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Could it because of the way Chernobyl was handled? The USSR lost a lot of people cleaning up that mess.



They lost about 300 first responders and exposed at least 100,000 reservists to very dangerous levels of radiation in the cleanup operation. Some of the video and stories of the cleanup are quite crazy.

Source: I visited Chernobyl and Pripyat in April.


Do you think that these 300 saved lives of others because of what they did? Do you think it was necessary at that point just to - I'm sorry for putting it that way - sacrifice them ?


> Do you think that these 300 saved lives of others because of what they did?

No, I think it was overall a waste of human life. The situation could have been handled far better by putting out the fires immediately -- those were spewing toxic, radioactive smoke into the air. After that, however, instead of attempting a coverup, the first priority should have been evacuation. Once people were out of harm's way, there would be time for planning a safe, careful cleanup effort.

Because of the poor design, which lacked of secondary containment, some deaths in the initial firefighting might have been unavoidable, but the death toll was unnecessarily high, all for the sake of saving face and hoping that things could be covered up.


Also, Pripyat Hospital #1 was entirely oblivious to the fact that injured firemen brought to them were highly radioactive - to the point that even a shred of their uniforms is very dangerous even today.

Our guide pointed out a piece that some idiot had brought up from the highly irradiated basement.


How exactly do you "put out" a molten reactor core?


It wasn't a molten reactor core that was being put out, but burning graphite control rods. The molten reactor core wasn't good, but it was a relatively local problem compared to the smoke from the burning rods escaping into the atmosphere and getting carried by the winds.


The fires kept burning for days and days in the melted-down reactor - most who died had no idea how dangerous the whole situation was.

The cleanup operation wasn't much better - men cleaning nearby reactor roofs in 45 second shifts and heavy lead aprons because the radiation was too bad for a fleet of robots to function.




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