Talk:Chernobyl disaster/Archive 6

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Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 7

Speed of Insertion of Control Rods

The section "Fatal experiment" cites a control rod insertion speed of 18-20 seconds, but "Possible causes of the disaster" states that "The main process computer [...] would have also started the "Emergency Core Protection System" that introduces 24 control rods into the active zone within 2.5 seconds..." The 18-20 number may be based on time to insert manual control rods, but if this is the case the article should say so. Is ECPS a more radical insertion than what would have happened at Chernobyl during a normal SCRAM? Fish-man (talk) 12:30, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Comparison with Other Disasters

Is there a reason why this section shouldn't be removed on the grounds of irrelevance? Psychobabble 06:23, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Um, I would say it's highly relevant. One of the big questions with regards to nuclear power is how bad a nuclear accident is. Therefore, it is very relevant to compare the worst nuclear accident in history with other serious industrial/technological disasters. --Robert Merkel 06:56, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Definitely a "keep": Any disaster with a "nuclear" connotation is magnified and intensified in the public imagination. This section does a lot to keep it in proportion. Moonraker88 07:19, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, it just seems like it's not anything like apples with apples there. You're comparing disasters which by their nature had large, immediate and identifiable death tolls with a disaster where the fatality figures are controversial and likely to occur in longer time frame. I thought it was an unusual comparision, but if others think it's fine I won't argue ;). Psychobabble 01:23, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Why Bhopal? For nuclear power accidents, shouldn't the comparison be with other means of producing electricity? In that case, the comparison should be Banqiao. 21:04, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
You're right, but the only reason Banqiao was missing was because this section was eviscerated in Aug 07. I've restored it. Joffan (talk) 22:00, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

A quick question about "conditions prior to the accident": The last sentence of that section indicates that only the Xe-135 reactor poison was keeping the reactor at its low power level. Is this technically accuarate? Given the positive void coefficient, and the statement in the same paragraph that increasing water flow above safety limits further reduced power due to the neutron absorption of the water, isn't it so that only the reactor poison AND the relatively cold (void free) extra water were both keeping the power levels low? Even if the Xe-135 was mostly responsible, this is not an insignificant point. In fact, the water displaced during the re-insertion of the control rods set off the whole thing, didn't it? Then when the water started to boil, more voids created even more power, all the while burning off the Xe-135. Have I got this right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Kid of speed

At the end, it lists "Kidofspeed" as another thing to look at. It should be "Kiddofspeed" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:57, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Dispute over neutrality of "Alternative views of Chernobyl"

There has been some strange behaviour here. The earlier sections of this article stress 'official' views of the accident (such as UNSCEAR's) and present their recommendations and casualty figures as fact. But when (well-researched) alternatives were posed in this (much smaller, less emphatic) section - one clearly enitled 'Alternative Views' so no-one can read it as a statement of ideology, because it merely offers the scientifically-sound approach of suggesting where re-interpretation of casualties and outcomes might be justified - then a great deal of activity ensues in an attempt to quash it. There were some early total deletions and, later, some very heavy-handed and clearly biased re-editing.

Given that the outcomes of Chernobyl need - desperately need - an ongoing sense of re-interpretation and research (beyond the few irrefutable facts), it is almost comical for perhaps the most even-handed portion of this article to be targeted as 'non-neutral'! No unjustified statements are made under "Alternative views of Chernobyl", and much is qualified by alternative views. Its role is to keep the relevant questions open. It seems some people out there simply don't like that idea or can't tolerate any alternative views on the subject, however well substantiated they are!Anne Prouse (talk) 17:48, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest for a moment that you consider the 'Alternative Views' section, it is the case that some claims have been made by some fringe scientists. These claims have been repeated in the section, and then a discussion of these claims has been added. I would be very careful about using phrases such as scientifically-sound as how can you make such a judgement as to the worth (or lack of worth) of a scientists work.Cadmium (talk) 20:08, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Don't care about whether its true or not. I care about an "encyclopaedia" lecturing me about "irresponsible journalism". Cut the commentary crap from the alternative views section... providing your own subjective analysis in an encyclopaedia is awful "journalism". (talk) 01:55, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

This section sounds more like what you might read in a journal than an encyclopedia. It certainly makes sense to me, but it has too much of an argumentative tone, rather than an informative tone. Masema —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:24, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

First, there is article Chernobyl disaster effects which better describes this problem. Second, I agree with Anne Prouse. Certainly, all reports should be included. UNSCEAR and IAEA reports are not any better than others. These organizations are prone to various political manipulations. They are less reliable than normal publication in scientific journals or studies by independent national or international organizations.Biophys (talk) 00:40, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


For example, this article states that "Reports by anti-nuclear power protest groups and irresponsible journalists,[53] based on speculation rather than evidence, may have contributed to the anxiety and depression of people in the fallout zones.. I checked provided reference [53]: [1], and it tells exactly the opposite:

"Humans have fared badly. In the past few weeks four major scientific reports have challenged the World Health Organisation (WHO), which believes that only 50 people have died and 9,000 may over the coming years. The reports widely accuse WHO of ignoring the evidence and dismissing illnesses that many doctors in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus say are worsening, especially in children of liquidators.

The charge is led by the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, which last week declared that 212,000 people have now died as a direct consequence of Chernobyl. Meanwhile, a major report commissioned by Greenpeace considers the evidence of 52 scientists and estimates the deaths and illnesses to be 93,000 terminal cancers already and perhaps 100,000 deaths in time. A further report for European parliamentarians suggested 60,000 deaths. "

And so on and so on. This must be corrected.Biophys (talk) 00:51, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I do agree that current text does not meet WP:NPOV and WP:Verifiability criteria.Biophys (talk) 00:54, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

good source, a serious scientific study, conducted by well known people, such as Yablokov and many others. Biophys (talk) 01:24, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
In fact this is very simple. For example, this source tells that "50,000 to 100,000 liquidators (clean-up workers) died in the years up to 2006.". But how many liquidators died according to the UN report?. They do not tell (!). I looked through ~500 pages of their report and found no their estimates of this critically important number. Unless someone finds alternative numbers in the UN report, I am going to write in this article that "50,000 to 100,000 liquidators (clean-up workers) died in the years up to 2006.", and so on.Biophys (talk) 01:54, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


Were robots really used to construct the sarcophagus? I haven't heard that anywhere else (talk) 15:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, operator-less backhoes were used there from the very beginning. Not sure if they were true robots or RC. You can google for references or, if you can, find any Russian documentary about the accident. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:47, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Here is proof that Robots have been used: (first minute) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

There were large 20-ton tracked bulldozers with simple RC control, supplied by the fomer East Germany. These did heavy earth grading around the buildings and broke down pretty soon due to radiation killing their transistors. There were a few smaller sized six-wheeled debris-clearing robots working on the remaining roof-top of the reactor. These were hastily derived from the decade earlier Lunokhod moon vehicles and worked pretty well, because the original robotic moon rover was Polonium-heated, so the whole instrument block was designed to resist radiation from the very beginning. (talk) 19:13, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

International spread of radioactivity

Please, review the first sentence of the above mentioned article. It states: "...radioactive cloud which floated over Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, but also the European part of the Republic of Macedonia,...". I am a little confused as no information for the Australian part of Republic of Macedonia is provided... ;)))) StMt 18:27, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I also haven't heard of it... although Macedonian fellow may argue :-) I moved the "European part" from Macedonia to Turkey anyway. Vroomfundel (talk) 21:00, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, now it looks better! I really hope they will not get upset about it.. :O --StMt 10:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stoyan.stoyan (talkcontribs)

Assessing the disaster's effects on human health

{{editprotected}} In this section, please add after "Thyroid cancer is generally treatable" the reference Experts Find Reduced Effects of Chernobyl, and the words "the five year survival rate of thyroid cancer is 96%, and 92% after 30 years, with proper treatment." ref Thyroid Cancer

Also please throw ref tags around the two URLs in the same section. (talk) 19:56, 6 February 2008 (UTC)


Someone just deleted the whole article.

Blackbird of Chernobyl

Should the sightings of a mothman-like creature arising from the burning power station have any place in this article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:05, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

  • No. No, the alleged sightings of non-existent creatures should not be mentioned in a serious, informational article about one of the greatest disasters in history.

DRoninLA (talk) 09:04, 15 April 2008 (UTC)DRoninLA

neo-Nostradamus over Chernobyl.

Soon after the bad 1979 TMI accident, some US novelist wrote a fiction about an even worse reactor mishap and his book turned out to be an eerie prediction of the 1986 disaster, so exacting some accused him of being a time traveller. It even had details like the helicopter flight over the decapped reactor complex with the vacuum chamber bursting the fuse due to incredible radiation.

Ok, who was that guy and shouldn't he get a mention in this article? (talk) 19:16, 21 April 2008 (UTC)


If anyone has or knows of a map we can use for this article, it would be much appreciated. Without a map displaying Cesium-137 (or other radioactive isotope) deposition over the entire European continent the article seems to emphasize the local effects. For example, Scandinavia and Switzerland received substantial radiation. A good (but possibly copyrighted) map is here. -kslays (talkcontribs) 22:19, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

WHO is a disputed source in this context!

The intro gives the impression that the estimations of the WHO may be considered to be reliable - as I also always thought. However, it is a current news item (related to the 22th Chernobyl anniversary) that the WHO should not be deemed a reliable source in this context due to its pact with the nuclear lobby, and apparently it has long been known ba specialists that its estimations have been disputed. See for example Obviously the fact that the WHO is not neutral must be mentioned and alternative estimations must be added. Harald88 (talk) 12:44, 27 April 2008 (UTC)


The movie "Monthman Prophecies", claims that just before the Chernobyl disaster occured many people saw a moth-like creature (Mothman). Is this true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:45, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

  • There's also a belief that this event fulfilled a biblical prophecy as one of the seven trumpets of Revelation. Rj1020 (talk) 04:13, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Soviet authorities later forbade doctors to cite "radiation" on death certificates

Professional doctor will not write "radiation" in death certificate. He will write "cancer" or "leukemia". Radiation poitioning (Acute radiation syndrome) is "ray desease" in Russian so it does not contain the word "radiation" and this sindrome cannot cause death after years. Only 8 fire fighters who were exposed to extreme radiation levels dead in hours after the desaster from this desease. No illness has the word "radiation" in its clinic name in Russian and as such if one doctor was forbidden to write it in a certificate only shows that he was unproffessional if he wanted to do so. So I suggest to remove the sentece. --Dojarca 16:16, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the intention to remove or reword the sentence, however if there is a reliable reference that can be quoted to this effect, then it can stay. If you can find what was actually ordered to be written or not written, then please edit the article accordingly. I was going to remove some of the emotional language in this section anyway.
A reference has been provided, but it is not really very solid. This sentence has the feel of a perhaps-true but deceptive statement. As Dojarca describes it, it would simply be unprofessional in almost all cases to give cause of death as "radiation"; which would be enough to forbid its use in the interests of good record-keeping. I will delete (or relocate) in a week or so unless there are further thoughts here. Joffan (talk) 00:08, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
The Dr. Mettler who is quoted in this article is also quoted in ISBN 9780307266569 to the effect that Ukraine now requires all deaths in the Chernobyl area to be attributed to the disaster. "An official said to me, 'How else are we going to get aid?' " Should this be added to the article? Vgy7ujm (talk) 18:11, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Sloppy job with the radiation unit used

I would be happy to see the unit "rontgen" or whatever it is called changed to the standard SI units of sievert. I can understand the implications of using that unit to describe the event--it happened in old time Soviet Union; writer probably copied from old print sources--but I should remind you that students do, from time to time, come around this site and actually quote something out of it. So please be more responsible here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:53, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I think it is fair to present the text from original sources, it is much easier to source-check the information for correctness. As an additional generous courtesy, a SI conversion may be offered in (brackets) - feel free to help with this task - anyway the units dont make sense to most people, SI or otherwise. If students are exposed to real world sources they may just as well get used to the unit mess, and it is not so unreasonable to ask them to consult a unit conversion website. But as I said, feel free to help if you think this is of importance. Power.corrupts (talk) 16:25, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
The roentgen's equivalent in SI units is the Gray, so we would need to know what type of radioactive particles the public and liquidators were exposed to, in order to convert to the sievert.Awils1 (talk) 08:45, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I question the conversion from röntgens-per-second to grays-per-second that has recently been added to the Radiation levels section. Röntgen is a measure or ionizing radiation, while gray is a measure of absorbed radiation dose. There is no fixed conversion. A proper SI conversion from röntgen would be: 1 R = 2.58 × 10-4 C/kg ([2]). The Gray (unit) article suggests that for certain conditions, 1&nbspGy ≈ 107.185&nbspR, but I don't believe that it would be accurate to include that conversion here. Certainly not a conversion of 1&nbspGy = 100&nbspR.
I propose removing the conversions. Does anyone object? -- Tcncv (talk) 00:38, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
No objections. The original measured value and unit from the source must be kept, for checking. Problems then arise if the unit is difficult to interpret in a certain context, here a human hazard assessment context. The article thoughtfully provides a ballpark figure for lethal dose (in röntgen) for readers to relate to that number. Feinsmeckers may correctly object however, that the röntgen unit is really not suitable for that, it should be röntgen equivalent man (rem) or sievert - but a correct conversion requires that the type of radiation is known, which it is not.
As you say, the (good faith) gray (unit) conversion only clouds the situation, confusing "bare" radiation energy intensity with absorbed radiation dose, when what we really want to know is the biological effect of that absorbed radiation dose (sievert). Anyway, the units don't make sense to most people, SI or otherwise, and they are a *complete* nightmare. Power.corrupts (talk) 08:04, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Thermal explosion

The article talks about three men who entered the plant, attempting to open water sluices to prevent a thermal explosion. It doesnt say whether they were successful or not. Could this be included into the section? --Simpsons fan 66 06:23, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Changed "Thermal explosion" to "Steam explosion" and added info on draining the pool. Power.corrupts (talk) 17:06, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Some Further Problems With This Section:
This section states that the three men never reached the surface again. If this was the case, how does anyone know that their light failed, and the valves had to be found by feel? Were their diving suits connected to the surface by telephone?
Also, if the sluice gates were opened, why was it still necessary to use fire pumps to drain the water?

RogerInPDX (talk) 06:14, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

"Inexperienced team"

I removed the following phrase:

"This reactor crew had little or no experience in nuclear power plants, as many had been drafted in from coal powered plants, and Anatoly Dyatlov, deputy chief engineer of the plant and the effective crew chief during the experiment, had some experience installing nuclear reactors in submarines. -ref- BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Documentary entitled "Days That Shook The World" -ref- "

BBC is plain wrong on this. The crew with "little or no experience in nuclear power plants" simply CANNOT operate the reactor. Period. There are thousands of controls to watch and adjust.

Anatoly Dyatlov indeed had "some" experience installing nuclear reactors in submarines - from ~1959 to 1973! Then from 1973 he worked on Chernobyl station till 1986. Don't you think that this is quite a bit of experience?

I don't know how many years of operational experience the rest of the team had, but I read both Medvedev's and Dyatlov's accounts on the catastrophe and they both say in no uncertain terms that reactor operators were qualified for the job, and actually did nothing very different from what any other similar team of RBMK reactor would do in this situation.

They operated it somewhat out of regulations, but this was quite typical on USSR's reactors! They simply did not know that RBMK had a few serious design flaws.

Another thing I deleted: "Operators, unaware of the poisoning phenomenon,...". Again, both Medvedev's and Dyatlov's accounts talk A LOT about xenon poisoning, and reactor team clearly knew that it has happened. These are basics of reactor operations. (talk) 06:55, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Deleted {Refimprovesect|date=June 2007} in section "Immediate crisis management"

The text is in broad accordance with Medvedev 1990 chapter 2 and while some more references would be helpful I see no reason to degrade the whole section with this tag. Individuel statements can be marked with {fact} ad libitum if felt unsubstantiated. Power.corrupts (talk) 16:14, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

References, and concerns regarding section: Historical significance of the Chernobyl disaster

While those are some good edits, I would like to see more ref's then just Medvedev's book. Also, could you please provide more publishing info (I.e. title, etc) about the book so others can look it up. Also, the historical significance section needs more ref's it still comes off as opinions/original research. Brothejr (talk) 20:45, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

I saw the book ref that Power.corrupts put up and I thought it would be better in a further reading section along with another book I knew of. Someone can correct me, but if a reader clicks on on of Power.corrupts ref's they will see the author's name and can still look up to the further reading section to see what the ref is. Brothejr (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 23:58, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Your comments are fair enough. I forgot to add the monograph to the references section - done. Regarding your requests for more refs in the historical significance section, I really cant do much. I only have the quotes from Valeri Legasov - as you can see he is no lightweight, and it is not original research. What I can do however, is to subject his claims to a reality check (which i did before the edits):
  • He says that 5,000 km2 is made impossible for human life - that is in rough numbers two areas each of 50 km x 50 km. There is a 30 km exclusion zone around the reactor, where nobody "can live". I dont know what that means, but I suppose that it equal to "impossible for human life". That constitutes the first chunk of the two 2,500 km2's (in fact 2,827 km2). About 60 percent of the fallout was deposited in Belarus, I have no idea of the areas there, but have read that nature reserves have been created where radiation is too high - I assume again that equals "impossible for human life". Look at the map on Chernobyl disaster effects#Evacuation - the red areas are "Confiscated closed zone". While I cannot qualify Legasov's statement I would say that, in all, an area of some 5,000 km2 does not seem unreasonable at all.
  • He says that the sarcophagus must remain intact for far longer than the Egyptian pyramids. This one is more difficult. My Medvedev source says that about 1,000 kg of Plutonium is inside the sarcophagus. The most significant isotope of plutonium is 239Pu, with a half-life of 24,100 years. The Egyptian pyramids are about 4,000 years old. Perhaps the claim is not completely unjustified. I then searched a little further: Plans for the US Yucca storage facility says the geology shall be suitable for storing the waste for a million years (NY Times)[3]. Another NYT article says the EPA will call for the repository to hold the bulk of the radiation for 10,000 years [4]. I have no idea why the two periods differ with two orders of magnitude - but both are significantly longer than the present age of the pyramids.
Summa sumarum - while I cannot qualify Legasov's claims, they pass a crude reality check. And they are definitely not original research. Power.corrupts (talk) 00:47, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Is there anyone else who can back him up on that data? I know he can pass the basic check, but the section comes off a little bit like original research. Maybe I'm looking a little too deep into it. I think it best just to leave the citations up there for a bit to see how it pans out. Brothejr (talk) 00:51, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
"The Chernobyl disaster will, like Vesuvius, be remembered for many thousands of years. The giant sarcophagus which has been built to contain the destroyed reactor core must remain intact for far longer than the Egyptian pyramids."
Is this a quote? As a statement, it's got problems. Predicting what "will" happen is iffy, and anyway the famous eruption of Vesuvius occurred less than 2 thousand years ago. And whatever the sarcophagus "must" do, as I understand it, its lifespan is more appropriately measured in decades than millennia.
Also, with books by two different Medvedevs in the "Further Reading", maybe the references should specify the author (presumably 'Medvedev, Z.'). —WWoods (talk) 16:23, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
The section from the book reads:

(p19)One Soviet expert did begin to write a book about Chernobyl in 1987. Academician Valery Legasov had every opportunity to prepare an accurate account. As head of the scientific team in the government commission sent to Chernobyl on z6 April 1986, he was given the task of presenting the Soviet report to the IAEA post-accident meeting in Vienna. Since he was First Deputy Director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, where RBMK reactors were invented, designed and developed, he was clearly the most qualified man in the world to compile the documentary record of the causes and consequences of the accident. He began to dictate his memoirs about Chernobyl at the end of 1987, but only a small section (in the form of a personal introduction) has been published so far. [ref20] It does not add much to what is already known. For reasons that are not yet clear, Legasov committed suicide on 27 April 1988, a day after the second anniversary of the Chernobyl accident.
In the brief published section of his account, Legasov compared the (p20) historical significance of Chernobyl to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which buried Pompei in AD 79. The comparison is justified. The hot ashes from Vesuvius completely covered Pompei; the hot debris of the Chernobyl reactor covered an area more than 5,000 km2 with nearly 20 million curies of radionuclides, making human life impossible. Well beyond that area 30 million curies of debris, aerosol and gaseous radionuclides were dispersed, creating spots of serious radioactive contamination in Sweden, Germany, Northern Italy, Poland, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece and many other countries. Like Vesuvius, the eruption of the Chernobyl radioactive volcano will be remembered for many thousands of years. The giant sarcophagus which surrounds the destroyed reactor core containing nearly i,ooo kg of plutonium must remain intact for far longer even than the Egyptian pyramids. When the current structure begins to decay it will have to be rebuilt many times (unless future robots are sophisticated enough to be placed inside to fragment and pack debris for burial elsewhere).

the [ref20] is >Legasov, V. (20 May 1988), "Moi dolg rasskazat' ob etom", Pravda, 20 May 1988.  )
I could be uncertain of how much is Legasov, and how much is Medvedev Z. - but it is definitely a quote in a published source, be it in Pravda or in WW Norton. It is NOT original research.
I see it as an attempt to provide a historical perspective to this disaster. He gives perspective to the two facts mentioned elsewhere in the article, 1) that substantial areas are contaminated to an extent that make them unsuitable for human settlement, 2) that nuclear waste is a headache to store, think of the US Yucca storage facility, in particular when it is such a &%#! mess in a collapsed building as is the case in Chernobyl.
- Wwoods, my responses to your comments:
  1. in my opinion it is not iffy, it relates to facts, we are talking about long-lived highly radioactive waste that needs to be controlled in some way
  2. the Vesuvio perspective concerns the volcano perspective; Vesuvio is famous and scarry because we can see petrified humans attemptting in vain to escape from the hot ashes and lava; and becasue the event was recorded by Cicero (believe it was Cicero?) - this is an emotional thing. It has nothing to do with time, therefore it is irrelevant if it happened 2,000 or 3,000 years ago.
  3. the pyramid perspective concerns time, the perishable nature of human constructions. The pyramids are the oldest (relatively) intact contructions man has made, the other six wonders have long gone. Unfortunately, you are right: the lifetime of the sarcophagus is more appropriately measured in decades, a new one is already now being planned. That is, precisely, the problem that Legasov wants to highlight with this pyramid perspective.
  4. the Medvedev Z is needed, yes
Could I ask -Brothejr and -Wwoods to spell out, as precisely as you can, why you dislike the Legasov perspective. Perhaps then some other Wikipedians can contribute with their views as well. If the consensus is that the small section must go, so be it. The main contribution of the section to the article is not facts, but perspective - and I value that as much as facts. Unless somebody specifically ask me for my opinion I wont comment further on this issue. Power.corrupts (talk) 19:27, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

My main thing is that the section comes off as guesses or predictions. While the author may say that in the book, and others may echo it in other books and articles, it is still dealing with something in the future, and who knows what really will happen in the future. I'd prefer to stick to the facts that can be backed up. My personal opinion would be to remove the section. While it is a cool section and does give some ideas of what might happen in the future, I see it as little too speculative to be fact even if it was backed up in the book. Brothejr (talk) 20:23, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Ooh, :-) cant help a last comment: Look at Yucca Mountain - is it speculation or fact? Power.corrupts (talk) 21:33, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
If it's a quote, I don't have a problem with it; I just want it marked as such, so it doesn't look as though it's the voice of Wikipedia. ("Wikipedia is not a crystal ball", etc.):
—WWoods (talk) 21:07, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with WWOODS, if it was done as a quote then that would be better, because it would be attributed to someone else. I also agree that theYucca Mountain looks a little too speculative and should also be rewritten a little bit. As I mentioned above, I'm not against the section. However, as it is written now, it seems a little too WP:OR. If it was rewritten just a little bit to make it a quote attributed to the book, then that would better to understand and less Original Research. Brothejr (talk) 21:46, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
It still looks like crystal ball. This article is too long as it is, it got borderline trivia all over the place, and surrogating a quote for crystal ball does not help. The actual research that is going on with chernobyl gives two conflicting stories, only after 20 years, one cannot extrapoloate 2000 years into the future. I have talked to at least 3 youngsters here just out of college, not a one of them knows of Chernobyl most people are aware of Pompei. Point of advice on the article as a whole, when it looks like a lot of nutso contributions - people will turn off. When it is too long and too biased people who are already familiar with it will read it, may not understand it and everyone else will jump to another site. My opinion is this article propogates radioparanoia unjustly, how many people have died from accidents involving chemical industry (fossil fuel refining). Those wild horses, of course, don't seem to mind that people are irrationally paranoid about what happened at chernobyl. Wiki has a preferential size about 32kbytes in size, 60 or 70 is about maximal for a good article. This article is 94 kbytes in size, so the core argument needs to be what can be shrunk, if not split-off and tangential information needs to be bitbucketed.PB666 yap 21:34, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

The historical significance of the disaster in the shorter-term is that failed government efforts to cover-up the story of what happened, as well as economic effects of the disaster, contributed directly to the collapse of the Soviet Union about five years later. This is obvious to most editors, but may not be obvious to most readers, so I've added a sentence about it to this section. --arkuat (talk) 03:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Sadly, it is not obvious to most people. The sentence comes off as Original Research, is there any ref's that can back up the statement? If not, then it's got to go. Brothejr (talk) 10:07, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

A few comments on the very long comments already placed.

  • Sarcophagus - If the radiation is such a detriment to life in the region, then chances are once the radioactivity in the body cools substantial, robotic devices can be made to clean it up, and therefore we cannot predict that in 100 or 1000 years this is going to be a problem.
  • Again this is from a major science magazine. The fact of the matter, people do live within the 30 km exclusion zones, and animals are multiplying and unceding the territories occupied by humans.[1]
  1. ^ Williams D, Baverstock K (2006). "Chernobyl and the future: too soon for a final diagnosis". Nature. 440 (7087): 993–4. PMID 16625177. doi:10.1038/440993a.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  • There are regions in the world, like Northern Iran, where background radiation are a magnitude higher than elsewhere, and yet the rate of cancer is not higher (i can get the reference if you like). There is an adaptive response to excess DNA damage that involves increasing the DNA damage and repair.
  • comparing apples and oranges. At the time of the Romans the life expectancy was lower and more people died in infancy from largely unknown causes. Vesuvius immediately killed 1000s of people, poof - dead. In modern times there is a high expectation for longevity. Wild animals that live in the wildlife preserve have no such expectancy evolution dictates survive and reproduce, once accomplished there is success. There is a risk-reward in evolution. The reward of greater windfalls of available food, housing or opportunities for reproduction out-weigh the risk associated with lower reproductive fitness as a result of off-spring loss. And, in addition, each of the members is in the same state. The study on mice revealed that mice could transit in an out of the most dangerous areas on a seasonal basis and remain viable, but if permanently kept in these areas they degenerated. This indicates that wild animals have the capability of assessing and averting risk.
  • As one of the people living in the exclusion zone remarked, and something the animal studies clearly point out - the greatest risk is people - human behavior - that, if you read the page- caused the accident. A man with a gun is much more of risk to a wolf than radioactivity that will eventually kill it (if it does not die of other causes first).
  • The unseen reward of chernobyl is that in changing climate, animals living in the preserve will undergo more rapid adaptation, particularly in the context of changes human have created and it may be a place of rapid evolution of wild animals for the global context of extreme human domination of biomes.
  • I predict that, in the next few years with tightening food supplies, people will look at the chernobyl ecosystem, and make the decision that for farming the reward outweighs the risk, they may not house their families there, but they might hunt and farm in the region as food supplies become far less than demand. Risk is relative.

-PB666 yap 22:14, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Image size and caption edits by MickMacNee

MickMacNee, I'm afraid I consider your edit somewhat disruptive. You resize pictures and delete passages of text that I (and others) have written quite carefully. And your only arguments are, and I consider them weak, rigid references to Wikipedia:Manual of Style.

  • Filesizes are comprised in Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Images It says that "Image size is a matter of preference". For the majority of pictures I have used the default size, i.e. I have not specified the size of a thumbnail image. But for a few ones, for which I felt there was a good reason, I enlarged. You repeatedly reduce all image sizes to default, I consider this unnecessarily rigoristic - The MOS is a guideline, not law.
  • You have deleted caption text, sole argument: "reduce image captions per MOS" - again a very rigoristic approach. Take a look at Wikipedia:Captions#Some criteria for a good caption. It says

There are several criteria for a good caption. A good caption

  1. clearly identifies the subject of the picture, without detailing the obvious.
  2. is succinct.
  3. establishes the picture's relevance to the article.
  4. provides context for the picture.
  5. draws the reader into the article.

Another way of approaching the job: imagine you're giving a lecture based on the encyclopaedia article, and you are using the image to illustrate the lecture. What would you say while attention is on the image? What do you want your audience to notice in the image, and why?

My captions reflect this approach. Deleting text "per MOS" is not constructive, nor particularly nice.

I have reverted your edits. Edit warring over optional styles is unacceptable (and stupid). Discuss the issues here first. Anyway, I will have to leave Wiki for some time due to other committments.
Power.corrupts (talk) 12:15, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

  1. It is established practise to not specify the size of all but the lead image. People read the wiki on different screen resolutions, it is not up to you to decide if an image is not going to affect the way the article looks to them. The thumnail feature exists for a very good reason.
  2. The images next to the TOC should not even be there, but placed in their appropriate sections, some people choose to view articles with the TOC collapsed, your argument that 'there is space' is clearly misguided in that case. On my screen size their large width compacted some the table of contents to undesirable wrapped 2 line entries
  3. The caption guideline is quite clear. Your overlong captions are not appropriate and should be in the text, and the image should be placed next to the appropriate section. Some people view an article with viewing images disabled, captions are not there to replace text.
  4. Your view that an image caption should be appropriate for a powerpoint presentation is odd to say the least. You should be writing with consideration of the article as a whole.
  5. Editing in line with the MOS is not disruptive. Taking offense at having 'your' captions edited is an indication of article ownership issues.

I am reverting again, if youi still disagree with the above comments, I suggest you request a third opinion. MickMacNee (talk) 13:23, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Chaps... please allow a third opinion to be offered by somebody who constantly sees this page appear in his watch-list.
The settings applied by Power.corrupts make the article look attractive on my screen, as I imagine they do on his or hers. So, good work if you were desktop-publishing a printed encyclopaedia, and thanks for putting in the effort. Also, you are right that guidelines are not the same as rules.
However, MickMacNee clearly highlights the reasons why, in this case, the guidelines do matter. I am entirely in agreement with his points here. Many people view Wikipedia on low- or mobile-technology viewers. We cannot predict the display capabilities or accessibility needs of our desired readership. The more we specify layout for looks, rather than information hierarchy, the more likely it is that our information becomes inaccessible.
As for the images, please don't forget that the user is just one click away from seeing them at full size. Given that, there really is no justification for having a thumbnail any bigger than absolutely necessary to identify the content, except perhaps in the case of graphs and charts. – Kieran T (talk) 13:32, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Also concur with Mick, Kieran. The changes Mick made improve the article, they weren't "disruptive" and have no evidence of bad faith. While Mick quoted the MOS as his reason, that isn't to suggest that there is no good reason other than what is written in those guidelines. When I first read and watchlisted this article a few weeks ago, I thought some of the pictures were too large and the captions were wordy and excessive. Pictures should supplement the text, in the correct places, readers looking to them as they go through the prose. Gwynand | TalkContribs 13:42, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Commenting on MickMacNee: "Your view that an image caption should be appropriate for a powerpoint presentation is odd to say the least". My view? Odd? I quoted directly from Wikipedia:Captions#Some criteria for a good caption - linked from MOS. That is precisely why I consider your MOS argument weak and mostly a matter of personal taste. I wouldnt mind hearing other peoples opinion on this. Power.corrupts (talk) 20:29, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, there's two other opinions above. I did mistake your quote about presentation as your personal opinion, but on reading it, I personaly don't see what point that part is actualy trying to make. It certainly doesn't mean you need an explanatory mini-essay in the caption as if you were presenting the subject without the article. When the caption is longer than the height of the image, you've gone too far. And when you're talking about something not illustrated by the picture (e.g. in the turbine rotor image explaining the safety protocol about maintaing momentum), you've definitely gone too far. MickMacNee (talk) 21:25, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
What I'm saying is that you have far less support in WP:MOS than you pretend (or think) you have. The MOS on image size clearly says: "Image size is a matter of preference". Your arguments that you screen tumbles etc are fine, point taken, but it's not a carte blanche to scale all pics to default. Regarding captions, the MOS is extraordinarily flexible. Inter alia, it says that some people are visual (I am, for instance) and are tempted into reading more, if pictures and captions are appealing. Layouters have knowns this for long. My main objection is that you advance personal opinion and taste, and veil it in a "as per WP:MOS" air of (what I consider, unfounded) authority.
Also, take care not first to reduce image size, and then be annoyed, if the relative size of the caption is suddenly "too big" in your opinion. But let's see what other people think about this debate. After all, this is the strength of Wiki. Power.corrupts (talk) 22:10, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
For reference, this is the state of the article before I touched it [5] showing the length/content of the captions. I stand by my changes, and await even more opinions if they are really needed. As a final point, in my opinion, the above original state is not so much a case of being 'drawn into the article', as spending more time reading the captions than the article text. Take the fireman as a prime example, he has a whole article to himself on the wiki, yet his life history is crammed into his image caption, making it longer than the picture itself. MickMacNee (talk) 22:54, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

(resetting indent) There are now three people saying that in this case there are no strong arguments for making the images big or the captions long. Leave aside the parts of the MoS which are open to interpretation, and that remains true. Yet strong arguments have been put forward for the opposite case: respecting the user's preference for thumbnails, and putting detailed text in the body of the article where it has context. (Images can jump around.) As for the point about making a presentation — the text is provided, in the prose. Why repeat it in the caption? And it should certainly not be in the caption alone, for the accessibility reasons known to all good web designers. (To spell that out: text readers for the visually impaired do not know when to read an image caption. They know when to read each main paragraph: in their logical order.) – Kieran T (talk) 22:32, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

helicopter crash

The article seems to imply the helicopter fell into the reactor. Is that accurate? I thought it fell on the ground near the reactor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:16, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

The website shows the helicopter crash site to be a considerable distance away from the reactor. However, the video recording of the crash clearly shows the helicopter dispensing its' payload in the seconds immediately prior to the crash, as if the pilot thought he was directly over his target (which presumably was the reactor core). So, where exactly did the helicopter crash??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


The article says the time was 1:23:45, which I seriously doubt. Should that change? ~~ Frvwfr2 (talk) 16:52, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Nevermind, it seems correct based on the rest of the article. ~~ Frvwfr2 (talk) 17:19, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Factual Accuracy

A small query: The article reads that the lid of the RMBK reactor was weighted at 2,000 tonnes. However, in other places I've read reports that the weight was 1,000 tonnes: here and here and here, and in fact: at Google, although you will notice from that particular link that the number of sites with 2,000 ton (or tonne) readings is more or less the same as the number with 1,000 tonne readings. Is this to do with Metric / Imperial measurement conversions, and should this be made clear on the page? ~~ EcthelionGenesis 13:17, 19 August 2008 (GMT)

As 1 short ton = 0.907 tonnes, I don't think this is a conversion error. Maybe it's something to do with what you count as the "lid". If there is a RS for both amounts, we could put that various estimates are given, from A to B, with both references. Verbal chat 12:25, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
This page (Link is to page translated into English from Czech) appears to cite the weight of the lid as 1,000 tonnes (although I am not fluent in Czech, so I can't properly refer to the original). From the page: "Reaktor byl přetlakován tak, že pára odsunula horní betonovou desku reaktoru o váze 1000 tun." ~~ EcthelionGenesis 15:36, 21 September 2008 (GMT)

How Much Fallout?

The second paragraph ends, "Nearly thirty to forty times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." It then cites a National Geographic article the second paragraph of which begins, "The fallout, 400 times more radioactivity than was released at Hiroshima...." I'm going to edit the sentence to match the article it cites. John Bergan (talk) 02:57, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Whoa. Maybe one figure refers to the mass of the fallout, and the other to the radioactivity of the fallout?
—WWoods (talk) 05:40, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
There's a BBC report that cites the fallout as 500 times the fallout of Hiroshima... It's one of the ones on this page, although I don't know which. They're all quite interesting though. (Thought I'd add my two cents!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by EcthelionGenesis (talkcontribs) 14:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

It blew the 2,000 ton off

"It blew the 2,000 ton off of the reactor", 2,000 ton what? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

"Lid". I've corrected the article. Thank you. - Tcncv (talk) 13:16, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


This message was left on my talk page:

‎The photo you put on the cherynobl Disaster page is not the control room for reactor number 4. It is actually a scaled down Image of the control room of reactor Number 3 from The August 1994 edition of National Geographic dedicated to Soviet pollution and the effects of Cherynobl. Here are some examples that the photograph is not reactor number 4 and it is post soviet. If you look at the top background you will see that one of the lights in the ceiling is burnt out and it is flurecent. The thing is that reactor 4 was a very new reactor when it went online and it would be very unlikley that it would burn out after several months. Another example is that in the background, you can see a 90's era computer resting on a desk. Not only were computers like that nonexistant in the Soviet Union (if not the world) but also that it would be very unlikley that the Soviets would use a external software system in order to control a fairly new computer. If you look at pictures of the ruined control room and this one, you will notice that the button paterns do not match and is smaller than the control room of number four. So if you could, please delete this image in order to avoid confusion. There are no known photos of The reactor 4 control room just like there is no video of the origional Explosion. This is not my real account but when I typed this talk I was not logged in at the time.-Regards RezaShah4 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:23, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
As I stated on the image's upload page, "This image is supposedly the control room of the Chernobyl nuclear plant". I also stated that that the Czech source appeared to be in good faith. You say that the image in reality is of reactor 3, and not the ill-fated reactor 4. I really cant tell. I know however, that block four came into commercial operation March 1984, the ceiling lights must have been installed at least a year before, and the accident took place after approx two years of operation (not months), I dont know the average life of Soviet fluorescent lamps, perhaps it far exceeds three years. The personal computer first appeared in 1981 and it may not be entirely unreasonable that one should have found way into the control room in 1986. I simply dont know. I can see you have removed the image from the article. I marked the image as non-free possibly copyrighted image, and as such, a bot will automatically delete it after 7 days, if not used in any article. Power.corrupts (talk) 14:05, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I guess the proofs that the picture of the room could be unreliable, but the one thing that makes it 100% sure that the photo is the control room of reactor number 3 is that it was origionally from The August 1994 edition of National Geographic dedicated to Soviet pollution and the effects of Cherynobl. The Photo was taken by Gerd Ludwig and was used as an example that the reactor was kept in operation so it could be exploited for energy, despite being the flawed RBMK type reactor, since the Ukaranian economy was in ruins at the time the article was written. The Picture origionally took up two pages and the other half would have shown how dilapated the control room was better than the picture provided there. I also put this on the Cherynobl disscusion page, just to let you know. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Even if the photo is of the neighboring control room, I think it is still interesting enough to be included. Of course that caption should be changed based on .145's information. Before, it wasn't even clear if the photo was from Chernobyl. -- Tcncv (talk) 03:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
National Geographic ran a story on Chernobyl, "Chornobyl" in Aug94, Vol. 186 Issue 2, p100, 16p, 1 map, 10 color - I have no online access and have little time to investigate further. However, the image's existing fair-use rationale rests on the presumption that it is of Block 4 - perhaps a weak case could be argued if it were a historical image of Block 3 with similarities to the now gone block 4. Block 3 still exists, hence it is senseless to argue, that it is impossible to obtain a non-free replacement. If it really is a 1996 image of block 3 it is a copyvio and should go. Power.corrupts (talk) 21:41, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I yield on the copyright issue. I'm not familiar with all the fair use policies and legalities involved. -- Tcncv (talk) 00:08, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

really the worst nuclear power plant accident in history?

Chernobyl disaster is introduced as the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. Now in the German WP it says in the article "Katastrophe von Tschernobyl" (associated by language link to this one here): Sie [pronown targetting the Ch. disaster] gilt – nach dem Unfall in der Kerntechnischen Anlage Majak 1957 – als die zweitschwerste nukleare Havarie und als eine der schlimmsten Umweltkatastrophen aller Zeiten. This means that the Majak (engl. Mayak) disaster of 1957 was worse than Chernobyl - but it was unknown for decades in the West because (due to more local radioactive effects) USSR was able to keep this secret until its fall. See Mayak, section "Serious accident in 1957" for more info (I only read in detail the German articles). Different evaluation between both wikipedias or what? —Preceding unsigned comment added by UKe-CH (talkcontribs) 11:51, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

It depends the criteria people use to define "worst". If they use death toll their really is no definite answer because people who most likely died from cancer from exposure will never be known. Though it is very likely that the Mayak disaster was worse initially the exposure to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster almost most certainly passed the Mayak accident. So it just depends how they interpret things. --Kuzwa (talk) 00:08, 14 November 2008 (UTC)


This edit comes from here, which is released with a "no commercial use" license. Reverted. --Old Moonraker (talk) 14:10, 20 November 2008 (UTC)