Ukraine marks the 35th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster pic.twitter.com/hy1rqi7rxr
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 26, 2021
All the news seems downbeat today, so like a good Cynic, I have to point out: There have been so many dangerous global inflection points, just in our lifetimes. We survived the Cold War, St. Ronnie’s various bands of merry pranksters, Bushes I & II, and TFG — sometimes by the skin of our teeth. We can get through this, if we stay focused…
(And, yes, I’m sure Cheryl or Adam will have more informed opinions here!)
35 years ago right now (1:23:45am local time, April 26), the badly-designed Chernobyl Unit 4 nuclear reactor in Pripyat, Ukraine, exploded and partially melted down during an unapproved, poorly-conceived safety experiment, releasing at least 378,000,000 curies of radionuclides. pic.twitter.com/OFvB2yeEyI
— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) April 25, 2021
Two days later, personnel at Sweden's Forsmark nuclear power plant detected a dangerous spike in radioactivity, tracing it back to the soles of a safety engineer's shoes. That night, state TV in Moscow finally issued an announcement about the accident but provided no details.
— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) April 25, 2021
Chernobyl nuclear disaster: ‘Three-day evacuation lasted 35 years’ https://t.co/iCShg24YPO
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 26, 2021
Air Chornobyl? Ukraine International Airlines offers tourists the chance to fly over the world’s most notorious nuclear disaster zonehttps://t.co/Q1yTHLFmgS
— Business Ukraine mag (@Biz_Ukraine_Mag) April 24, 2021
I cannot imagine sight-seeing the Chernobyl site, but maybe that’s a failing on my part. Per the Washington Post‘s travel section:
… This week, Ukraine International Airlines adds to the pandemic-era trend with an apocalyptic twist: a sold-out flight over the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster timed to the 35th anniversary.
“Passengers of the flight will be able not only to see Kyiv and Chernobyl from the most unusual angles and the minimum allowable height — 900 meters, but also to deepen their knowledge about the causes and consequences of the Chernobyl accident,” the airline says on its website…
Before the pandemic, tourism to the abandoned nuclear power plant and neighboring ghost town of Pripyat had seen a sharp increase following an HBO miniseries. Ukraine’s government said in 2019 that it wanted the area to become an official tourist site. Chernobyl Tour offers its own air tour of the site by small plane or helicopter…
The earlier flights also sold out, airline spokeswoman Anastasiia Chaplyhina said in an email, adding that interest remains high.
“Honestly, this was possible only due to the pandemic,” she said. “First, there are available aircraft, and secondly, our team has a little free time” that they can devote to “creative and nonstandard projects.”
A Ghost to Most
There’s a new sheriff in Town. A message was sent. Good.
Good summary, AL!
Stephen Schwartz has an atomic anniversary for practically every day of the year – planes carrying nuclear weapons crashing, reactor accidents, you name it! He’s a good Twitter follow, if somewhat depressing. ETA: He also documents the military person carrying the “football” when the president travels.
I’ve been to a few nuclear sites, but not Chernobyl. Too many people. I wouldn’t mind going there, but it’s not high on my list. I was on a task force at Los Alamos to try to figure out how we might help. Bottom line: not much we could do. The Soviets were pouring boron and sand into the reactor from helicopters, and that was about all anyone could do.
@A Ghost to Most:
Say what, now?
Both book and miniseries were stunning; hard to believe.
In another bit of “it can always be worse” news, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Worldometers.info weekly COVID numbers.
As bad as it is in India, our 7 day average death rate per million is still higher than theirs:
India – 12 deaths per million
USA – 15 deaths per million
It’s not over. :-(
Shots fired at suburban MN middle school. Thankfully no students hurt. Reportedly, the MN GOP is proposing tax cuts to address the situation.
Barney the scottie died last night. My fiance is gutted. It was traumatic for her and our other dog, and they’re taking the day off to cry together.
yeah it IS a downer day.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
This is in “Don’t threaten me with a good time” territory. I mean, Christ, is he this stupid that he thinks we’re going to be all hot and bothered by this? It’s not 1950 anymore, Erdogan
Does he e really think that this is a threat???
Rancher Greg Judy explains how to bring a dead field back to life. Fascinating.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): @rikyrah:
Biden would just say “Yes, it was a shameful period in American history; an injustice my administration is working to correct.”
Erdogan apparently thinks the response would be “Nope. Never happened.” He’s projecting.
Their official numbers are utter garbage, though. The number of people being cremated in special COVID cremation areas are much, much higher than the official death count. ISTR there was an estimate they were off by a factor of 8.
@VeniceRiley: So sorry to hear this.
I was just over at the BBC reading their story of The Dogs Of Cherynoble. Cute story. Makes me thankful the guards that watch over the place help out the current generation of the pups that were left behind when the disaster struck.
How do you leave a place and leave your dog? I don’t know how that works.
I’m sure he does. He thinks the average American is as ignorant of our history as the average Turk is of theirs. I’m not saying that the average American understands the true scope of what we’ve done, but at least we teach about things like the Trail of Tears in our schools and have monuments commemorating them.
@germy: US grade schoolers are going to be confused about an adult just now learning how badly native tribes have been treated over the centuries.
It happens, especially when people are forced to evacuate really quickly. You hear terrible stories about it during wildfires here in the US. I imagine it would be more common in places where pets are allowed to roam and might not be close at hand when the evacuation order comes. I can also imagine the USSR might not have been as sympathetic to people demanding to bring their pets when evacuating.
@VeniceRiley: I’m sorry. Be good to yourselves.
@VeniceRiley: I am so sorry. I still cry for my first and most beloved Corgi when I am alone and start thinking about him. Be kind to yourself.
@germy: I hope he does, because it is totally true. It was a genocide and we should absolutely embrace it. Although he’s picked the wrong administration for that. He should have waited for a god help us all , GOP one.
India is having its Chernobyl moment right now. History is not going to be kind to the current rulers and their supporters.
So sorry to hear that, if it can help, here’s Maru taking the elephant bath.
@VeniceRiley: sorry that really sucks
@Tom Levenson: Thank you Tom. I was just having a gander at one of your tweets.
@germy: What a contrast.
I went to an elementary school named for Seminole chief Osceola.
We learned about the Trail of Tears in junior high.
Ohio had for many years an outdoor play running every summer (“Trumpet in the Land”) about the massacre by Pennsylva militiamen of native Americans ( Lenape/Delaware) visiting a Moravian mission at Gnadenhutten in Ohio.
General Sherman’s middle name was Tecumseh.
Who in America hasn’t heard of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce?
To me one of the strangest things about the Chernobyl exclusion zone is that the wildlife is doing so well within it. I think one of the LGM posters characterized this as “Radioactivity isn’t nearly as dangerous as humans.”
Other strange things are that there were still a few people living there, and of course the eerie pictures of the abandoned buildings and amusement parks.
@VeniceRiley: Condolences to you all on the loss of your beloved Barney.
There is a queue for cremations, you have to take a number to get your loved ones cremated. This is in Delhi, the national capital. BJP promised, India Shining but delivered India Burning
My timeline is full of pleas for help. A woman lost her entire family, her parents and brother. Her grandmother is ailing.
@VeniceRiley: So very sorry to hear that. It always hits hard; the price we pay for the love that we and our pets share.
Should part of this supply shipment be masks, Doughy Pantload? Should we, at the least, kindly hint at them being worn in public?
@germy: Biden could just send him a copy of the Democratic Party platform. A couple of excerpts:
There’s lots more. It never says the word “genocide” but it certainly acknowledges the harm that was done.
I knew a withdrawal would be popular – I didn’t expect “77%” popular (!) but I knew most people would support it.
@VeniceRiley: I’m sorry. What a blow to the heart.
@mrmoshpotato: The concept might not be complicated but doing it in a way that actually helps is complicated. Armchair public health experts have all of a sudden become armchair logistics and international aid experts. So tedious.
Mike in NC
Read a few years back that Putin wanted a Russian miniseries or movie about Chernobyl, placing blame for the disaster on the CIA. Trump would no doubt have approved because the “deep state” was out to get him.
@Barbara: Exactly, India is a pharma and oxygen manufacturing power house. The problem is not lack of capacity but lack of political will to co-ordinate a competent response at the Centre (Federal govt).
Could be worse.
How could it be worse?
Could be raining.
@Barbara: I’ve been trying to break that habit in myself. The ship stuck in the Suez made me realize how often I thought “why don’t they just…” about situations where I had no real knowledge or qualifications.
@Barbara: And, I didn’t think of this initially, Doughy Pantload’s idea of “send help” could totally be thoughts and prayers (to Jesus.)
And yet, I hear “Where is the U.S.?” far more often than I hear “Where is Modhi?” WTF?
The Financial Times estimates (based in part on cremation records) that the death rate is much higher.
Also, the impact on their health system has been far more drastic than what has happened here.
J R in WV
So sorry to hear of your loss. Always hard, the critters are so close to us, and have so little control and understanding of their illness.
Take care of your partner, and the other pupper, hugs are indicated all around~!!!~
Is India having the same argument as we are about dying “from” COVID vs. dying “with” COVID? //
I like to go online and advise mathematicians how to solve thorny math problems.
@debbie: The horseshoe is a circle
@Baud: Baud! 2024! “I can solve that – you eggheads!”
Do I understand correctly that one of the precipitating events in this surge of cases was Modi’s decision to allow religious pilgrimages? Did he really ok millions of people traveling to the Kumbh Mela festival?
I’m so sorry. Condolences to you and your crew.
Steve in the ATL
@Baud: I like to go online and comment about politics, legal affairs, life, and whatnot. Same effect!
I don’t think so. For a while, according to various news reports, India appeared to be handling its Covid problems. But there appeared to be a resurgence that outpaced the ability to deal with it.
Japan is having a similar, but less critical problem.
However, I don’t know how accurate the news from India has been, even when international reporting has been adequate. And I don’t know whether the government has been on top of the situation or if they have been as bad as, say, Brazil or the US under Trump.
I know that previously India was one of the major producers of vaccine, and they have an effective health service infrastructure which in the past has performed very well in dealing with various issues.
And I say this as someone who tries to follow news from India but who is by no means even an armchair or Internet “expert.” At best I know (sometimes) which stories to ignore.
Part of it was also that people were loaded onto busses and probably not allowed to take anything much less dogs, other pets, family documents, etc.
I just watched the HBO miniseries again (wife & a friend hadn’t seen it). I hadn’t even thought of the anniversary. They got some of the science a little wrong (you can’t catch radiation from people days later), but the acting was so good.
While we can point at the flaws in the Soviet system evident in the miniseries, I see a lot of parallels in US corporations.
I think they lost control because they loosened up too quickly; it was the political rallies and huge religious festivals that got India where it is.
@MomSense: His party advertised it as “safe”. Endless election rallies in the five states going to polls this month and the next
Instead of vaccinating Indians first giving away vaccines to other countries as a part of “vaccine diplomacy”.
From BBC News (not the final word by any means, but useful):
Visual Guide to the Crisis
Article on various issues in India related to Covid:
On a more positive note, Mumbai is doing better than many other cities. They are taking it seriously and have organized a massive response include ward based COVID war rooms to connect people to appropriate resources. They have also built field hospitals so that no one is turned away.
They were evacuated on state buses and no pets allowed…
@Ken: Remember when TFG weighed in on the Notre Dame fire? So glad we have a President who listens to experts.
Sorry to hear that your whole family is grieving. (((hugs)))
@MomSense: Modi and/or various fellow travelers made numerous comments to the effect that India had beaten Covid and would be seen as a leader to the rest of the world as a result. I think it is a world leader in delivering drugs to developing nations but obviously, the triumphalism crossed the line into delusional thinking.
@Barbara:The triumphalism crossed the line into delusional thinking. Their delusions of grandeur are nothing new.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@Ken: That reminds me of learning that the DMZ between North and South Korea is also a de facto nature preserve. The animals are not heavy enough to set off the mines etc. so it is just for the animals. There are also areas that were mined in the Falkland Islands which are also only safe for animals other than humans.
@Another Scott: India’s death counts may be off by an order of magnitude. Ours covid deaths are probably only 2/3 of the real total.