lunes, 30 de diciembre de 2013

“Chernobyl-Leaks”, errors’ leaking goes on and on

Bad cooks cover their mistakes with sauces. Bad doctors, with soil; and bad nuclear managers with lead and reinforced concrete. This is how the Chernobyl’s fiasco was hushed covering reactor number 4 with what we know as sarcophagus, as if it was a burial.

Macro-graveyard of vehicles used for the liquidation of Chernobyl

The material mass of the sarcophagus is not time-proof. Neither has succeeded to bury the social alarm and scandal nor radiation leaking, which is even worse.
Twenty seven years after the accident we notice what we could call as “Chernobyl-Leaks” (with leaky-release of radioactivity included), which will perpetuate the consequences of an errors’ chain for millennia, also revealing the scarce control of current technology over the atomic energy. Currently our handling of nuclear energy would be similar to that performed by a Neanderthal with a butane stove.
The Chernobyl’s dripping of errors can be seen on many fronts: the precariousness of the sarcophagus, the ruins of Prypiat, the city of the plant workers, and the opencast graveyard for the many types of vehicles used to achieve the liquidation.

The sarcophagus needs retirement
Built in despaired emergency, the sarcophagus was not an effective ‘grave-cloth’ even just finished, with an area not enough tight against radioactive emission of the reactor. Into the bowels of that lethal magma would still remain more than 95% of the nuclear fuel, since the accident was not a nuclear explosion but a steam one, which would have released only 5% of the fuel. Therefore, the ‘bomb’ is still alive. What’s more, in February 2013, the snow weight caused part of the roof structure to fall on the turbines section. Currently, work is done to build a second sarcophagus: 20.000 tons of steel that ought to shroud the error for, at least, other century.

Prypiat , the “city of the future”
Planned and executed in the 70s as the ‘city of the future’ by the authorities, Prypiat was an exemplary and pretty town. Today it is a monument to human stupidity stopped in a time capsule (with the symbolism of the former Soviet Union still exposed in its avenues).
Many stories are circulating about this damned city, which, logically, it’s been again colonized by the wild nature, among which a local fauna appears with evidences of genetic mutations and carrying stratospheric levels of radioactivity.
Although visited by curious people (Geiger counter in hand), radiation levels make it unviable as human settlement over the next millennia.
The paradoxes of history have wanted Prypiat to become –as its founders one day wished- the city of the future, just the prototype of what might be a city after the nuclear apocalypse.

Opencast nuclear graveyard
Last but not least, about 15 km from the zone 0 builds up what is perhaps the largest mass of radioactive scrap metal, consisting of thousands of vehicles that were used in the liquidation, spread over an area of more than 1 km in length. Twenty-seven years after the accident, this nuclear graveyard still emits over 30 roetgens radiation per hour, about a third of the radiation considered deadly.
Some helicopters -highly contaminated- were buried, but the rest of the material is corroding abandoned to the elements, it is scrapped by unconscious or feeds the speculation of unscrupulous people that sought to seize a giant helicopter to turn it into a fashionable cafe.
Chernobyl errors are still leaking, deriving into a ‘Chernobyl-Leaks’ which will last for centuries. The multiple liquidations performed have only done patching. However, what has been liquidated is the confidence of society in certain energies, their managers and the politicians, who use to hush their huge mistakes with patches no tight or credible at all.