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".
They should have called the series "Chernobyl East of Moscow" as a
homage to previous disaster film makers respect for factual accuracy.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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
If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Any fool can believe in principles - and most of them do!
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
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.
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
Plenty of people have 1000 litres of heating oil in their garden.
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
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
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
"Freedom is sloppy. But since tyranny's the only guaranteed byproduct of
those who insist on a perfect world, freedom will have to do." -- Bigby Wolf
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