OT - TV Mini Series HBO Chernobyl

Just been watching 2nd episode, about 50 minutes in.
After the initial explosion there is talk of the damaged and burning nuclear reactor core melting through its concrete base into some water tanks below and that this would cause a "thermal" explosion of "between 2 and 4 Megatons".
Yeah, right!
They should have called the series "Chernobyl East of Moscow" as a homage to previous disaster film makers respect for factual accuracy.
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On 23/05/2019 12:26, Pancho wrote:

I'm sure Prof Nesterenko - indeed nuclear physicists the world over - welcome your insight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coYYBdcA1lo


I'm really enjoying it. There's probably an element of dramatic license, but I only ever take these adaptations as ballpark reality.
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On 23/05/2019 12:54, RJH wrote:

OK - I'll play my A-level physics against patent bullshit.
Large nuclear explosions are difficult to achieve. There is a tendency for fissile uranium to prematurely detonate, i.e the energy from nuclear fission blows the fissile material apart stopping any further chain reaction. In order to achieve a significant nuclear explosion you need a geometrically precise implosion of highly enriched uranium. Off the top of my head 95% U235 or U239. Reactor cores are something like 5%.
Even then I think pure fission explosions are limited to kilotons. In order to achieve megatons you would need fission enhanced by extra neutrons from nuclear fusion of hydrogen. Again I think this is relatively difficult to achieve. Fusion is only achieved by precise compression of hydrogen.
Do I need to go on. If I know this how come the TV producers didn't?

2-4 Megatons, with 30km shock wave isn't ball park it is bollocks. I find it surprising that Facebook people are banned for not opposing radical ideologies and yet mainstream TV companies are allowed to broadcast patently false propaganda.
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On 23/05/2019 13:20, Pancho wrote:

There was no mention of a nuclear explosion. It was the reaction of the hot radioactive stuff and the water, causing a shock wave, in turn (and this was the real point) dispersing the radioactive material far beyond the 30km blast range. At least that was my interpretation.

It was nothing to do with fission.

They know because they read the available material. Do you have any link/source to back up your claim (whatever your claim might be)?

Perhaps you should get a job patrolling and censoring all drama and social media. Then, in your spare time, you could advise the nuclear energy industry on all manner of things. You're just wasted on DIY newsgroups, what with your A level and all . . .
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What's this 30km blast range?
There would have been a danger of the uranium being dispersed a bit but not very far.
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On 23/05/2019 14:53, Tim Streater wrote:

RJH doesnt appear to have understood any of it either.
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On 23/05/2019 14:53, Tim Streater wrote:

A steam explosion from a mad hot core hitting the water table might just be in the low kT of explosive yield but it takes very special implosion conditions and a highly enriched nuclear fuel to ignite a MT device.
It used to be called the China syndrome (and a film was made with that title about a core meltdown).

I expect it would spread the same way as the rest of what escaped. The bulk of it would come down close to the site but it would make a serious mess with the finest particles going way up into the atmosphere.
Uranium that has been inside a reactor is not nice stuff.
The fallout of unusual lead isotopes and other volatile fission products was detectable in Cheshire with ultra trace techniques and especially on the Welsh hills where it extended the lifetime of lambs considerably.
Japan banned the import of haggis as a result.
But for Cockcroft's follies parts of the UK would have ended up quite seriously hot after the Windscale reactor fire in 1957.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscale_fire
The radioactive iodine being volatile and some gasses escaped but the radioactive dust stayed in the filters at the top of the chimneys. Making them rather interesting to decommission when the time came.
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Except it turned out that the title was entirely misleading. Nothing to do with a core meltdown at all. What it was *actually* about was industrial malfeasance: the story has the company that made the reactor skipping the X-ray examinations of the pipe welds, and instead just doing one and then making lots of copies to represent supposed examinations of all the welds. This is then discovered by our fearless reporter Ace Bottle - oh no wait, that's the Goon Show.
Of course, such chicanery by a builder could happen at any sort of plant, assuming it could happen at all and wouldn't have been caught by inspection processes.
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On 23/05/2019 15:44, Martin Brown wrote:

Ultra sensitive being the important bit. IE. not actually dangerous.

Not really they had gone through a lot of half lives by then. They were no where as near as radioactive as when the fire happened.
Also it was mostly burning carbon so there wasn't an excessive nuclear reaction.
Its what happens when you cut corners to make bombs.
Fortunately nuclear power stations aren't usually like that. Not that greens can understand the difference.
Calder green never actually supplied much electricity as it was primally a bomb factory too.
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On 23/05/2019 18:23, dennis@home wrote:

Calder Hall and Chapelcross provided electricity to the grid for the best part of 50 years.
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On 24/05/2019 11:47, newshound wrote:

How much electricity do you think calder hall put into the grid? It was a bomb factory not a power plant. I expect most of what it generated was used on site.
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On 24/05/2019 15:05, dennis@home wrote:

It went into the grid. Obviously, the grid was also supplying the sites, but then it would have been anyway. The original CH concept was for it to be able to supply bled steam for process heating. How much of this was done in the early days I do not know, but I don't believe it was supplying any significant amount of steam by the late 1990s.
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On 23/05/2019 15:44, Martin Brown wrote:

Research te behaviour of heavy particulates in a agas.

Neither is it particularly nasty stuff.

Indeed. we have amazingly sensitive instruments. Able to detect thousands of times lower concentrations than represent any danger whatsoever.
However I dont think it was lead or heavy metals that was detected un cumbria., I suspect it was I 131 and radio ceasium.

Indeed, and nothing ever came of that, either.

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On Thu, 23 May 2019 15:44:01 +0100, Martin Brown wrote:

What everyone seems to have missed is that the "power" of steam explosion is highly dependant on the strength of any containment. If the steam can't can't escape pressures build up until something fails. If that fails suddenly the resultant sudden realease of the highly pressurised steam produces a heck of blast wave.
Black powder will just fizz and smoke a bit ignited on an open saucer. Take the same amount of black powder shove it down a sealed metal tube and tightly block the exit with a ball of iron then ignite the black powder. The ball of iron will come flying out of the tube at fairly high velocity... The energy is the same but the powers very different.

And Cumbria. The ban on selling sheep above a certain radioactivity level from 327 farms in Wales and 8 in Cumbria, was only lifted 2012.
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On 23/05/2019 14:45, RJH wrote:

Correct, they claimed a thermal explosion in the megaton range. That's a few million tons of TNT, or let's say a cube of about 100 metres on a side. What you have in the collapsed reactor is a volume of the order of 10 metres on a side. Yes, it's very hot. Yes, it is a bad thing to mix hot metal intimately with water. But even without doing any sums that looks to be three orders of magnitude away from multi megaton. It would not be too hard to work out the available thermal energy, I think it was reckoned that the core ran up to about 700% of its nominal rating for a few seconds before it disassembled.
What the hell, let's do the sum. It was something like 1000 MWe, so say 3000 MWt. Say it was 10 seconds (I bet it wasn't that long). So the energy is about 2 * 10^11 joules. Petrol is about 40 MJ/kg. So that's about 5 tonnes of petrol. Or 50 tonnes of TNT.
You can add a bit of energy from the oxidation of the steelwork and the graphite.
Plenty of people have 1000 litres of heating oil in their garden.
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On 23/05/2019 15:21, newshound wrote:

Yes, possibly - obviously, I have absolutely no idea. The guy who advised is on record relating to the blast potential. But I couldn't blame him for a bit of hyperbole, if that was what was needed to get the government moving.
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Which government and to do what?
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On 23/05/2019 17:26, Tim Streater wrote:

USSR, to act. I'm afraid you're going to have to watch it, or at least read up on it - called 'Chernobyl'.
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No I'm not. I saw the previous similar offering of a number of years ago. I also read the very useful New Scientist article on it that came out in the late 80s IIRC. And read the Winky article which is also very good.
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Sadly I've not been able to locate that NS article again; it really was very good.
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those who insist on a perfect world, freedom will have to do." -- Bigby Wolf
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