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Life after Chernobyl: Sergei
Gaschak’s photography from
inside ´the zone´

Independent [UK], by Shaun Walker

Original Article

Posted By:Maryland_Patriot, 1/25/2013 9:55:59 PM

Sergei Gaschak’s photography offers an unparalleled glimpse at animal life inside “the zone”, the area of Ukraine and Belarus that has been officially closed off to human habitation since the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986. Using camera traps to take photographs mechanically, as well as taking photographs personally, Gaschak has captured what few have been able to see with their own eyes – the remarkable diversity of wildlife within the zone.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: quark, 1/25/2013 11:27:57 PM     (No. 9139847)

it´s very informative to read the comments section = a discussion of flora and fauna and lots of radiation stuff, and can be confusing. but interesting...

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Reply 2 - Posted by: mackrand, 1/26/2013 12:58:13 AM     (No. 9139918)

With all that discussion of flora and fauna, how about this definition. Fauna are things that talk, flora are things that do not. (And no, Quaking Aspens are not talking.)

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Reply 3 - Posted by: mackrand, 1/26/2013 1:00:06 AM     (No. 9139920)

Oops, living things that is.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: veritas, 1/26/2013 2:45:35 AM     (No. 9139970)

A worthwhile effort by Gaschak.

That said, US power reactors can´t fail like Chernobyl. The designs are very, very different. The reactors that drive our electrical generating plants have the core [all the fuel elements] contained in a large steel pressure vessel [a big steel tank, inches thick]. This vessel is installed inside a hugely-strong concrete containment building. Its walls are many feet thick and are reinforced with many rows of very heavy steel rebar along the inner and outer faces. It´s designed to survive a fully-loaded jet airliner crashing into it without the walls being breached. I´ve stood on a cured section of a containment wall of a plant under construction and I believe it.

First, Chernobyl had no such containment structure, just a steel-frame and siding weather shelter, basically. The reactor itself was not a pressure vessel, for reasons that "served the interests of The State." It was a huge graphite [that´s a form of carbon, like coal] structure. Coal burns. So does graphite, as we saw. In this design, each fuel assembly is a small pressure vessel. Why? So each can be isolated, removed, and replaced without shutting down the reactor. Why is that useful? So plutonium -- for making nuclear weapons -- can be extracted frequently while the reactor keeps making more. For The State.

But such a reactor design can go out of control, especially when operators "try things." And the graphite structure can quickly start burning. Huge radiation leaks happen right away. Emergency workers can´t avoid high exposure levels. Bad design, except for bomb-makers.

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