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Ukraine Part 5: war...it never changes


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Chenornobly was an accident.  Bombing nuclear plants is not.  and can't be claimed as accidental in any way if firefighters are not given the opportunity to try and put out the fire without also being shot, bombed.  It should be considered the same as using small tactical nukes.

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8 minutes ago, Tears of Lys said:

What the living fuck.  Isn't this almost the equivalent of dropping an actual nuke???  

Insofar as radioactive fallout, if it leads to a melt down part of me wants to say it would be worse, but I honestly don’t know.

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I'm not sure how "elevated radiation levels" are quantified in this instance, but you can monitor the radiation levels in real time at the site of the power plant.

Link.

Right now, everything is right around background.

Anyway, the worst case scenario here is for the coolant system to be interrupted. There are diesel generators available as a backup if there's a failure in the external power supply. Also, unlike the case of Chernobyl and Fukushima, there's a containment building, which is made strong enough to withstand a jet crashing into it.

Should the reactor fail, the radioisotopes of concern would be isotopes of cesium, strontium, and iodine. If these are vented out of the reactor (in the absolute worse case scenario), the containment building will prevent them from release.

We'll see what happens. Right now all this means is a potentially expensive repair.

Edit: It's also worth noting that according to the article to which The Dragon Demands linked, the fire is at a reactor that currently is not in use, which means that a core failure is not possible. Fires may spread for course, and shelling may produce other fires. However, in these conditions I would be surprised if the operating reactors weren't scrammed. A day after scramming, the decay heat is about 0.4% of the power, so around 12 MW.

Edited by IFR
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8 minutes ago, Kalibuster said:

To be clear this is a largely modern plant with significant ways to protect against catastrophic failure. The risk of a major event is small.

I hope you are right.  I may be wrong but I would bet the engineers of those safety plans to protect against catastrophic failure did not also factor in it happening in an active war zone which may stop anything that is not an automated safety action.  And there could also be more missile damage.

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Quote

The Guardian’s Julian Borger has spoken to Mariana Budjeryn, an Ukrainian expert at the project on managing the atom at Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

Budjeryn said:

Saying that a reactor building is hit doesn’t tell us much, because the most vulnerable [part of] this is the electricity and water supply.

If the electricity is taken out, the back up generators kick in, but if those don’t kick in or their diesel fuel is set on fire, for example, the pumps can’t pump cold water into the reactor and into the spent fuel pools. That’s necessary to keep the nuclear reaction moderated. Otherwise the water will boil out and the core will go critical and explode.

If the core explodes, there’s hope that the confinement chamber will capture the radiation from release into the environment. Confinement chambers are designed with withstand some level of impact even bombing.

But of course we don’t know how they will stand to this intensity of shelling

BUT spent fuel pools - the fuel there is not as active, but they are usually overstuffed - so less active but more tightly packed material, also dangerous for going critical if the cooling system fails. And spent fuel pools are not covered by hardened concrete confinement chambers.

We learned about how vulnerable spent fuel pools are during Fukushima

The backup generators failed and the water pumping system failed - it was lucky that ocean water flooded those and the reactor cores to provide cooling.”

Well, personally I am not too concerned right now, but it would behoove to Russians to stop their hostilities near the plant.

Edited by IheartIheartTesla
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7 minutes ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Well, personally I am not too concerned right now, but it would behoove to Russians to stop their hostilities near the plant.

With spent fuel, there is considerably less decay heat, and so providing coolant is less of a pressing issue relative to a reactor core.

That said, I will agree with you that shelling a nuclear power plant seems like a bad idea.

Edited by IFR
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The latest report on the Guardian's live feed says:

Quote

 

The Ukrainian State Emergency Service is reporting that radiation and fire safety conditions at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant are “within normal limits”.

An update on the agency’s official Telegram account reads:

As of 02:26 in the city of Energodar at the Zaporozhye NPP, the third power unit was disconnected from the unified energy system (only Unit 4 is operating). Of the six power units, one is currently operating.

Radiation and fire safety conditions at nuclear power plants are within normal limits.

Fire condition at the NPP is normal.”

 

3 minutes ago, IFR said:

That said, I will agree with you that shelling a nuclear power plant seems bad idea.

I would have thought even on the basis of self-preservation most soldiers would think twice about doing that.

Edited by williamjm
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I expect bombing a nuclear power plant is going to piss a lot of people off even if there isn't a nuclear accident. It is certainly not going to win Russia any new hearts and minds. Though if the plant pulls through without creating any elevation in radiation level that will be a good advertisement for modern nuclear power plant safety.

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5 minutes ago, williamjm said:

I would have thought even on the basis of self-preservation most soldiers would think twice about doing that.

Which makes one wonder if they're carrying out orders or just randomly bombing shit.

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My biggest concern has nothing to do with the plant failing. Nuclear plants are very resilient and are, actually, designed with the idea that combat may occur. 

My concern is that if there is a nuclear event - such as a leak or radiation- that it could be misinterpreted as a nuclear strike. That shouldn't be the case, and if people are competent and cool it won't be, but that ain't a great assumption. 

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11 minutes ago, Kalibuster said:

My concern is that if there is a nuclear event - such as a leak or radiation- that it could be misinterpreted as a nuclear strike. That shouldn't be the case, and if people are competent and cool it won't be, but that ain't a great assumption. 

There could be potential panic among the public, I suppose. No country is going to confuse a power plant radiation leak (if that scenario did occur) with nuclear weapon. Nuclear detonations release a very specific isotopic and electromagnetic signature that can be detected via satellites. Also, there's recognizable seismic activities. 

If, say, the unlikely event occurs where there's a hydrogen explosion accompanied by the venting of radioactive inventory, I cannot see that being confused with a nuke. I don't want to say it's impossible, but it's incredibly unlikely.

Edited by IFR
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