Today is the anniversary of the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant in the Ukraine, what was then part of the Soviet Union. The Chernobyl disaster continues to this day with forest fires raging near to the plant through contaminated forests, resuspending radiation. It is thought that the understory of the forests around Chernobyl are not decaying properly. It stands to reason that the dry and undecayed understory would make the area a tinderbox as well as denying the natural cycle of enrichment to the forest soil and ecosystem.
Incredibly, apart from the widely watched and pretty accurate mini series there has been no blanket coverage of the ongoing disaster. There has been largely ‘feel good’ newstories of disaster tourism to the site and the superficial ‘its a wildlife sanctuary’ narrative which belies the shortened lifespans and damaged DNA of both humans and their fellow creatures.
The nuclear industry insists that it is a “clean, green” energy and is even gleefully calling itself “Green Energy” . Today, on the anniversary of Chernobyl the independent news outlet The Ferret tells us what we have known for some time – namely that Westminster wants to “Let Them Burn Plutonium.”
“The UK government is trying to resurrect plutonium-powered reactors despite abandoning a multi-billion bid to make them work in Scotland.
Documents released by the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) under freedom of information law reveal that fast reactors, which can burn and breed plutonium, are among “advanced nuclear technologies” being backed by UK ministers.
Two experimental fast reactors were built and tested at a cost of £4 billion over four decades at Dounreay in Caithness. But the programme was closed in 1994 as uneconomic after a series of accidents and leaks.”
Meanwhile Chernobyl continues to burn….
MORE ON THE FIRES NEAR CHERNOBYL …
International Association for Protection against Ionizing Rays. The purpose of AIPRI is the scientific dissemination in the field of nuclear physics and the radiological dangers of internal contamination.Wednesday April 22, 2020
The containment of populations came at the right time this year. From April 5 to 19, Chernobyl indeed started before the date of the festivities for the happy anniversary of its rapid over-critical explosion by propagating numerous fires of meadows and forests along the trajectory of the densest trail of plutonium in its prohibited radiological reserve.Several tens of thousands of hectares blazed here and there like straw to the doors of the power plant. The now sated surface fires certainly still smolder in this peat soil densely sprinkled with radioactive particles pyrophores of uranium and transuranians always ready for ignition.The 3 million inhabitants of Kiev literally suffocated under the thick fumes which obscured the sky of the capital and saturated the air with fine dust. City dwellers have again contaminated themselves there, as have villagers living around the exclusion zone.A heavy health balance, which short-lived incompetentpeople are already trying to deny, is unfortunately to be expected in the coming decades. If the prevailing West-East winds which blew during the same period seemingly spared Western Europe from the bulk of the radioactive wave, it nevertheless undergoes the delayed plutonigenic contamination conveyed by the cloud circumnavigation around the northern hemisphere. Let’s not doubt for a moment that scientific articles written by deferred radiation protection experts will be announced in a year when it is too late.We are perhaps here in the presence of the most serious radiotoxic excursion ever since the 1986 disaster. This is in any case what suggests the confrontation of the map of local plutonium deposits with that of recent fires. Because this time the fires progressed in the most densely contaminated plutonium part of the prohibited area. Precisely where there is up to 1000 KBq / m2 of plutonium. On their own, the plutonogenic excursion calculations that follow do not give cause for concern even if they neglect the concomitant effluence of other radiotoxics such as cesium, strontium and americium, even if they do not take into account as the hearth that developed in front of the power plant and which is shown here by the ESA photograph. (To complete the work, there would have to be a radiation protection and rapid civil warning instrument which unfortunately does not seem to exist. There would have to be a sort of electronic “google maps” of the depots of the prohibited area on which to easily locate and measure all the areas burned whenever necessary.)As a precaution, we have admitted here, on the one hand, that plutonium 238 participates in the activity mentioned while the deposit maps only explicitly indicate the isotopes 239 and 240 and, on the other hand, we have considered total activity average of these 3 radioelements of 700 thousand Bq / m2 in the area studied in the first scenario and “only” 100 thousand Bq / m2 in the second scenario.Scenario 1
The combustion of 6,500 hectares on a territory marked with plutonium at 7 GBq / ha (700 KBq / m2, 189.19 mCi / ha) for a total surface inventory of 45.5 TBq (1.23 KCi) comprising 7.7 TBq of Pu238 -12.10 gr-, 14.94 TBq of Pu239 -6.59 kg- and 22.86 TBq of Pu240 -2.72 kg-, carries a radiotoxic effluence between 1% and 10% of this radioactive deposit , or from 455 GBq (12.3 Ci for 93.2 gr in total of the 3 radioelements) to 4.55 TBq (122.97 Ci for 931.97 gr in total of the 3 radioelements).
The internal dose equivalent by inhalation consubstantial with this radioactivity suspended by fires ranges, according to ICRP official dose factors, from 53.8 million Sievert in the first case to 538.3 million Sievert in the second case. In other words, this possible effluence carries a toxic potential ranging from 10.8 million to 107.7 million acute lethal doses.The combustion of 6,500 hectares on a territory marked with plutonium at 1 GBq / ha (100 KBq / m2, 27.03 mCi / ha) for a total surface inventory of 6.5 TBq (175.68 Ci) including 1.1 TBq of Pu238 -1.73 gr-, 2.13 TBq of Pu239 -941.03 gr- and 3.27 TBq of Pu240 -388.63 gr-, causes a radiotoxic effluence located between 1% and 10% of this radioactive deposit , or from 65 GBq (1.76 Ci for 13.31 gr in total of these radioelements) to 650 GBq (17.57 Ci for 133.14 gr in total of these radioelements).
The internal dose equivalent by inhalation consubstantial with this radioactivity suspended by fires ranges, according to official dose factors of the ICRP, from 7.7 million Sievert in the first case to 76.9 million Sievert in the second case. In other words, this effluence carries a toxic potential ranging from 1.5 million to 15.4 million acute lethal doses.
Addendum: 1,000 hectares for 10,000 Bq / m2The combustion of 1000 hectares on a territory marked with plutonium at 100 MBq / ha (10 KBq / m2, 2.7 mCi / ha) for a total surface inventory of 100 GBq (2.7 Ci) comprising 16.92 GBq of Pu238 -26.58 milligr-, 32.84 GBq of Pu239 -14.48 gr- and 50.24 GBq of Pu240 -5.98 gr-, causes a radiotoxic effluence located between 1% and 10% of this radioactive deposit, i.e. from 1 GBq (27.03 mCi for 204.83 milligr in total of these radioelements) to 10 GBq (270.27 mCi for 2.05 gr in total of these radioelements).
The internal dose equivalent by inhalation consubstantial with this radioactivity suspended by fires ranges, according to official dose factors of the ICRP, from 118.31 thousand Sievert in the first case to 1.2 million Sievert in the second case. In other words, this effluence carries a toxic potential ranging from 23.66 thousand to 236.62 thousand acute lethal doses.NB. Pu238: 17.21 Ci / gr and 1.10E-4 Sv / Bq, Pu239: 0.0613 Ci / gr and 1.20E-4 Sv / Bq, Pu240: 0.227 Ci / gr and 1.20E-4 Sv / Bq.
Post Scriptum. In atomic logic in view of the isotopic composition of the reactor fuel, 6 tonnes of which went away with the explosion, 34 years after the excursion, there should also be 44 times more Cs137 / m2 there than Pu239- 240 / m2. To the excursion of plutonium it will therefore be necessary to join the cesium without forgetting neither the strontium, nor the americium, nor the thousands of other calcined hectares neglected here.Bibliographic note linked in the text. (Fire in the exclusion zone of 10,800 ha in 2015.)
“It has been reported that a minimum of at least 20% of labile radionuclides will be redistributed in the atmosphere after a fire, no matter whether they are deposited in the soil or biomass / vegetation. More specifically, the emission factors of labile radionuclides range from 20% in soil up to 70–100% in vegetation for intensive wildfires.
As for the refractory radionuclides, to our knowledge, no measurements of emission factors for biomass burning exist. However, we expect that the emission factor will be lower and at least half (10%) of the value used for the labile radionuclides. ”
Resuspension and atmospheric transport of radionuclides due to wildfires near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 2015: An impact assessment. N. Evangeliou, S. Zibtsev, V. Myroniuk, M. Zhurba, T. Hamburger, A. Stohl, Y. Balkanski, R. Paugam, T. A. Mousseau, A. P. Møller & S. I. Kireev, Scientific Reports, 6, 2016.