. If that is true, at this point it might be too late to bet on nuclear. Had we started the process of building new nuclear 10 years ago, some new reactors might have been on-line soon-ish, and they be contributing in time to hit our current targets. But if we start the process now, the reactors will be standing, at best in 2030, probably more like 2040. That is too late to hit the Paris agreement targets.

Meanwhile, we see that wind and solar (in Europe) are getting ever bigger. This is meaningful progress about curbing carbon emissions, which is what we need short term.

With that come rightful questions of at what percentage of power coming from wind and solar does the unpredictability, uncontrollability, and instability of those sources becomes to big of an issue. There are probably ways to get that percentage up by adding more storage, but we can probably not push it to 100% solar and wind. So 'what do we do long term' is an important question.

However, it is a different and less pressing question compared to "how do we drop emissions right now, as soon as possible".

For the long term, my guess is massive over-production of renewable electricity going into large, cheap but inefficient storage for both short-term and seasonal dips. I think there will be minor gains from people choosing to use their electricity when there is much excess, but only minor. Similarly, I don't think more reliable sources like gas, or nuclear will have a place. Simply because I think they will not be capital-efficient compared to dumb cheap inefficient storage.

By cheap inefficient storage I am thinking about 50% efficient methods that can easily store MegaWattHours. Things like hydrogen, air-pumped tunnels, liquid metal batteries, seem interesting. When you get payed to take out electricity, and also get payed to deliver it back, you can afford a 50% round-trip loss.


Reduce energy consumption so we can get by using renewables only.

The transition to EV and all-electric homes (getting rid of gas boilers for heating, etc) means demand for electricity will increase.

Global development and reduction in poverty means demand for electricity will increase.

Continued, though slowing, population growth means demand for electricity will increase.

So "just reduce energy consumption" sounds like a completely out of touch suggestion.

We need ways to produce vast amounts of electricity cleanly and reliably. By all means let's push renewables wherever and whenever possible but in many cases nuclear is a necessary complement as things stand.


It's simply not possible to do so now or in the near future because we don't have nearly enough storage capacity.

What do you mean by "it's not possible" exactly? It's not possible without ...?

Regarding the storage capacity: Yes, it's not possible without drastically reducing energy consumption.


I mean that we don't have enough storage capacity to cover the current loads with renewables only, the situation is the same in most countries. For example, in Italy we have ~7.4GW of stored installed power: 97% alone is from a few very large pumped hydroelectric plants, 3% from chemical batteries (more than 45000 distributed systems). The base electric load is 38GW and peaks between ~56GW and ~60GW, these are between 5 and 10 times what the storage systems can now supply. I don't see the numbers changing significantly in the near future, unless there will be major technological breakthroughs and massive investements into these solutions.

Realistically, greatly reducing energy consumption is not possible without drastic changes to our lifestyle, which many will surely oppose. This is also in contrast to the current trend of electrifying everything as much as possible: from transport to heating and manufacture. We can try to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and engines, wasting less, but it's not going to reverse the trend of growing energy demand.


The waste problem is solved from a technological perspective, its unsolved in practice due to NIMBY-ism. In contrast to your claim, the stability of nuclear waste containers and deep geological repositories is predictable and based on well-understood physics.

Would you judge the safety of today's passenger jets based on the safety record of the first ever airplanes? Modern nuclear reactors cannot have a Chernobyl-type malfunction. Building them in an earthquake zone, however, is not a great idea.

The risk that comes from not using nuclear power is far greater and more likely. Fission is a temporary solution, but it has to be used to get to the next level -- just like we had to use every previous power source to get the next level.

Fossil fuel for electricity is far too risky and the waste problem is entirely unsolved (no solutions exist), and the mining and sourcing of them is an environment and health problem, too (cf. the Middle East).

Nuclear power by comparison is much less dangerous, much better for the environment, has a solved waste problem (modulo protests from "environmentalists" / fossil fuel boosters), and much more stable and reliable sources (Canada and Australia alone have 1/3 of known uranium).


I don’t think you’ll find many anti-nuclear people on HN that are also pro-fossil-fuel.

It’s a false choice, we can choose to not use fossil fuels, and decrease the risk of nuclear meltdowns and dirty bombs at the same time.


It's not a false choice. Anti nuclear is pro-fossil-fuel.

I've been hearing the pro-fossil-fuel misinformation that nuclear is 10 years too late for the past 20 years at least. Many of the same people saying this were also the ones 5 years ago insisting that coal was dead and renewables killed it.

Take a look at thermal coal prices, https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/coal and look up global coal consumption and realize we may not even have hit peak coal yet, let alone any real prospect of a massive short term reduction rather than a very long slow decline.

They were wrong about that too.


If you think there's no prospect of coal consumption going down, then we're headed for global calamity.

Knowing that it's a likely scenario that the world becomes wildly unpredictable, it's not responsible to also build nuclear reactors that require stability and maintenance to be safe.


I mean look at history and forecast graphs. E.g.,

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/global-primary-energy?cou...

Coal might be around peak just now, but it's largely been squeezed by oil and gas, not renewables. Which are at least better than increasing coal usage, but not solving the problem. Coal prices have also been strong in part due to rising oil prices making coal more viable. This does not look like an energy source that has been destroyed by renewables as we had been promised 5-10 years ago. Just continuing to claim renewables will solve everything without actually asking what went wrong with the earlier claims, and continuing to ignore nuclear which has been a proven solution to the problem for 50 years, is a huge, arrogant gamble when we are facing as massive a problem as climate change.

There is also a very real possibility of just no viable shift away from fossil fuels and coal, or at least a very long tail of decades more of greenhouse gas emissions that exceed even today's record numbers. 2050 net zero is widely claimed by many big polluters, but there is a real question of whether they are willing or able to actually meet it, and apparently already signs its just kicking the can down the road.

The problem with all the "stick" approaches is that nobody really wants to do them. Yes renewables are great and improving, and maybe they continue to make breakthroughs soon enough to the point most countries are willing and able to replace all fossil fuel electricity in the near future. It's crazy to make such a risky gamble though, in my opinion.

I don't think there is no prospect of coal consumption going down. I think the safest and least risky path to shrinking the carbon footprint of electricity generation as fast as possible while supporting growth and additional electrical demand from decarbonizing other industry includes nuclear.


You could make the exact same argument about nuclear energy. The same promises were made, and it has failed to deliver.

It doesn't address the main issue of nuclear — it's incredibly dangerous. For nuclear to be safe you need human security, human experts, funding, you need to not have tsunamis, earthquakes, pandemics, wars, terrorism, economic collapse.

That's not a promise nuclear can make — especially given that we've almost certaintly have passed tipping points that will make unrest and extreme weather likely.

At this point it's not about stopping the climate crisis, it's about limiting the damage, and preparing society for the inevitable consequences.


> You could make the exact same argument about nuclear energy. The same promises were made, and it has failed to deliver.

No, you couldn't. That is not my argument! My argument is that nuclear is a proven technology to be able to replace carbon based electricity generation on nation-wide scale. France. It's electricity is cheaper and lower carbon than comparable countries in Europe. By 2050 France's electricity generation is actually forecast to increase in carbon intensity by almost 20% due to shutting down of nuclear reactors!

Why do you think the "environmentalist" / fossil fuel proponents have been repeating for the past few decades "oh well nuclear would have been great 10 years ago, but now it doesn't make sense"? It's because nuclear is proven, they know it, they can't address it (except by baseless fearmongering), and so they're misdirecting to keep fossil fuels on top. Why would France's emissions intensity of generation increase that much by 2050 if renewables were strictly superior to nuclear? Doesn't make any sense does it?

> It doesn't address the main issue of nuclear — it's incredibly dangerous.

That's just denial of reality. The facts aren't on your side I'm afraid. Nuclear is safer even without looking at the effects of carbon emissions.

> At this point it's not about stopping the climate crisis, it's about limiting the damage, and preparing society for the inevitable consequences.

That doesn't seem to add anything to the discussion. I don't know what you're getting at. At this point it is about reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere, as it has been at previous points, and as it will be in future points. Fossil-fuel industry talking points aside, that clearly calls for nuclear electricity generation.


> That doesn't seem to add anything to the discussion. I don't know what you're getting at.

I'm explaining why I'm against building nuclear power plants — it's a very simple point really:

- Do nuclear power plants require stability to be safe?

- Is the world becoming more or less stable?

All the other stuff sounds like a conspiracy theory.


Your baseless assertion that nuclear power is incredibly dangerous is what sounds like a conspiracy theory. Certainly it's not based in any facts or science.

It’s not dangerous?! Somebody tell the nuclear power companies. They’ll save so much money on security and safety. They could have a side hustle doing tours for school kids.

Of course it’s safe! This explains why Fukushima has such a thriving beach front community — and why three-mile island is such a tourist hot spot.

I guess that means dirty bombs aren’t dangerous? I guess nuclear weapons aren’t dangerous either!! Someone tell the CND, they’ve been wasting all their time protesting.

Wait, this is huge, the biggest conspiracy of all time. what about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they must be in on it too. Did they fake it?! Was the Cuban missile crisis an inside job? Is the Bikini atoll an advertising ploy for two-piece swimwear?

Does e=mc^2 or are Oppenheimer and Einstein sipping mojitos in the Bermuda Triangle with Elvis and Tupac?


The numbers do not agree with you.

>Do nuclear power plants require stability to be safe?

Not any more or less than any other form of power generation, no.

> Is the world becoming more or less stable?

Definitely more stable. This is the safest, most crime free/stable the world has ever been.


So how does that risk compare to the risks of burning fossil fuels?

You can stop burning the fossil fuel as soon as you have an alternative or need fewer energy. You can't just get rid of a nuclear reactor and its (spent) fuel that easily.

And that doesn't take into account that occasionally you have to write off large inhabited parts of a country due to an accident, which really doesn't happen with fossil fuels.

The goal is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, and maybe eventually some saner version of nuclear power and fusion. No easy solutions there.


You can't just get rid of the CO2 that was already emitted either. It's going to be in the atmosphere forever.

Also, oil spills make huge tracts of land unlivable, and unfortunately it's almost always fragile marine areas. Whereas the 'nuclear disaster zone' around Chernobyl is now teeming with life. Turns out humans are worse for wildlife than radioactivity...


"Teeming with life" doesn't mean you really want to live there. Animals with shorter lifespans have less of a problems with the cancer risk, I'll grant you that. There may even be some animals occasionally dying from radiation poisoning (having wandered through the wrong parts too often) and nobody would notice.

I'm simple that way. Stuff that can kill me right now is a lot scarier to me than stuff that will raise the average temperature over the next few decades. I'd also prefer most of the governments in the world not to have ready access to fissile or even large amounts of radioactive material, just as a general precaution.


Land is valuable, but it's value is overshadowed by the massive amounts of energy production of a nuclear plant.

Not really. I don't mean the area directly occupied by the reactor facility, but rather the exclusion zone of an incident like in Chernobyl or Fukushima.

Not that many people died in these incidents - because those zones were evacuated at great cost.


Yes, I mean the exclusion zone, it doesn't matter, the numbers are still in nuclear's favor.

Certainly not in the case of Tschernobyl or Fukushima in particular.

And to try and project the risk from accidents that happened so far is just foolish. The risk is really not computable because the chance is small (fat tail) and the consequences catastrophic. Additionally proponents want/need to scale up nuclear power (and thus the risk) by orders of magnitude to make a dent in carbon emissions.

And then, on top of all that, any small amount of actually bad intentions or simple incompetence throws off all the careful risk calculations.


Nuclear power plants are an economical no-brainer. The ecomic consequences of a disaster are nothing compared to the power produced over the average life time of a nuclear plant. Fukushimas economical damage may not even be attributable to the nuclear plant, considering that the tsunami may be directly responsible for most of the damage (which would have been done with or without a power plant).

The risk of a disaster is a different matter I don't want to get in to, I think people just fear what they don't understand. By this point, the people making and running the things know what they are doing in my opinion.


This is a false choice.

As the world gets more unstable due to climate change — an increased risk on pandemics, civil unrest, extreme weather events — do we really want abandoned nuclear power stations added to the mix?

So, don’t do either. use way less energy, rely on renewables and batteries for the rest.


Also a nice perspective: We'd have to allow developing countries and those with terribly corrupt/inefficient governments and regulatory regimes to use nuclear power.

I don't even like China engaging in large scale nuclear engineering, particularly because of how they screw up other sectors of industry.


I don't understand this "we'd have to allow developing countries" argument. How do people in developed countries allow or stop developing countries with corrupt/inefficient governments from doing whatever they want? If they can afford it, accept the risks and have the knowledge and physical requirements, how does anyone stop them?

By diplomatic pressure for example, or by withholding the development aid and technology necessary. Or by assassinating the nuclear scientists and later bombing the shit out of the facilities.

All of which has happened. In my opinion, the risk of nuclear power in its current form can't be computed, even within a robust regulatory environment. Without a robust regulatory environment, or even instable regimes and regions, I don't think there is even a question to the answer of: No, please don't.


Well I suppose you can assassinate nuclear scientists, bomb the shit out of the facilities, and withhold development aid and necessary technology regardless of whether you have nuclear technology. Once bombs are on the table, boundaries are out the window.

I can't tell to what extent you're being sarcastic. Your final sentence seems to have suffered during editing, but I gather you hold it as absolute that no unstable regime should have access to nuclear power, and that it is impossible to determine the difference between the risk of an unstable regime and a stable regime holding nuclear power, from which I infer that you hold it absolute that stable regimes should also not have access to nuclear power. Are you seriously saying that someone wanting nuclear power is legitimate grounds for war? If you were the leader of some country that would have about a 50% chance of success, would you declare war on Australia, now that they've announced they intend to pursue (limited, though surely particularly risky) nuclear power?


I don't know if you know the relevant history, but I am specifically referring to the precedent of Israel bombing the Iraqi reactor. Gaddafi also had a nuclear program that would have gotten him in trouble if he hadn't stopped it in time.

I don't want to categorically endorse nuclear weapon programs (or even civilian programs) as a reason to go to war, but I can understand why some countries believe so. Particularly in the case of Israel, when countries like Iraq and Iran have specifically and repeatedly said they want to destroy Israel. The nuclear programs in the hands of Iran, Pakistan and China are already troublesome. Their current governments might seem relatively "rational" about the whole thing, but they are authoritarian and who knows what will happen with their next crop of unelected leadership.

In less egregious cases, highly radioactive material is sufficient to build dirty bombs. A simple regime change, civil war or whatever in an unstable region with nuclear power could lead to a nightmare. Even less sinister, simple incompetence can lead to a mismanaged reactor or waste disposal, which in turn can have wideranging and catastrophic consequences.


That was pretty much the argument that convinced me to switch my stance away from "anti nuclear".

Living with the risk of another "Chernobyl" is bad – but a global climate catastrophe would probably be much worse.


To my knowledge risk in insurance speak is probability x cost and insurances don't insure Nuclear reactors.

Risk in insurance is more complicated than probability x cost.

It is more something like

probability x cost x liquid_captial / (liquid_capital - cost)

Essentially if the cost is so high the insurer would take a massive hit. This is the same reason why normal people by health-insurance. Essentially the 'value' of money is not linear. The less money you have the more value a single dollar has.


"the waste problem is mostly unsolved", the same goes with fossil fuel, per unit energy produced it's way worse.

The newer generation is able to process nuclear waste and reduce it significantly (albeit it will prolong its radioactive window)

This technology isn't proven enough yet to be available in the near future. It may arrive to late to do anything about climate change.

I feel you… yet it's good and necessary someone gives a divergent opinion.

LOL

This article is very poorly written unfortunately.

It goes into multiple "we don't know, but here's an option" paragraphs which give no useful information.



The article seems to be jumping to conclusions without explaining how does "waking up" look like.

And the "scientists are confused ha ha" signature of a lazy writer.

> Underneath reactor 4 there is still nuclear fuel that is active and which will take around 20,000 years for it to deplete. The uranium is too radioactive for anyone to live in the city

Bullshit. The uranium is contained and not a threat to anyone. Even in the same building (reactor 3) it's quite safe.

What makes the city dangerous to live in is the cloud of particles that spread over the wide environment immediately after the accident, something that wouldn't have happened if only the Soviets had added a containment vessel.


What happened at Chernobyl is the kind of thing that theoretically can't possibly happen at hundreds of other nuclear reactors around the world. Which is kind of frightening.

What’s the worst possible scenario with this situation? Could the reactor explode like a nuclear weapon or something? Or is it just going to escalate into more and more radioactive output? And if the latter, how far away from the site might the effects be seen?

Nuclear weapon, no. Nuclear fuel starting a fire and/or a chemical explosions, yes. A file/explosion could damage the containment structures and release radiation. But in no circumstances would we have an A-bomb style event.

Is a worst case scenario on a scale of a reproduction of the initial event, or (very much) worse, or not really that bad?

I'm no expert, but at a guess I'd worry about radioactive material getting out of the containment and being blown to where it shouldn't. Which is really the problem most of the time, rather than something blowing up or irradiating something directly.

Ok, I know nothing about nuke power. That said, I have a few questions:

Nuclear power is just about making steam isn’t it? Its ultimately about using heat to boil water, isn’t it?

Why can't they continue making steam from this reactor? Its not exactly cooling down, is it?


You could, but its not producing that much heat.

Moreover, a normal reactor has two loops. The first is an internal loop that moves heat from the core to a heat exchanger. The second is an external loop that takes heat from the heat exchanger and turns it into steam that goes to a turbine.

This is done because the internal loop gets rather contaminated with radioactive materials. Turning that contaminated water to steam and venting it to the outside world is... bad.


Yes, it's cooling down, very quickly.

There is no reactor anymore, it's just melted fuel that flowed into rooms under the reactor vessel but it cooled quickly and now it's just a warm rock.

Nuclear reactor is constructed in a way that the neutrons from fission are reflected back to the fuel to cause more reactions so the reaction rate is kept stable at a very high level. When the reactor was blown out by steam it lost most of it's power in seconds because the structures that kept the chain reaction running not existed anymore.

The conditions at the spot where the fuel is deposited may change due to environmental factors, for example when rainwater sinks into the fuel or it evaporates or runs off (water is a neutron moderator). That may cause temporary surge in fission reactions but it's still nowhere close to an operational reactor.


Nuclear energy is fantastic and environmentally friendly for the first 50 years.

It’s the next 9,950 years that no one has been able to complete successfully.


Can't read the OP (HNed), but the title sounds like the intricate promotion campaign for the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

It's more like anti-promotion for this https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28830708

Last week: This antinuclear idiots are dumb, nuclear is totally safe, we have planned any possible scenario, all the smart people love it...

Today: cric, cric, cric...

Always the same history. Sigh.


The submission got flagged as well :shurg:

Hm I have been binge-watching a certain sci-fi show that’s on Netflix recently …



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