Author Topic: TV-Series "Chernobyl"  (Read 433 times)

Offline Allan F

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TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« on: June 22, 2019, 12:53:13 PM »
I've seen it a couple of times the last week. All 5 episodes, with special focus on the physics of the event.

But I wonder why, none of the control operators at the time stopped the test, when they knew it was unsafe.

Is the description of the shift supervisor Dyatlov accurate? Such a bully, it seems.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline bknight

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2019, 06:48:49 PM »
From watching the series I came away with:
1.  They really didn't know the design of the reactor would result in the run away of the reaction and not much they did during the test would not have resulted in an explosion.  The chief nuclear scientist, the one who hanged himself, indicated that no one thought about the situation they were faced with, hidden reports etc.  Design with graphite, which accelerated reactions, ends on the control rods, which have been replaced)
2. He had promised that the test would be completed to his supervisor and he didn't want to have his reputation tarred by a failure to complete as promised.
3. He, by the series description, was a bit of an egotist and knew much more about the reactor than his very junior operators, even though they were going by the book.
4. From my work in the former USSR, the system had abundant fraud and dealt with lies to protect "your" job.  For example in the oil field related activities.  Water is pumped into wells to increase reservoir pressure back towards original, improving recovery percent.  The individuals responsible for pumping water into wells were paid by cubic meters injected but there were no instruments to measure any amount and the employees lied about the quantity pumped(getting paid for the required amount even though perhaps 10% was injected).  If workers dropped tools into wells, they went without pay while recovering the tools(so guess what, no tools were ever dropped  ::))
5.  If the nuclear operations were anything like the oil work(I don't know).  Safety was never a objective.  Construction materials were notoriously below standard and no one to check the standards. 

All in all the series was generally what I would have expected.  Secrecy, not reporting the incident until stations in Scandinavia reported the radioactivity, was paramount.  Same with the early rocketry secrecy, not reporting launch failures so that their technology would seem "superior".
 
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2019, 12:04:44 AM »
The one howler I found, was the explosive potential of the corium reaching the reservoirs. MEGAtons of TNT? Maybe a few hundred kilos exposive equivalent. But nowere near a nuclear explosion event.

Yes, the sovjet system was based on lies and fraud. Work quotas weren't being filled, due to either workers stealing the produce, or the necessary resources was "lost" before they could be used. Then work quotas were filled on paper, perhaps even exceeded on paper, which was reported up the chain, resulting in the political system living in a fictional world of fictional numbers.

(edited for spelling)
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2019, 01:50:07 AM »
Watched this and very much enjoyed it - I can remember exactly where I was when I found out about it: I was on a field course in North Wales, part of which involved a visit to a (now decommissioned) nuclear power station.

I know it has exercised a number of people thanks to the scientific and historical inaccuracies, and it has perhaps exaggerated the death toll, but it was still a great and very chilling watch for those of us who remember the period and the event.

What's been interesting to me, and something that hasn't been picked up on, is that it was broadcast at the same time as the series 'Looming Tower'. That series looked at the lead up to 9/11, and the parallels have been marked. Both series examined catastrophic events, but the interesting part has been the examination of the politics. Both events could arguably have been avoided had the political systems not conspired against the people involved. Soviet and US internal divides meant that blame was tossed around like a hot potato and the truth became a casualty of careers and personal motivation.

It's inspired me enough to want to get a decent book on Chernobyl and fill in the gaps.

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2019, 08:52:12 AM »
And the chocking denial by the politicians to listen to scientists, as if not hearing them made the problem conform to their wishes.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline jfb

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2019, 12:32:17 PM »
I've seen it a couple of times the last week. All 5 episodes, with special focus on the physics of the event.

But I wonder why, none of the control operators at the time stopped the test, when they knew it was unsafe.

Is the description of the shift supervisor Dyatlov accurate? Such a bully, it seems.

My understanding is that the portrayal is accurate, and that bullying nature significantly contributed to the accident.  And remember, this was the Soviet Union of the 1980s - getting fired from your job carried consequences beyond having to look for a new one.  This was a political system where the term "shooting the messenger" wasn't strictly metaphorical.  Dyatlov no doubt took advantage of that to pressure the operators to do what he said. 

And remember, none of the operators (including Dyatlov) were aware that dropping the control rods would momentarily spike the reaction rate.  As far as they knew, the right thing to do in any emergency situation was to hit AZ-5 and shut the whole thing down.  So that likely also contributed to them not protesting more forcefully. 

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2019, 01:43:56 PM »
Yes, but why risk it? Having to scram the reactor would put it off-line and out of production for at least a day. They were dependent of those reactors running full tilt in the daytime.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline jfb

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2019, 05:11:22 PM »
Yes, but why risk it? Having to scram the reactor would put it off-line and out of production for at least a day. They were dependent of those reactors running full tilt in the daytime.

You mean, why risk doing what Dyatlov told them to do vs. being arrested?  Because those were basically their options.  Remember - Soviet Union.  1980s.  Not a culture that valued initiative.  Dyatlov answered to people who could have him arrested.  Und so weiter

There's a saying that the mobilization in response to the Chernobyl disaster could only have happened in the Soviet Union, but by that same token the actions that led to the Chernobyl disaster also could only have happened in the Soviet Union. 

As for needing all the reactors running full tilt in the daytime - only at certain times (such as the end of the month when everyone's trying to make quota).  Reactor 4 was already scheduled to be shut down for maintenance anyway, which is why they chose it to run the test.  Unfortunately, demand for electricity that day pushed it off to the night shift, who were unaware of the test and unprepared for it.  As a result - kaboom

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2019, 06:55:29 PM »
Should they have throttled the reactor down slower? To not end up in the Xenon pit? Which was choking the reactor to the point where it was only producing decay heat?

If Dyatlov had said: "Throttle down to 700 MW - take the time you need" all would have been fine?
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline bknight

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2019, 10:21:05 PM »
But he PROMISED the test would b concluded that day, the slow shut down might have been 24 hours or more without the test. 
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2019, 03:49:44 AM »
Yes, that went well.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2019, 09:55:56 AM »
Reminds me of "Der Untergang", where almost everybody were laughing, smoking, joking, drinking, right up to the point where they started on the cyanide and self-inflicted GSW.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline bknight

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2019, 10:20:41 AM »
Reminds me of "Der Untergang", where almost everybody were laughing, smoking, joking, drinking, right up to the point where they started on the cyanide and self-inflicted GSW.

I HAD to look that one(Der Untergang) up.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline Allan F

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Re: TV-Series "Chernobyl"
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2019, 12:16:54 PM »
It has a happy ending.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.