May 22, 2007

A photo essay showing the aftermath of the Chernobyl Incident. [Flash VIA Slate] Here are disturbing and hopeful pictures of Belorussian children in asylums, orphanages and hospitals. Here catatonia, terror, cancer and deformity coalesce in playground laughter. Here are their distraught, melancholic and grief-wracked parents and the nurses that care for them. While the narrative borders on that sort of armchair ego-pith that normally brings out the misanthropist in me, the naked humanity presented overpowered the man behind the camera and brought tears to my eyes. WARNING: Many of these pictures show deformed children.
  • Heartbreaking. Why journalism still matters despite the media circus. It's so easy to forget the aftermath when the headline's long past.
  • Good post, IC. A little too soon for me to be revisiting the cancer ward, but still -- good post.
  • *Tears and anger.* So much love and caring showing in such an impoverished institution; yet I suspect we will never know the worst victims or the complete truth. /on the crude and ignorant side, here in the Western Hemisphere, we often wisecracked "I blame it on Chernobyl" for minor daily upsets after it happened. mea culpa
  • I recall science teachers back in the 60s discussing things like melt-downs, suggesting ominously that some day, some where, it was bound to happen; over the family dinner table I'd relay this to my parents, who'd laugh it off (even though my father was personally present at Operation Crossroads and new full well what forces were being toyed with). Seeing these images brings all the nightmares of back then right into the present, and then some, because although we might have imagined the horror, we could never have imagined the sorrow and pain--the real human cost. Will man ever overcome his own self-destructive tendencies? Are we all just a tiny tick of the cosmic clock away from one huge societal Darwin Award? Indeed, time will tell.
  • Thirty years of heartbreak? pfffft! They better settle down, since they've got a couple hundred more to go. Will all the proponents crying that nuclear power will solve our energy problems please step up to the mike and explain to me why it's such a good idea to build more reactors and not decommission the rest. Oh, yeah, this is the USA. We could NEVER have a problem with mechanical failure or human error. Absolutely not! After all, this is the EUNITDSTATS! Signed, 150 miles from not-such-a-great-cleanup-site*** INEL 32 miles from the former Envirosafe, currently renamed American Ecology, (air quotes) a dump site with a shitty storage record that sits less than 5 miles from the Snake River aquifer on porous lava rock and highly absorbent sand and sediment. One state up from the Nevada test site fallout--no problem THERE. /sarcasm *and* Downwind from Hanford fallout--Voted Winner of the the Nation's Most Contaminated Nuclear Site contest. still under investigation/litigation. /anger *** The [Idaho] state's nuclear activists want it all dug up and stored safely on site. The state wants it dug up and removed from the state. The fact that no one wants to get close to the highly radioactive waste is a huge stumbling block. I notice all the pro-nuclear power people get all NIMBY when it comes to waste products--that's why Idaho and the Western states are their dumping grounds. Well, I don't like it in MY back yard either. And it shouldn't be in anyone's yard. Don't build. Decommission. I especially grieve for the people of Chernobyl, but also for those not-so-obvious children here at home with birth defects, and for the those dying of cancer, because our government won't admit the problems with nuclear fallout in the USA.
  • *loads up truck with lead-lined sheetrock and nail gun, checks GPS for BlueHorse's address*
  • Jumping Snake River was a lot harder than I'd realized...
  • Aside from the fact that Nevada and Hanford are nuclear weapons related, and have little to do with nuclear power, this probably isn't the best place for such a debate.
  • Does radiation make a horse blue? It would me too. I moved away when some hydro lines went up. I'm also suspicious now of radon, wireless and my cell phone.I use it on speaker only.
  • No debate. I'm saying the effects of Chernobyl are horrendous and ongoing. Just as are the effects from nuclear waste in the USA. Nevada and Hanford are nuclear weapons related Hunh? Hanford Nuclear Power Plant, WA Radioactivity, from reactors or bombs, is not good news.
  • You should also fear background radiation then dxlifer, never go outside! Background radiation is ionizing! r88, don't forget Three Mile Islands's partial meltdown, in spite of the nuclear weapons; or the NRX one in Ontario and the Chapelcross one in Scotland. There are a few other meltdown incidents. In only the Chernobyl incident was intentionally circumventing safety protocols the issue leading to the meltdown. In the others, mechanical errors, operator errors and blockages all contributed to the events. GramMa's got a very good point about the NIMBYism with toxic waste. Think about the Yucca Mountain controversy with the Shoshone. What would your reaction be, presuming you were religious, if someone wanted to bury toxic waste in your god/sanctum/spirit?
  • More 20 years after photographs by Robert Knoth.
  • I'm not waving the nuclear flag, but I probably feel the same about coal-fired power plants as BlueHorse feels about nuclear. At least with nuclear, the waste is contained as opposed to spewed into the sky.
  • Fair enough; coal waste does, after all, contain ionizing radiation as well, albeit in a far reduced quantity. I found an interesting article about the comparative risks between hydroelectricity and nuclear fission from a holistic perspective. Unfortunately it's on JSTOR, so if no-one has access here's the abstract. Of course, that article was also written 5 years before the Chernobyl Incident. I'm wondering if the outlook would have been different had the Three Mile Island meltdown been more devastating two years earlier.
  • Grrrrrr, don't get me started about coal emissions and mining, either. Drive through the Southwest. Hey, we've got a pollutant spewing coal fired plant, let's stick it on the Rez! Will someone tell me what's wrong with wind, solar, and wave generated power?????? There's not much pollution production with those three. And don't even get started about how inefficient and costly they are. Hidden costs in coal and nuclear never get factored in. Every home needs at least three solar panels, and every school, Wal-Mart, Home Depot--any commercial building--should cover their roof with panels. Maybe it wouldn't be able to cover all our current power needs, but doing that, cutting back, and adding wind, wave, and water (low head dam) would come damn damn close! And no more Chernobyls.
  • someone tell me what's wrong with wind, solar, and wave generated power?????? Actually, the article I (sort of) linked above goes into some detail about the risks involved per unit power of some cleaner (no power source is clean) alternatives. The pollution actually occurs only at the production phase and there's a whole lot of production, apparently. Especially for large offshore wind turbines (the amount of fuel used by those massive machines which build them and wire them to the grid must be phenomenal). According to this article, the number of deaths from wind turbines per unit power is comparable to those from mining, processing and burning coal (however there is no representation of mortality rates from pollution). Other researchers, noted in the article, claim that wind power has half the mortality rate of coal per unit power. I'd like to agree with them, what with the silent killers in the atmosphere - especially since most of the deaths in wind-power occurred during production and not operation and thus are declining. On the downside: wind farms causes health problems for the neighbors. I'm sure you don't want to hear it GramMa but efficiency is a huge issue in wave-power. (There is no way you can discuss the efficiency of a power source without discussing the life-cycle of the power source, which involves everything involved in the creation of power, from mining to construction to mining to production to disposal.) The physical inefficiency of wave power coupled with salt-water corrosion and consistent storm damage make it a challenge to design a useful wave-power machine. There's also the problem of coastline versus landmass, I'd suspect. I think we should keep an ear to the ground regarding Portugal's recent experimentation with a wave power park. The only problem that unifies all three is location. Solar power would probably suck in Alaska for half the year without surplus production and an efficient storage mechanism. Wave power isn't really feasible for Afghanistan or Luxembourg, for example; even if it could be afforded to purchase from out of country, could the other country spare the TW/hrs? And wind power gets an irregular input of energy depending on where the turbine is. I'm not really sure what hidden costs you are referring to. But don't get me wrong, low impact power alternatives are exactly what the world should be wasting its time on. Unfortunately, commercial nuclear power is fairly low impact in comparison and, despite Chernobyl and the handful of other reactor accidents, quite safe. Certain tragedies just aren't the blame of one single thing, especially in the case of intentional disregard of fail-safes. But, I'm not a big fan of non-renewable resource exploitation. After all, being able to own and control a dwindling resource creates monopolies of greed-power and conflict. Anyways, this is pretty amusing...
  • Well, at least it's just Europe. Whew! For a minute, you had me going, there.