Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

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#2 Mechanical causes

The reactors at Chernobyl were RBMKs, which moderate their fission processes with graphite and are cooled by water. Hence their common Western name: LWGR, or light-water graphite reactor... Read more...

Published

22 January 2011

#3 Management causes of the accident

In some sense all errors are human. Reactor 4's design made it fallible, but Soviet secrecy made it impossible for its designers to explain the weaknesses of their work. Soviet bureaucracy also made it likely that the reactor might not be well built and maintained... Read more...

Published

22 January 2011

#4 The immediate aftermath

What happened next? As news of the accident filtered out to the people who ran the Chernobyl plant and its satellite town, and – simultaneously – to Kiev and Moscow, the first problem was that the senior managers of the plant either did not grasp or could not bare to reveal the full extent of the disaster. Read more...

Published

22 January 2011

#5 Who’s to blame

It is surprisingly hard to allocate blame for the Chernobyl accident. Within the soviet system, nuclear power stations could only have been designed by an ambitious and secretive scientific elite working with an ambitious and secretive technological elite to deliver the national ambitions they all shared and which were guided by a political elite who had complete power to advance a person to giddy heights, or consign them to outer darkness. Read more...

Published

22 January 2011

#6 The politics of Chernobyl

To a surprising degree, it suited many parties - governments, journalists, and campaigners - to exaggerate the consequences of Chernobyl, and then to blame them on the Soviet regime. Read more...

Published

22 January 2011

#7 The official international response

From the start, Western governments were keen to accept the Soviet account of the causes and consequences of the accident, and to agree that the Soviets had done their best in the face of it. Blame was not politic. Read more...

Published

22 January 2011

#10 BBC Horizon: radiation risk and Chernobyl

This was a note written by Paul Seaman (www.paulseaman.com) as a July 2006  account by the BBC's leading science programme of the different ways of thinking about and accounting for the death-doll from cancer caused by radiation. It helps show why different experts come to very different predictions of the scale of, for instance, the Chernobyl disaster. Trouble is (for those who'd like a simple life) it debunks "LNT" which is the underpinning theory of the low estimates of people like the Chernobyl Forum, and does so by arguing that these are way too high. Read more...

Published

02 December 2010
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