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In Soviet Russia, Lake Contaminates You

Article #328 • Written by Alan Bellows

In late 1945, along the banks of the Techa River in the Soviet Union, a dozen labor camps sent 70,000 inmates to begin construction of a secret city. Mere months earlier the United States' Little Boy and Fat Man bombs had flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leaving Soviet leaders salivating over the massive power of the atom. In a rush to close the gap in weapons technology, the USSR commissioned a sprawling plutonium-production complex in the southern Ural mountains. The clandestine military-industrial community was to be operated by Russia's Mayak Chemical Combine, and it would come to be known as Chelyabinsk-40.

Within a few years the newfangled nuclear reactors were pumping out plutonium to fuel the Soviet Union's first atomic weapons. Chelyabinsk-40 was absent from all official maps, and it would be over forty years before the Soviet government would even acknowledge its existence. Nevertheless, the small city became an insidious influence in the Soviet Union, ultimately creating a corona of nuclear contamination dwarfing the devastation of the Chernobyl disaster.

By June 1948, after 31 months of brisk construction, the first of the Chelyabinsk-40 "breeder" reactors was brought online. Soon bricks of common uranium-238 were being bombarded with neutrons, resulting in loaves of pipin'-hot weapons-grade plutonium. In their haste to begin production, Soviet engineers lacked the time to establish proper waste-handling procedures, so most of the byproducts were dealt with by diluting them in water and squirting the effluent into the Techa River. The watered-down waste was a cocktail of "hot" elements, including long-lived fission products such as Strontium-90 and Cesium-137--each with a half-life of approximately thirty years.

In 1951, after about three years of operations at Chelyabinsk-40, Soviet scientists conducted a survey of the Techa River to determine whether radioactive contamination was becoming a problem. In the village of Metlino, just over four miles downriver from the plutonium plant, investigators and Geiger counters clicked nervously along the river bank. Rather than the typical "background" gamma radiation of about 0.21 Röntgens per year, the edge of the Techa River was emanating 5 Röntgens per hour. Such elevated levels were rather distressing since that the river was the primary source of water for the 1,200 residents there. Subsequent measurements found extensive contamination in 38 other villages along the Techa, seriously jeopardizing the health of about 28,000 people. In addition, almost 100,000 other residents were being exposed to elevated-but-not-quite-as-deadly doses of gamma radiation, both from the river itself and from the floodplain where crops and livestock were raised.

Former main street in the village of Muslyumovo © Greenpeace / Robert Knoth
Former main street in the village of Muslyumovo © Greenpeace / Robert Knoth

In an effort to avoid serious radiological health effects among the populace, the Soviet government relocated about 7,500 villagers from the most heavily contaminated areas, fenced off the floodplain, and dug wells to provide an alternate water source for the remaining villages. Engineers were brought in to erect earthen dams along the Techa River to prevent radioactive sediments from migrating further downstream. The Soviet scientists at Chelyabinsk-40 also revised their waste disposal strategy, halting the practice of dumping effluent directly into the river. Instead, they constructed a set of "intermediate storage tanks" where waste water could spend some time bleeding off radioactivity. After lingering in these vats for a few months, the diluted dregs were periodically piped to the new long-term storage location: a ten-foot-deep, 110 acre lake called Karachay. For a while these measures spared the Techa River residents from further increases in exposure, but the Mayak Chemical Combine had only begun to demonstrate its flair for misfortune.

By the mid 1950s the workers at the plutonium production plant began to complain of soreness, low blood pressure, loss of coordination, and tremors--the classic symptoms of chronic radiation syndrome. The facility itself was also beginning to encounter chronic complications, particularly in the new intermediate storage system. The row of waste vats sat in a concrete canal a few kilometers outside the main complex, submerged in a constant flow of water to carry away the heat generated by radioactive decay. Soon the technicians discovered that the hot isotopes in the waste water tended to cause a bit of evaporation inside the tanks, resulting in more buoyancy than had been anticipated. This upward pressure put stress on the inlet pipes, eventually compromising the seals and allowing raw radioactive waste to seep into the canal's coolant water. To make matters worse, several of the tanks' heat exchangers failed, crippling their cooling capacity.

The workers were aware of these faults, but the ambient radiation in the cooling trench forestalled any repairs. A flurry of calculations indicated that most of the waste water in the tanks would remain in a stable liquid state even without the additional cooling, so technicians continued to operate the plutonium plant in spite of these problems. Their evaporation calculations were in error, however, and the water inside the defective tanks gradually boiled away. A radioactive sludge of nitrates and acetates was left behind, a chemical compound roughly equivalent to TNT.

Unable to shed much heat, the concentrated radioactive slurry continued to increase in temperature within the defective 80,000 gallon containers. On 29 September 1957, one tank reached an estimated 660 degrees Fahrenheit. At 4:20pm local time, the explosive salt deposits in the bottom of the vat detonated. The blast ignited the contents of the other dried-out tanks, producing a combined explosive force equivalent to about 85 tons of TNT. The thick concrete lid which covered the cooling trench was hurled eighty feet away, and seventy tons of highly radioactive fission products were ejected into the open atmosphere. The buildings at Chelyabinsk-40 shuddered as they were buffeted by the shock wave.

The ruins of the exploded nuclear waste storage tanks.
The ruins of the exploded nuclear waste storage tanks.

While investigators probed the blast site in protective suits, a mile-high column of radionuclides dragged across the landscape. The gamma-emitting dust cloud spread hazardous isotopes of cesium and strontium over 9,000 square miles, affecting some 270,000 Soviet citizens and their food supplies. Over twenty megacuries (MCi) of radioactivity were released, almost half of that expelled by the Chernobyl incident.

In the days that followed, strange reports began to emerge from downwind villages. According to author Richard Pollock in a 1978 Critical Mass Journal article, residents of the Chelyabinsk Province became "hysterical with fear with the incidence of unknown 'mysterious' diseases breaking out. Victims were seen with skin 'sloughing off' their faces, hands and other exposed parts of their bodies." After the customary ten-day period of hand-sitting, the government ordered the evacuation of many villages where skin-sloughers and blood-vomiters had appeared. This mass migration left the landscape littered with radioactive ghost towns.

The facilities at Chelyabinsk-40 were swiftly decontaminated with hoses, mops, and squeegees, and soon plutonium production was underway again. The intermediate storage system had been partially compromised by the accident, but the factory was still able to squirt its constant flow of radioactive effluence into Lake Karachay. The lake lacked any surface outlets, so optimistic engineers reasoned that anything dumped into the lake would remain entombed there indefinitely.

Many locals were hospitalized with radiation poisoning in the weeks after the waste-tank blast, but the Soviet state forbade doctors from disclosing the true nature of the illnesses. Instead, physicians were instructed to diagnose sufferers with ambiguous "blood problems" and "vegetative syndromes." The Russian government likewise withheld the colossal calamity from the international community. Within two years, the radiation killed all of the pine trees within a twelve mile radius of Chelyabinsk-40. Highway signs were erected at the edges of the contaminated zone, imploring travelers to roll up their windows while traversing the deteriorated swath of Earth, and to not stop for any reason.

Welcome to Chelyabinsk, comrade.  No Loitering.
Welcome to Chelyabinsk, comrade. No Loitering.

Ten years later, in 1967, a severe drought struck the Chelyabinsk Province. Much to the Russian scientists' alarm, shallow Lake Karachay gradually began to shrink from its shores. Over several months the water dwindled considerably, leaving the lake about half-empty (or half-full, if you're more upbeat). This exposed the radioactive sediment in the lake basin, and fifteen years' worth of radionuclides took to the breeze. About 900 square miles of land was peppered with Strontium-90, Cesium-137, and other unhealthy elements. Almost half a million residents were in the path of this latest dust cloud of doom, many of them the same people who had been affected by the 1957 waste-tank explosion.

Soviet engineers hastily enacted a program to help prevent further sediment from leaving Lake Karachay. For a dozen or so years they dumped rocks, soil, and large concrete blocks into the tainted basin. The Mayak Chemical Combine conceded that the lake was an inadequate long-term storage system, and ordered that Karachay be slowly sealed in a shell of earth and concrete.

In 1990, as the Soviet Union teetered at the brink of collapse, government officials finally acknowledged the existence of the secret city of Chelyabinsk-40 (soon renamed to Chelyabinsk-65, then later changed to Ozersk). They also acknowledged its tragic parade of radiological disasters. At that time Lake Karachay remained as the principal waste-dumping site for for the plutonium plant, but the effort to fill the lake with soil and concrete had halved its surface area.

Thirty-nine years of effluent had saturated the lake with nasty isotopes, including an estimated 120 megacuries of long-lived radiation. In contrast, the Chernobyl incident released roughly 100 megacuries of radiation into the environment, but only about 3 megacuries of Strontium-90 and Cesium-137. A delegation who visited Lake Karachay in 1990 measured the radiation at the point where the effluent entered the water, and the needles of their Geiger counters danced at about 600 Röntgens per hour--enough to provide a lethal dose in one hour. They did not linger long.

A report compiled in 1991 found that the incidence of leukemia in the region had increased by 41% since Chelyabinsk-40 opened for business, and that during the 1980s cancers had increased by 21% and circulatory disorders rose by 31%. It is probable, however, that the true numbers are much higher since doctors were required to limit the number diagnoses issued for cancer and other radiation-related illnesses. In the village of Muslyumovo, a local physician's personal records from 1993 indicated an average male lifespan of 45 years compared to 69 in the rest of the country. Birth defects, sterility, and chronic disease also increased dramatically. In all, over a million Russian citizens were directly affected by the misadventures of the Mayak Chemical Combine from 1948 to 1990, including around 28,000 people classified as "seriously irradiated."

Karachay, the concrete lake
Karachay, the concrete lake

Today, there are huge tracts of Chelyabinsk land still uninhabitable due to the radionuclides from the river contamination, the 1957 blast, and the 1967 drought. The surface of Lake Karachay is now made up of more concrete than water, however the lake's payload of fission products is not completely captive. Recent surveys have detected gamma-emitting elements in nearby rivers, indicating that undesirable isotopes have been seeping into the water table. Estimates suggest that approximately a billion gallons of groundwater have already been contaminated with 5 megacuries of radionuclides. The neighboring Norwegians are understandably nervous that some of the pollution could find its way into their water supply, or even into the Arctic Ocean.

Russia has long been fond of producing the most massive specimens of military might: the monstrous Tsar Cannon, the 200-ton Tsar Bell, the cumbersome Tsar Tank, and the 50-megaton Tsar Bomba. In that "biggest-ever" tradition, the Mayak Chemical Combine is now credited by the Worldwatch Institute as the creator of the "most polluted spot" in history, a mess whose true magnitude is yet to be known.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 17 October 2008. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

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112 Comments
longarm
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:44 am

First!!!


slagman
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:46 am

Newbie second!


mirdavanfe
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:47 am

damn login


longarm
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:48 am

I am a old timer to this site, but a new poster.
Excellent site!
Thank you Allen.


neill1973
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:53 am

Another DI article. Thanks Allen


Ard Ri
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:55 am

5th


Ard Ri
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:55 am

Darn, 6th and 7th


Groad
Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:01 am

Excellent article as usual Alan. I was so glad to see a new one posted. :)


stonefry
Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:06 am

Welcome Back DI!
DI article too!


iceman0305
Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:07 am

#10


tunapez
Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:20 am

"After the customary ten-day period of hand-sitting,"
Damn Morbidly Amusing. If it wasn't so tragic, I'd say Damn Funny.
DI, nevertheless.
Thanx Allen.


Ard Ri
Posted 17 October 2008 at 12:15 pm

HUGE TRACKS OF LAND


Aloew
Posted 17 October 2008 at 12:56 pm

great article. i agree with tunapez about the morbid hilarity of the "customary ten-day period of hand sitting"
Damn Interesting IMHO


Paul_in_SF
Posted 17 October 2008 at 01:03 pm

Welcome back, DI! The wait was long but well worth it...


DuckFat
Posted 17 October 2008 at 01:09 pm

"The neighboring Norwegians are understandably nervous..."

Huh? Norway is over 1,200 miles away. Are Norwegians really that big a bunch of wussies? Are they afraid of radioactive reindeer running amok and eating all the Lutefisk?


leob
Posted 17 October 2008 at 01:22 pm

I'm not sure the Tsar Bell is a specimen of military might.


darren.l
Posted 17 October 2008 at 01:50 pm

Another super read, and 17th to boot - Fantastic!


strewthbut
Posted 17 October 2008 at 03:11 pm

All the stuff they didnt teach you in school!
Keep them coming DI.


Reaper
Posted 17 October 2008 at 05:33 pm

I'm actually amazed that the Soviets actually took efforts to keep their citizens alive.

I guess they need SOMEONE to work the gulags, amirite?


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 17 October 2008 at 05:59 pm

It may be my ignorance on my part regarding this subject ...
When we hear about Soviet programs it is scrouded in vales of secrecy and desceptions. We are told of the mishaps of the Russians with explicit detail. When we did our tests on the first series of nuclear bombs what was the result on Americans in the area. It is amazing we already had an extensive grasp of radiation sickness and diagnositic methods prior to dropping the bombs. We also seemed to realize the wide range impact as well. What was some of the first personel to hit Japan after the surrender? You got it nuclear techs and doctors... to treat those poor unfortunate Japanese? I bet, not hardly, to gather information about the yield, radiation levels and areas stricken. What is/was our expose from the blasts conducted in the SW??? Any info? or was that one of those since it is American nuclear testing, the fallout goes good with Apple Pie? I find the suppression of our program and contribution Dammed Interesting too. Of course hearing how the Ruskies cant keep there junk from going nuclear is always nice...but I would be surprised if we have not had a few similar hot spots that main street sclubs like myself havent heard of... that many air and underground tests surely had a profound impact upon areas of our testing grounds and into our local water supplies as well. As I remember our cancer rates spiked a great deal in the 50s and 60s too... hummmm DI? Perhaps...


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 17 October 2008 at 06:08 pm

My spelling bites, sorry!
It may be my ignorance on my part regarding this subject …
When we hear about Soviet programs it is shrouded in vales of secrecy and deceptions. We are told of the mishaps of the Russians with explicit detail. When we did our tests on the first series of nuclear bombs what was the result on Americans in the area? It is amazing we already had an extensive grasp of radiation sickness and diagnostic methods prior to dropping the bombs. We also seemed to realize the wide range impact as well. What was some of the first personnel to hit Japan after the surrender? You got it nuclear techs and doctors… to treat those poor unfortunate Japanese? I bet, not hardly, to gather information about the yield, radiation levels and areas stricken. How many of our own laid in bed slowly dying to mysterious ailments, cancer perhaps...What is/was our exposure from the blasts conducted in the SW??? Any info? or was that one of those: Since it is American nuclear testing, the fallout goes good with Apple Pie? I find the suppression of our program and contribution Dammed Interesting too. Of course hearing how the Ruskies cant keep there junk from going nuclear is always nice…but I would be surprised if we have not had a few similar hot spots that main street schlubs like myself haven’t heard of… that many air and underground tests surely had a profound impact upon areas of our testing grounds and into our local water supplies as well. As I remember our cancer rates spiked a great deal in the 50s and 60s too… hummmm DI? Perhaps…


1c3d0g
Posted 17 October 2008 at 06:33 pm

DuckFat: radiation is NOT something to be taken lightly! Right now you're mocking them, but you won't be able to even open your mouth to scream in pain when you're dying from the inside out from radioactive poisoning...

This is a horrible tragedy and more must be done to contain the radiation.


matthew1701
Posted 17 October 2008 at 09:20 pm

DS Allen... damn scary!
what others see as a "local" or one time event, i see as the possible first of many. what about the chinese and thier attempts to create a nuclear arsenal? or India for that matter or any country really... nuclear power can be a great tool or an even greater destructive runaway tool. i just hope emerging countries read some of this stuff and say hmmmm


theleaningelm
Posted 17 October 2008 at 10:51 pm

DI Allen! And damn terrifying! I live on the opposite side of the globe from Chelyabinsk-40, but I'm still wondering how that fallout's going to affect me!

And geez, there are still people living in Ozersk?


HiEv
Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:29 pm

It's tragically ironic that their attempt to make nuclear weapons to protect their citizens ended up costing the lives of tens of thousands of their citizens. Using fast and cheap methods of waste handling to simply "save money", have cost far more due to the damage and cleanup costs they created. Then their need to not look bad by covering all of this up has ended up costing more lives and made them look even worse.

Time after time their failures were due to short-term greed and fear, which ended up causing greater losses of human life and creating a far more real source of fear in the long-term.

We should learn from these tragic examples to not let our fears dictate our actions, but instead to look for what methods would best serve us all in the long-term.


Dropbear
Posted 18 October 2008 at 02:26 am

Ard Ri said: "HUGE TRACKS OF LAND"

*sigh* I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants....

"Oh, no! the waste water is poisoning the river!"
I know, we'll build a tank.
"Oh shit! The tank blew up!"
Um, let's try a lake...
"Well, now the lake is evaporating...."
Er... chuck rocks in it?
No?
Um, cover it with concrete. No one will notice. This never happened.


Hayley
Posted 18 October 2008 at 07:11 am

DI, as always. Those Geiger counter stats give me the heebie jeebies though.


Dr. Bivoc
Posted 18 October 2008 at 07:32 am

Alan,

Thank you for the new article. Keep them coming!

I am scared that it may have only been the fall of the Soviet Government that allowed any outsiders to know what went on. I hope the US government has less to hide and has done a poorer job of hiding it. More problems came out sooner, so I hope that is the case. Because they came out sooner, I think the larger problems were prevented, but it is a danger that other governments, particularly unstable ones like Pakistan, could cause even larger issues. They have less space to make mistakes in before crossing borders.


c0uchtime
Posted 18 October 2008 at 08:15 am

Facinating piece and well worth the wait. It makes me wonder, noting how we can look back now from this vantage point and see the ignorance displayed in the decisions of such times, how is it that we can be so arrogant (and foolish) to NOT realize that people 50 years from now will be looking back and saying the same things.... Economics, green science, health care, energy technology, etc. Those that know, know that they know but those that don't know, don't know they don't know.


sid
Posted 18 October 2008 at 08:15 am

Nit pick or clarification? In paragraphs 12 and 13 (if I counted correctly), the article starts referring to "Russia." Is this because the area is within modern day Russia, or a consistency error. I don't think there are other areas of the article where "Russia" is used to refer to the area or people involved. I would think at the time everyone and every entity was first and foremost Soviet, at least in the minds of those in power.

As for HiEv's comments, I think you may have missed something regarding the USSR. I'm not sure it ever did anything to protect its citizens. Everything was done to protect the USSR, and that often meant many citizens were considered expendable. Just the cost of maintaining the USSR. Covering up fit right into that mindset. At the time, those in power would have told you it was all in the name of preserving, promoting, and expanding communism, which proponents felt was the ideal system. In fact, it was all to preserve, promote, and expand the power of those in control.


Traveller
Posted 18 October 2008 at 08:45 am

DI. Didn't know that Norway shared a border with Russia. Must inform UN. I would think the Kazakhs would have more to worry about than the Norwegians. Apparently even communism couldn't completely eliminate the Tsars and their complete indifference to any lives but their own. Have to wonder if anything has changed since the fall.


GreyJackalLX
Posted 18 October 2008 at 09:22 am

I'm very surprised to see that nobody has mentioned Hanford, Washington. It isn't/wasn't Chelyabinsk, but it came close in many respects. Here's a pretty good quick article about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site

The US government conducted at least one deliberate release of radioactive effluent from Hanford into the Columbia River just to see what short and long-term effects it would have on the flora and fauna.

Incidentally, by the 1970's for sure, we knew that Something Really Bad had occurred at Chelyabinsk just from satellite photos of widespread killing of foliage in a classic "wind-fan" pattern downwind of the site. And Chleyabinsk is not the only site in the former USSR of which that is true....

"Two Cents" wondered about effects of downwind contamination from the "blasts conducted in the SW". Those shots were done about 60 miles from where I now sit, at Yucca Flats (officially the Nevada Test Site), and you bet your ass studies have been done, as has a certain amount of denial and coverup. Try Googling "hurricane utah radiation" and you may find some topics of interest. Also either watch or look up the IMDB synopsis of the movie "Nightbreaker" for a rather Martin Sheen-ish view of the subject. I dislike Sheen, but the movie IS based on a very real incident.

Dr. Bivoc: the US government doesn't necessarily have less to hide, but being a more open society then the USSR by far, they have, as you hope, much less luck hiding it. I've spent half my life watching such operations from an inside perspective, and I can say that with some confidence.

This is an excellent site, thanks for having it - I'll be glad to donate something to keep it online and ad-free.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 18 October 2008 at 10:01 am

GreyJLX thanks for the info and confirmation... I heard Hanover had another little accident a few years ago.
As for Dr. Bivoc, we knew of C-40 long before the wall fell... I believe it was two years after the lake was built to house the waste. On satellite, it was the only lake in the area not frozen during winter...after that, a few "weather" satelites were positioned to conduct study the "bizarre climate" in that region. It is the same as dealing with a woman, some obvious things need not be mentioned until she is ready to discuss them... hehehe


TSN
Posted 18 October 2008 at 12:59 pm

Traveller said: "Didn't know that Norway shared a border with Russia. Must inform UN."

I suspect the UN have maps, and are already aware of this fact.


tunapez
Posted 18 October 2008 at 05:13 pm

Sorry Alan, one person misspells your name and us "followers" misspell down the line. Hats off to Groad and the good Dr., they must be professional types or something.

PS: Neill started it!


rev.felix
Posted 18 October 2008 at 09:15 pm

In Soviet Russia, radioactive pie eats you.


Joshua
Posted 18 October 2008 at 09:51 pm

rev.felix said: "In Soviet Russia, radioactive pie eats you."

There's a disgusting sexist retort to that on the tip of my tongue but... nah.


GreyJackalLX
Posted 18 October 2008 at 10:30 pm

Factually Norway does share a border with Russia. Not much of one, but it's more than I'd care to share, hehe. It's also a very iffy area in terms of radioactive contamination (try Google Earth for: Kola Peninsula).

Two Cents: oh man, I remember the dead vegetation, I didn't know the lake actually never froze! Yeesh....satellite and remote sensing output can be very boring, but once in awhile you get to see something that freezes your blood. Like a lake that DOESN'T freeze....

Circa 1990, we were getting the same effect watching fairly big rural areas of Africa just...die. Footpaths around and between villages growing over, game-trails rerouting close to or through villages, vegetation growing in paved roadway, then holes appearing in the thatched roofs and not being repaired. AIDS, of course.


JPSalvesen
Posted 19 October 2008 at 05:47 am

Chelyabinsk is a long way from Norway - where I sit. Maybe 5-6-7 hours - on a regular passenger jet. So, I'm not so worried about Chelyabinsk.

Andreeva bay, though. Very sketchy nuclear storage that may cause a nuclear chain reaction... That may be another DI for ya, Alan. Hurry up before that baby blows up and you don't get the scoop. ;)


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 19 October 2008 at 09:02 am

sid, this Ozersk is in the Russian Federation, the province is actually Chelyabinsk. It is East of Kalingrad/Leningrad, not far from the sea... there is another Ozersk on the N. border of Urkraine. (grabbed from Google maps) They numbered the towns and villages...wow, that probally made all the difference in thier organizatioanal skills!! heehehehee... I am sure only Capitalists pigs found that amusing. :)


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 19 October 2008 at 09:07 am

Correction: it is not Kalingrad/Leningrad, simply Kalingrad. Sorry!


rev.felix
Posted 19 October 2008 at 02:41 pm

Joshua said: "There's a disgusting sexist retort to that on the tip of my tongue but… nah."

Come on, what was the internet created for if not disgusting sexist retorts?


jsmill
Posted 19 October 2008 at 09:34 pm

Yeah - my first thought was, ok Norway may share a small border but they're a lot further away from the site than other countries who may have more reason to be concerned. Why single out the Norwegians?
I also like the lake half-full or half-empty line.


Radiatidon
Posted 20 October 2008 at 09:36 am

Any country that has played with Atomic material has suffered the human factor including sloppy management, distractions, poor paperwork, inadequate safety features and/or equipment.

You also should realize that not only governments are responsible for endangering citizens and land. For instance American Atomics was licensed to use atomic byproducts. Formally located near a church, food storage warehouse, a residential neighborhood, and the Tucson public school system central kitchen.

This plant regularly leaked massive quantities of tritium gas into the atmosphere. In 1978 a worker opened the wrong valve and sent twenty-one thousand curies of tritium into the air, far beyond any legal limit. According to company records for that year, legal and accidental releases equaled over 285,000 curies. No one was informed; the report was buried in paperwork. The official response by the company was equaled to nothing more than “Bummer dude.”

Tritium is basically a radioactive form of hydrogen emitting beta radiation, with a half-life of around twelve years. Not bad unless you ingest it. Right! Since tritium is an altered form of hydrogen, it still reacts like hydrogen. Just breathing you intake hydrogen. So being in a soiled area you ingest, breathe, and absorb tritium. Thus it can incorporate into living cells and at this point damage the DNA. Altered DNA creates mutations resulting both in birth defects and run-away cell mutations otherwise know as cancer.

Official company records did not always match real world conditions at the plant, indicating possible falsified quality-control data. Factory radiation alarms were disabled since they were constantly going off and “Creating a negative work environment that is not conducive to a stress free work environment.” according to company records. Even crates and packages containing radioactive material were mislabeled to avoid government regulations on transportation of such in the public venues.

Remind you of the Radium Girls and corporate greed?

The company even had an ace-in-the-hole. Harry H. Dooley, Jr., an AAEC commissioner who was also the vice-president of American Atomics. Many reports and findings on poor management of American Atomics went uninvestigated until a senatorial commission that resulted in various firings in the AAEC including Director Donald C. Gilbert. This exposed many of the sloppy management procedures at American Atomics in March 1979.

An in-depth onsite investigation of the plant occurred four days later indicating that the company was totally out of control. The inspector FitzRandolph said that quality control was so extremely poor that it would not surprise him that no filters were being utilize allowing radioactive material to be flushed straight into the environment through both exhaust smoke stakes and water waste into the sewers. Many scoffed at such an out-and-out fairy tail. Who in their right mind would temp faith by infecting thousands of potential lawsuit happy individuals living in the surrounding area. Makes one wonder if the stock portfolios of some of these nay-sayers might have an option or two of American Atomics.

Imagine the red faces when in early June a routine test of the Tucson schools central kitchen discovered radiation counts 2.5 times above allowable limits. Over forty thousand students and staff regularly consumed meals prepared in these kitchens. One cake tested contained water that registered at fifty-six thousand picocuries per liter, while US federal standards allow nothing greater than twenty thousand picocures, and that value is for water in use around nuclear power plants and facilities.

They moved out of the kitchen and tested the ground and vegetation surrounding the facility. It tested at levels thirty-six times over the legal limit. Even water vapor in the air tested with excessive radiation. The school board was force to send over $300,000.00 of perishables and $90,000.00 of boxed and can goods to a nuclear disposal site. All at tax payer’s expense.

Even so, at American Atomics it was work as usual. Company president Peter J. Biehl stated that the plant was within legal limits and if it was a danger that they would be the first to shut it down. It was not until the possibility of an investigation and official hearing that American Atomics surrendered its licenses to handle radioactive material and then abandoned the factory with all the radioactive material still onsite.

After repeated requests to American Atomic to clean up the site, Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt invoked emergency powers on the 26th of September, allowing the tritium and all other contaminated materials to be relocated to Flagstaff on 28th of September and buried at a formal military depot.

Alas the futility of human greed usually overcomes common sense and intellect.

The Don.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 20 October 2008 at 10:10 am

More times than not I agree you Don. The extent to human suffering and flaws are wide in range and scope... one country that deserves credit for their program is the French. They have an above average record, have used nuclear power to greatly increase their electrical capacity and are the world front runners in nuclear plant construction. Any idea who is building/consulting Irans nuclear capability??? humm, lets see...
So I would say, the blanket statement is a catch all, but some countries have emerged with nuclear capability with less damage done than the ones who try to regulate and guard against its proliferation. It is amazing how the biggest nuclear "criminals" are the judges and regulators, as if they are the voice of responsibility, morality and nuclear "reason"... I am not trying going all green on you, nor do I like the French, just pointing out the facts.


sleepy39
Posted 20 October 2008 at 10:19 am

"resulting in loaves of pipin'-hot weapons-grade plutonium" - love it!

DI, Alan!


Radiatidon
Posted 20 October 2008 at 10:49 am

one country that deserves credit for their program is the French. They have an above average record, have used nuclear power to greatly increase their electrical capacity and are the world front runners in nuclear plant construction."

Though you are right about the French, it seems that of late they have been caught with their collective knickers down.

http://ecodiario.eleconomista.es/noticias/noticias/662444/07/08/New-uranium-leak-found-in-French-Areva-factory.html

The Don.


kip
Posted 20 October 2008 at 11:44 am

Where does the meme "In Soviet Russia, *you*" come from? I've heard it several times lately and I am wondering what the original source was..


kip
Posted 20 October 2008 at 11:45 am

Sorry, my text was mangled. That should read:

Where does the meme "In Soviet Russia, [noun] [verbs] *you*" come from? I've heard it several times lately and I am wondering what the original source was..


Silverhill
Posted 20 October 2008 at 02:44 pm

It's called a "Russian Reversal", first performed by Arte Johnson on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In". Comedian/painter/psychology professor "Yakov Smirnoff" uses it a lot; read the history and examples at this Wikipedia section.


helmett
Posted 21 October 2008 at 03:44 am

Two Cents from Girth said: "It may be my ignorance on my part regarding this subject …
When we hear about Soviet programs it is scrouded in vales of secrecy and desceptions. We are told of the mishaps of the Russians with explicit detail. When we did our tests on the first series of nuclear bombs what was the result on Americans in the area. It is amazing we already had an extensive grasp of radiation sickness and diagnositic methods prior to dropping the bombs. We also seemed to realize the wide range impact as well. What was some of the first personel to hit Japan after the surrender? You got it nuclear techs and doctors… to treat those poor unfortunate Japanese? I bet, not hardly, to gather information about the yield, radiation levels and areas stricken. What is/was our expose from the blasts conducted in the SW??? Any info? or was that one of those since it is American nuclear testing, the fallout goes good with Apple Pie? I find the suppression of our program and contribution Dammed Interesting too. Of course hearing how the Ruskies cant keep there junk from going nuclear is always nice…but I would be surprised if we have not had a few similar hot spots that main street sclubs like myself havent heard of… that many air and underground tests surely had a profound impact upon areas of our testing grounds and into our local water supplies as well. As I remember our cancer rates spiked a great deal in the 50s and 60s too… hummmm DI? Perhaps…"

Well done, take an article that has absolutely nothing to do with the USA and immediately attempt to throw us under the bus.

Blame America First!

Yeah!


Mirage_GSM
Posted 21 October 2008 at 03:47 am

DI Radiatidon.
Any successful lawsuits on this one? This WAS in the US after all...


Radiatidon
Posted 21 October 2008 at 07:39 am

Mirage_GSM said: "DI Radiatidon.

Any successful lawsuits on this one? This WAS in the US after all…"

I know that there were various lawsuits applied against the company but do not know the outcome. The now defunct American Atomics formally of Tucson Arizona, filed for bankruptcy protection in 1980 as noted under – 2 B.R. 526 – Bankr. D. Ariz. 7.07A

Follow this link for Time Magazine's story on this account http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,916911,00.html

On 2nd September 1969 a road sign on a Phoenix freeway was installed as a test unit. The sign was constructed by American Atomics and powered by Krypton 85. This was a test bed to see if there was usable value for this type of device. The test was a research project conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission, The state of Arizona, and American Atomics.

http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=255003 - DOE document relating to the recovery of tritium ampoules abandoned by American Atomics for use at the Mound Facility.

The Don.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 21 October 2008 at 09:05 am

helmett,
I am no defeatist nor am I one of those silly USA haters...However, just to clarify my stance, I do believe people, corporations and nations need to be responsible for what they do and say. The old accountability bit. If there is a bus, the US built and designed the majority of of it, painted it, filled it with gas, learned to drive it and took position underneath it. I havent thrown the US under the bus, I simply walked by and noticed the US is/was under a bus...policy makers, scientists and military knowing they were doing a service for the country they loved placed the US under the bus, so please spare me and intellegent readers your synthetic drama and blame game...
As with most leaders in many forums, critisism is an everyday issue. On a technical note the story does include the US if you take a second to consider the content of the article. Why was that reactor built?? To help protect Russia from harm/invaders... does that seem paranoid to you? Consider they just got thru losing 30 million to the Geramns in WWII. Now the US emerges with nuclear power, an arms race blossoms, the reason for the plant being built... so nothing to do with the article??? how narrow a reader you seem. Now, is there anything in my last post that seems faulty or inaccurate? A little speculation, yes, but backed by more facts than smoke and mirrors. So after your three points have been countered, you have Yeah! remaining unchallenged. I'd stick with yeah! and let the rest go...your arguement doesnt hold heavy water. Thanks for your input and am glad to hear the article moved you to respond.


Radiatidon
Posted 21 October 2008 at 09:26 am

Actually we really did not understand the bomb or its lethal aftereffects. When the bombs were dropped on Japan, there were American causalities. There were unknown thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry trapped in Japan when the war started. There was also a POW camp of Americans in Hiroshima. Not to mention the thousands of American military and civilian personnel unknowingly exposed to lethal levels of radioactivity.

People now talk about the emotional detachment of those involved. Actually many of then suffered emotionally about their involvement in the bombing. For instance one journalist, Lansing Lamont, wrote how various scientists at Los Alamos threw-up a few days later as pictures and information came in about the conditions in the devastated cities.

Two Cents from Girth said: "What was some of the first personnel to hit Japan after the surrender?"

The first in were inspection teams. These teams entered Hiroshima on the 8th of September and then Nagasaki a couple of days later. Their report stated that in all areas examined the background radiation was far below what was considered hazardous. As they moved about these areas, certain sections were marked for future occupation. These areas were determined safe zones for the Seabees, ground troops, and field medical teams to setup base camps and begin cleanup. Without realizing it, these teams selected perimeters that were actually still dangerous. Only because they really did not understand that long-term exposure is just a dangerous in a low yield area as compared to short-term in a high yield area. Also as demolition crews began running bulldozers clearing out damaged buildings and clearing roadways, they raised radioactive material, dirt, mortar, etc. This in turn was breathed in, or fell upon the food, or entered the water of those in the area allowing low yield beta radiation exposure to the softer tissues normally protected by the melanin in the skin.

The inspection teams of military scientists entered the epic center of Nagasaki after six weeks and determined the lingering radiation too low to worry about. Behind them were around one thousand Marines and a smaller group of Seabees. They began work at the core of the atomic blast center. Just two weeks later the US Army was in Hiroshima working at that blast core. These men were not experiments; the scientists actually believed that there was nothing dangerous here.

The men did not receive any unusual precautionary guidelines or supplies. They worked without special gear, breathing apparatus, or given any equipment to measure their exposure to radiation. They even drank water from the city reservoir. Once again because even the scientists did not understand the long-term lethality of radiation.

Even with the hatred once felt by the occupying forces just mere months before, the US military were considerate to this defeated enemy. The following is by Kayano Nagai, a Japanese citizen living in Nagasaki who was four years old when the bomb was dropped. Her mother died in the initial blast.

"They came along in Jeeps. Daddy told me they were Marines and lots of them were college students. They were all very nice and they had very good manners, and whenever we said 'Haro' they gave us chocolate and chewing gum."

Many of the men purchased wares from the local merchants. Hundreds of radioactive silken kimonos with other exposed items were sent home to family and friends. Not really conducive of a military or government with secret interests.

Two Cents from Girth said: "that many air and underground tests surely had a profound impact upon areas of our testing grounds and into our local water supplies as well. As I remember our cancer rates spiked a great deal in the 50s and 60s too… hummmm DI? Perhaps…"

Actually radioactivity was not fully understood. For instance the INEL in Idaho was pumping radioactive sludge into old wells from the 1950s into the early 1970s, unknowingly dirtying the Snake River Aquifer that supplies water for a fair chunk of the west. Recently they discovered wells within 10 miles that are now showing signs of radioactivity.

Also during 1955 to 1958 the government conducted what was called “safety experiments” or “plutonium dispersal” tests in the Nevada desert. Thanks to these the EPA discovered in 1974 that soil in two states contained the nation’s highest plutonium concentrations. The worst was in Utah in and around Salt Lake City. These tests were to determine concentrations that would occur in the Nevada desert, no one involved dreamed that they would be infecting a populated area, including one as far away as Salt Lake.

Generally these cases were due to pure ignorance of how weather conditions can spread particles and what radioactivity can truly do.

The Don.


teffy_pie
Posted 21 October 2008 at 09:30 am

Best article title ever, Alan. :)

It's really depressing that the physicians were ordered to lie to their patients about what was causing their illness. Thankfully, that one doctor still kept personal records...sigh. It's amazing how dangerous it is to have a government place such inhumane requirements on an occupation that should be seeking the best for individual citizens. Sure, all governments lie in different degrees, but hiding the truth from people in danger? inconceivable....


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 21 October 2008 at 09:51 am

So, with our next greatest achievments in Science, Genetics, we should boldly go where no man has gone before? Let me let you in on a little secret...we always think we have thought of everything and taken every precaution and people cringe when I doubt the abilities and motovations of our cutting edge... Still a big fan of Jurassic Parks Chaos Theorists statement:+-"Just because we have discovered we can do something, doesnt mean we should."
As usual, lots of good info Don... :) The writings/reports from Japan were heartwrenching.
I agree teffy_pie, accountability and responsability whether popular or not...


Ratsoup
Posted 22 October 2008 at 01:05 am

Soviet Union, a dozen labor camps sent 70,000 inmates to begin construction of a secret city.

It needs specifying that the inmates in quantities of 70,000 that were sent to build this huge site of doom where innocent people. For example my grand-grandfather was prisoned about 1945 or so, because he refused to let other villagers steal crops from the villages storage. So the other villagers told on him on fake claims and he spent years in labor camps in Siberia. My mother who still remembers him said that they had so poor conditions, that they were so tired, that it was easier to go around a fallen old tree, then step over it. He was sentenced 25 +5 years. Fortunately Stalin died, and he got out year or so after that Serving together about 7 - 8 years. (My grand-grandfather were Estonian, Estonia was part of Soviet Union since 1941 to 1991 - of course not free willingly.)

I was wondering about these "First post" etc thing. This is a site of an intelligent reader, does a first post really gives people enough fame to act childish? If you want fame, post a interesting comment and be first with it.


teffy_pie
Posted 22 October 2008 at 09:24 am

Ratsoup said: "I was wondering about these "First post" etc thing. This is a site of an intelligent reader, does a first post really gives people enough fame to act childish? If you want fame, post a interesting comment and be first with it."

In Soviet Russia, website posts first comment on YOU! =)


vasechek
Posted 23 October 2008 at 12:46 pm

DuckFat said: ""The neighboring Norwegians are understandably nervous…"

Huh? Norway is over 1,200 miles away. Are Norwegians really that big a bunch of wussies? Are they afraid of radioactive reindeer running amok and eating all the Lutefisk?"

Yeah.... the neighboring Mongolians aren't nervous, so why would the neighboring Norwegians be?


shine2rust
Posted 23 October 2008 at 02:02 pm

DuckFat said: ""The neighboring Norwegians are understandably nervous…"

Huh? Norway is over 1,200 miles away. Are Norwegians really that big a bunch of wussies? Are they afraid of radioactive reindeer running amok and eating all the Lutefisk?"

vasechek said: "Yeah…. the neighboring Mongolians aren't nervous, so why would the neighboring Norwegians be?"

People... everybody neighbouring Russia is nervous. I'm sure Ratsoup agrees.


sachse
Posted 23 October 2008 at 02:14 pm

like the old Cheech and Chong skit..."good thing we don't step in it ! "


HiEv
Posted 23 October 2008 at 11:28 pm

helmett said: "Well done, take an article that has absolutely nothing to do with the USA and immediately attempt to throw us under the bus.

Blame America First!"


Yeah, because what happened in the former Soviet Union bears no resemblance to anything that's happened here in the US. Oh... wait... as GreyJackalLX and Radiatidon have pointed out, it does.

Well, unlike them, the US has never tried to cover up its toxic and radioactive messes, even at the expense of public health. Er... um... golly, it's done that too.

In case you don't get it, the point is that this kind of thing doesn't just happen in "backwards" places like the old USSR, it even happens in (formerly) rich super-countries like the US of A! Admitting the truth isn't "throw[ing] us under the bus" or a "Blame America First!" thing, it's a way of raising awareness that these kinds of things are very important issues that every country with nuclear power has to worry about.

Quit being so defensive. The US is a big boy, it can stand a little honest constructive criticism.

These are important issues, and this was a perfectly reasonable context to bring up these kinds of points.


HiEv
Posted 24 October 2008 at 12:04 am

sid said: "As for HiEv's comments, I think you may have missed something regarding the USSR. I'm not sure it ever did anything to protect its citizens. Everything was done to protect the USSR, and that often meant many citizens were considered expendable. [...] In fact, it was all to preserve, promote, and expand the power of those in control."

I'm sorry, but that's just an absurd caricature of the USSR that seems to be solely based in decades of US propaganda. The people who ran the USSR were human beings and citizens of that country. They had friends and family who lived in that country as well. It is absurd to suggest they never did anything to protect their citizens.

While it is true they had many problems that ultimately led to the collapse of their government, the reasons why people, corporations, and governments do things are almost always more complex than single, simple motivations, such as the one you're portraying. I recommend you do a bit more unbiased research before you make such broad smears of a government that helped defeat Hitler and lasted about seven decades, longer than most countries today.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 24 October 2008 at 04:38 am

There does seem to be validity to both stances, it appears we are as hard lined in some cases as the old party of the Soviet. While I am sure the Sec. General of the Soviet cared deeply for the People, the Sec. was guided buy a cause to promote the greatness of the USSR. Build big, grow big nuclear teeth, develop infrastucture all played into the "New Style" of the Soviet. From the late 10's well into the 80's the Soviets were a very busy people. They mirrored the history of the US, only moved much faster. They had their Revolution, Civil War, a Depression, Industrial Revolution, WWII, a great rebuilding much like a forced "westward expansion" where many relocated and were redistrubuted (albiet not on a completely voluntary basis), developed infrastrucure such as the Trans Siberian corridor (sharing a vision of Ikes plan for our highway system), a nuclear age/ arms race, a Space race (topped with a nationalistic pride for the hard work done by the People), development and funding of a fierce Olympic program, internal fear with a Vietnam style war in Afganistan which shook and challenged the views of all red loving Soviets and finally the first temors of the ball of Globalization begins to roll... How similar we actually are in some ways.
Now, dont get me wrong, I agree that as sid pointed out, there is a big difference in how these internal improvements were brought about. The consequences for speaking your mind had vastly different results for the average Soviet... The relocation and allocation was not brought about by free will and market forces, it was the vision of Stalin... So, while the "Revolution" was to benefit the loyal masses, it frequently over looked the needs of the individual and focussed on the scope of the project, the primary goal, the drive and goal being the project was for all people and that dwarfed the person. The old Vulcan premise "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or one..." seems to fit. After awhile, when your country is at a pinnacle where only a select few other countries reside, superpower, how do you feed your People the old throw off the shackles Revolution bit and the old hurry or the country will no longer exist bit?
At some point the Revolutionist party mentality is no longer applicable and the old guard established government routine has to step in, perhaps this is what we witnessed in the early 90's... so, as Marx or other Revolutionists pointed out, from the ashes of the old and the seeds of the new government, the next revolution emerges... after 70 or so years, they needed to put that concept under the table or that thought to displace the Government could bloom into a Rev. against the new masters, 2nd generation Communism rising up to bite itself in the butt!


sabik7
Posted 24 October 2008 at 09:04 pm

Note to self.......do not store radioactive waste in steel vats anymore.


Mjolnir
Posted 25 October 2008 at 04:07 am

I read this site often on my cell phone. It's been picking up some weird stuff, Allan. What is http://www.damninteresting.com/pharmay? You getting hacked, or what?


Mjolnir
Posted 25 October 2008 at 04:11 am

My apologies, I can't spell Alan. :( Also, do a view source of this article with comments and look at the bottom at all the hidden stuff. It isn't hidden when using Blazer as the browser.


Alan Bellows
Posted 25 October 2008 at 07:21 pm

Mjolnir said: "I read this site often on my cell phone. It's been picking up some weird stuff, Allan. What is http://www.damninteresting.com/pharmay? You getting hacked, or what?"

You were correct, sir/madam... some rotten spamming soul managed to sneak a bunch of hidden links into our page footer, and some files into our content directory. Blah. I removed the offending files, fixed the footer, and I think I found/fixed the security hole (an old WordPress hack).

I wish our new platform were done so we wouldn't have to deal with such things.

Superthanks for letting me know! Hopefully it wasn't there for long.


longarm
Posted 26 October 2008 at 05:02 am

Sorry Ratsoap,
I didn't mean to distract you by injecting humor into your
methodical high level thinking process.
Please forgive me.

http://www.hss.energy.gov/healthsafety/ohre/

I hope this will square us and you can get back to working
on your depression.


polossatik
Posted 27 October 2008 at 09:00 am

Mjolnir said: "I read this site often on my cell phone. It's been picking up some weird stuff, Allan. What is http://www.damninteresting.com/pharmay? You getting hacked, or what?"

All ok!
really hope you're be able to provide some more excellent articles on a bit more regular base :)
thankx a lot for all fun reading until now!


Ratsoup
Posted 28 October 2008 at 01:32 am

People… everybody neighbouring Russia is nervous. I'm sure Ratsoup agrees.

Sorry, I really wouldn't know, since I am not Russian nor do I live in Russia. My homeland Estonia was part of Soviet Union, so I am very familiar with all the horrors of the Soviet Union. I admit, I'm not an age to remember the era myself, but living among people who do has given me a pretty good picture. As for the locals knowledge of the Nuclear threat, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them had no idea about it. It's they way Russian things are, no one knows anything, and the officials don't comment things.


I'm sorry, but that's just an absurd caricature of the USSR that seems to be solely based in decades of US propaganda. The people who ran the USSR were human beings and citizens of that country. They had friends and family who lived in that country as well. It is absurd to suggest they never did anything to protect their citizens.

While it is true they had many problems that ultimately led to the collapse of their government, the reasons why people, corporations, and governments do things are almost always more complex than single, simple motivations, such as the one you're portraying. I recommend you do a bit more unbiased research before you make such broad smears of a government that helped defeat Hitler and lasted about seven decades, longer than most countries today.

I have to object on many levels. First off, Soviet Union higher officials weren't human beings. I even high ranking officials' families were sent to prison camps because of their nation or political opinion. Stalin wiped out all of his close politicians one by one with all family members. There is actually a picture of Stalin with all his close members of the party. After he wiped them out one by one, he had the people removed from the pictures one by one.

So Soviet Union helped to crush Hitler. And it did team up with Allies only because to survive itself. And because of that we can forget and look over all the crimes of this regime? Soviet Union sent 2 man with to fight the Germans with 1 rifle. The idea was, that if the one with the rifle got shot, the other could proceed taking the rifle from his dead friend. Solders who turned back were shot into the back instantly. Soviet Union deported over 30.000 Estonian citizens to Siberia AFTER the WW2. These people were the the intelligence of Estonia with all their families, all the people who were little bit richer etc. Some were dumped into the snow to die. I recall an incident my history teacher told me. All the families were taken, even infants. They had to walk on distances. One mother was too tired to hold her baby and stopped. The Soviet Solder next to her told her to keep moving. The mother started to cry because she was too tired. The solder then took the baby from her mother by just grabbing the baby's foot and tossed the baby into the woods. The Soviet regime did not care for it's people, and compared the damages it did with the Nazis, it's just as bad. Most of western society just doesn't acknowledge the crimes of Soviet Union because they helped to defeat Nazis. If you don't believe me, just google/read wikipedia about Soviet regime, and the you will see, that the number of people dead because of it is even bigger then Nazis numbers. And to think of it, this horror lasted upon the people 70 years. And now, it's sad to see Russia going backwards on the democratic ladder very fast. Having ex KGB agents as presidents has it's affects.

Dear longarm, neither your first posts, or the silly joke you made towards me are funny. I'm sorry. Maybe it's just me, but had to let you know.

I hope my post will open some eyes of the horror that has stayed in the background within the horrors of II WW.

Märt


scorchingthevortex
Posted 28 October 2008 at 04:08 am

Two Cents from Girth said: "More times than not I agree you Don. The extent to human suffering and flaws are wide in range and scope… one country that deserves credit for their program is the French. They have an above average record, have used nuclear power to greatly increase their electrical capacity and are the world front runners in nuclear plant construction.

There is an old joke about France: if you want to know the borders of France, just connect the locations of their nucleair facilities with a line. The reason? Any invading force launching an attack against France cant target them without automatically declaring war against all neighbouring countries.

So... no sticker for France.


StevFlem
Posted 28 October 2008 at 07:55 am

This was a Fascinating... um... I mean Interesting article. Thanks Allen... I am sure I won't be able to get a good night of sleep for days... I just know I'm gonna lie awake at night thinking about steaming hot groundwater (mmMMMmmm Hot Springs) and glow in the dark snowflakes WooHoo! Sledding and Skiing at night!!!! -- OK, Perhaps it won't be so bad... could be kinda fun!

All kidding aside, I think that anywhere men are given power over other men, there will be at least some abuse of this power; There will be some corruption. Some men are more resistant than others, but eventually the positions of power will be sought and won by people who are seeking power... and history shows us again and again that when selfish people are in power, they do things for selfish reasons... personal gain / power consolidation / power acquisition / wealth building / etc... things that often horrify people on the outside looking in. It all may even seem reasonable or justified to the ones doing it... "The ends justify the means". Sometimes the needs of the many do outweight the needs of the few or of the one, but that does not mean that it is always the right thing to do.

That being said, I also believe that many times people bring disasters upon themselves even though they had good motives, and were really trying to do the right thing... sometimes their decisions were based on bad information, sometimes they are just truly ignorant of the true consequences of this choice/that choice...

When bad things happen, I prefer to always give the benefit of the doubt, and assume the latter motivation until such a time as a clear pattern of behavior emerges. I may be an optimist, and I may even be wrong more often than I am right, but all in all, I certainly prefer this willful optimism to paranoia and seeing conspiracies behind every tree and bush.

I have no idea where that rant came from, but there it is, and I'm gonna post it now.

Have a nice day.


sid
Posted 28 October 2008 at 09:06 am

HiEv said: "I'm sorry, but that's just an absurd caricature of the USSR that seems to be solely based in decades of US propaganda. The people who ran the USSR were human beings and citizens of that country. They had friends and family who lived in that country as well. It is absurd to suggest they never did anything to protect their citizens.

I think many would dispute your characterization of Stalin as a "human being." I think "monster" probably strikes closer to home. As Ratsoup points out, being "friends and family" of the elite was hardly a guarantee of protection or preservation. The "friends and family" who benefited from their association were simply elevated to positions of power, and removed from the catagory of "expendable resource" the vast majority of those living under the control of the USSR were considered. Those "friends and family" deemed a threat or expendable were, well, expended. What is absurd is the idea that you could defend the leaders of the USSR by simply stating their obvious biological association with others who actually do care about their fellow "human beings."

While it is true they had many problems that ultimately led to the collapse of their government, the reasons why people, corporations, and governments do things are almost always more complex than single, simple motivations, such as the one you're portraying. I recommend you do a bit more unbiased research before you make such broad smears of a government that helped defeat Hitler and lasted about seven decades, longer than most countries today."

Thanks for the constructive advice. I've actually read quite a bit about the USSR, thank-you-very-much. I've also had quie a bit of anecdotal information bestowed upon me from folks who experienced the atrocities committed by the dictatorial leaders. You seem to imply these kind, gentle folks are simply misunderstood, and victims of honest mistakes and anti-USSR propaganda. You are certainly entitled to this opinion, but it is, in my opinion, tragically comical. I guess all the history books are wrong, and Stalin was really a swell guy. Estimates ranging from as low as 4 million to as high as 30 million victims of his repression must all be wrong. The Ukrainian Famine must have been just an "oopsie," and not the orchestrated catastrophe many allege it to be. And before you start talking about Stalin being just one man, for all practical purposes, he WAS the USSR government machine. Thus, I think my characterization of the USSR as an unfeeling entity that considered the people it lorded over as little more than chattel is probably a bit more accurate than your apparent depiction of "human beings" who were simply flawed.

Oh, and as for helping to defeat Hitler, try reading a history book. The USSR had an uneasy alliance with Hitler, until he decided to attack. Some say the USSR planned to attack Germany all along, seeing the conflict as inevitable. Whatever the reason, the fight between the USSR and Germany had far more to do with the USSR feeling threatened than any altruistic goal of helping the Allies in their struggle. The leaders of the USSR wisely saw an opportunity to expand its sphere of influence, and struck. And this action paid big dividends, as the USSR's uncaring, unfeeling governmental machine took over Eastern Europe, plunging that region into years of despotism and stagnation. But, hey, the government "lasted about seven decades," so it must be a good thing. Just imagine how great subjects had it under the Roman Empire. Sure, free people were subjugated and slaughtered, but look at the swell architecture! And lasting around 500 years? Why, that's more than seven times as long as the USSR! Those Romans must have been even more "human beingy" than the super guys running the USSR. And don't get me started on the super guys that ran the Mongol Empire, the Golden Horde, the Ottoman Empire, and the Aztecs, not to mention the colonial empires of the Brits, the French, and the Dutch. All operated longer than the USSR, so by your reasoning, they must have been extremely beneficial to all who lived under their control, and any mass enslavements, exterminations, etc., can just be excused because the folks in charge were also "human beings."


Bilbo
Posted 28 October 2008 at 10:03 am

Tremendously interesting and tremendously frightening. At a time when we are being encouraged to look at nuclear power as a safe and ecologically friendly source of energy, cautionary tales like this are important. While it is unlikely that anyone in the West would be as cavalier with such a deadly site as the Russians were at that time, the current economically radioactive mess on Wall Street makes me think that perhaps those we trust to do the right thing might not always actually do it. I wrote about the linguistic aspects of long-term storage of deadly waste in my blog a while back ... you can read it here: (http://bilbosrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/09/dont-dig-here.html) . The bottom line is that while we desperately need new sources of energy, we equally need to be safe and thoughtful about how we do it. Great post! Bilbo.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 29 October 2008 at 12:22 pm

scorchingthevortex said: "There is an old joke about France: if you want to know the borders of France, just connect the locations of their nucleair facilities with a line. The reason? Any invading force launching an attack against France cant target them without automatically declaring war against all neighbouring countries. "

Actually most of them are at the eastern border of France, and not because of threat of an invasion of any kind. It's simply that the prevalent direction of wind is from the west, so IF something should happen, most of the ugly stuff goes over the german border...
@Sid: Maybe not to generalize too much.
I guess most of the peoples conquered and subsequently ruled by rome didn't have it too bad. Remember those revolution guys in "The Life of Brian"? "What did the romans give us that we didn't have before?...


Lou*
Posted 29 October 2008 at 08:45 pm

"Over several months the water dwindled considerably, leaving the lake about half-empty (or half-full, if you're more upbeat)."

LMAO! Nice touch Allan! It brought me back!


scorchingthevortex
Posted 01 November 2008 at 10:06 am

Mirage_GSM said: "Actually most of them are at the eastern border of France, and not because of threat of an invasion of any kind. It's simply that the prevalent direction of wind is from the west, so IF something should happen, most of the ugly stuff goes over the german border…

That still doesnt earn them a sticker.


scorchingthevortex
Posted 01 November 2008 at 10:38 am

I guess most of the peoples conquered and subsequently ruled by rome didn't have it too bad. Remember those revolution guys in "The Life of Brian"? "What did the romans give us that we didn't have before?…"

Ofcourse in order to gain the exalted state of third class citizen in the Roman empire, a substantial percentage of your people would generally be wiped out in the process.

Not to mention the slaves taken from the survivors, forced tributes, partial outlawing of the culture and bestowing of new rules, and that the Roman Emperor would have to be worshipped as a god. And any objection to Roman rule would be met with devastation in the form of a slaughter.

Other than that, it wasnt too bad.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 01 November 2008 at 05:40 pm

scorching the vortex,
It is clear you dont like France...nor do I!!! Whether you have a sticker for France or not doesnt change the fact that their nuclear program saftey record is virtually unmatched, many nations model their saftey policies and reactor designs after the French. No offence Vortex, they dont need your sticker...


scorchingthevortex
Posted 02 November 2008 at 02:33 pm

Two Cents from Girth said: "scorching the vortex,

It is clear you dont like France…nor do I!!! Whether you have a sticker for France or not doesnt change the fact that their nuclear program saftey record is virtually unmatched, many nations model their saftey policies and reactor designs after the French. No offence Vortex, they dont need your sticker…"

Actually I do like France, alot. A nice country and the people arent bad if you dont act like a bloody tourist towards them.

I just dont like it when dangerous facilities are placed on borders.


goofy187
Posted 03 November 2008 at 02:33 am

Brilliant article. Love this site.

Waiting in anticipation for a new article though...it's been 2 weeks.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 05 November 2008 at 12:30 pm

scorchingthevortex said: "Ofcourse in order to gain the exalted state of third class citizen in the Roman empire, a substantial percentage of your people would generally be wiped out in the process.
Not to mention the slaves taken from the survivors, forced tributes, partial outlawing of the culture and bestowing of new rules, and that the Roman Emperor would have to be worshipped as a god. And any objection to Roman rule would be met with devastation in the form of a slaughter. "

Well back then there wasn't such a thing as the Geneva Convention or Amnesty International...
The romans didn't make a habit of slaughtering those they conquered. The lands were given to verteran soldiers as a reward, so the soldiers would have no desire to ruin it. They tried to integrate them into their society, and for the time they were doing a darn good job of it. Even the slaves were usually treated well, and their working conditions were better than those of workers in 18th and 19th century europe.
Of course, not being conquered at all is preferable, but as conquerers go they were quite decent. (I'm sure in the centuries of roman expansion you will find examples to the contrary (Carthage comes to mind) but those were more the exception tham the rule.
That still doesnt earn them a sticker.

Not going to give them one - I'm german^^
(Other than that I like the french a lot, though)


omdog
Posted 05 November 2008 at 12:41 pm

So is posting a once weekly, or a monthly thing? Perhaps mentioning something along those lines might be nice if you're not going to post updates like you had before. I found this site a little under a year ago and I've got to say, the reliability factor has had me questioning why I bother to keep coming back. I like what you do here, or Did here I should say, and I'd love to see you guys get back on a posting schedule. My job does not keep me engaged enough and I miss having good reading material with which to procrastinate.


mercurial
Posted 05 November 2008 at 06:22 pm

omdog - There is no set schedule for new articles. When there are no new articles, a past article is sometimes recycled, as I'm sure you'd know having been here a year.

I am sure we would all LOVE to have new article every week(!!), but do keep in mind that this site is not run for profit (notice there are no advertisments), and the authors do have many other commitments and responsibilities that must take priority. The quality of the articles here means that significant time and effort is needed to research and compose them - all for free - unless we choose to make a donation.

To churn out an article a week would surely mean a deterioration quality-wise, just given the amount of time available to the writers.

If you'd like another activity for procrastination at work, maybe think about writing an article yourself - everybody is welcome to apply to become a writer here. I am sure a lot of the people who post replies here have at least one or two ideas/events worthy of a Damn Interesting article.

Thankyou to all the DI team!


HiEv
Posted 07 November 2008 at 05:00 pm

sid said: "You seem to imply these kind, gentle folks are simply misunderstood, and victims of honest mistakes and anti-USSR propaganda. You are certainly entitled to this opinion, but it is, in my opinion, tragically comical."

You appear to have missed my point entirely, and are now misrepresenting me just as unrealistically as you are misrepresenting those who led the former Soviet Union. I'm not saying they were "simply misunderstood", I'm saying that they were three dimensional, complex, human beings, with both good points and bad points, rather than the two dimensional evil robots you're portraying them as. Yes, Stalin did a lot of evil and led to the deaths of approximately 20 million people, but he also led the nation to become the second world superpower. Just because someone says, "Soviet Union higher officials weren't human beings" doesn't make it true. Human beings do evil things sometimes, and certainly not all Soviet Union higher officials always did evil things. Some must have done some good or the country would have collapsed far earlier. What you're saying is just a false and biased stereotype, and it only serves to distort history, not to let you understand it.

But please, feel free to continue to ignore, distort, and mischaracterize what I say so you can go on pretending that they were merely unfeeling evil robots disguised in human flesh who never did anyone any good ever. Why let a little reality get in the way of some good old fashioned bigotry and hate?


cdagirl
Posted 07 November 2008 at 10:08 pm

Radiatidon said: "Remind you of the Radium Girls and corporate greed?"

That was my first though upon reading this article. I feel sorry for the people and all, but why does no one ever ask the animals for opinions when they do stupid things like this? It hurts them too.


sid
Posted 09 November 2008 at 09:43 pm

HiEv said: "You appear to have missed my point entirely, and are now misrepresenting me just as unrealistically as you are misrepresenting those who led the former Soviet Union. I'm not saying they were "simply misunderstood", I'm saying that they were three dimensional, complex, human beings, with both good points and bad points, rather than the two dimensional evil robots you're portraying them as.

Well, simply stating the obvious seems to be your only real talent, in this exchange. In general, yes, people tend to be multidimensional. I don't think I'd limit the dimensions to three, since we are talking about what makes a person a person, not simple spatial observations. They tend to be complex, which is another patently obvious observation. The point you are either missing or avoiding is that the leaders of the USSR were not, in my opinion, these complex types. They were, for the most part, brutish thugs with a rather singular focus of expanding personal power. In short, they were more evil robots than complex individuals with both good points and bad (which, ironically, is a rather two-dimensional way of looking at them).

Yes, Stalin did a lot of evil and led to the deaths of approximately 20 million people, but he also led the nation to become the second world superpower.

I, and many others, would say he caused their deaths, not "merely" did things that led to their deaths. And while the USSR became a superpower, its people hardly benefitted from this status. The majority lived in what could be described as third-world squalor. They didn't just lack many luxury items one would consider the staples of a superpower nation, but struggled for the bare necessities. Yes, the government was powerful and imposing, but the people suffered.

Just because someone says, "Soviet Union higher officials weren't human beings" doesn't make it true. Human beings do evil things sometimes, and certainly not all Soviet Union higher officials always did evil things. Some must have done some good or the country would have collapsed far earlier. What you're saying is just a false and biased stereotype, and it only serves to distort history, not to let you understand it.

Again, you raise a rather simplistic and obvious point. Did all USSR officials make it a point to commit an atrocity every day? Probably not. I doubt they woke up and immediately started drowning kittens. But the fact is that the USSR was a police state that trampled the basic human rights of its people. No free speech, no freedom to move about, no freedom to pursue the kind of life one wished to pursue. Everything was dictated by the government. Did some do good? Who knows? Perhaps you have an example. There are plenty of examples of the evil that was done, but if you want to offer something done that was good for the people, feel free. But implying some good must have been done simply because the government collapsed after about 70 years instead of 20, 30, or 40 is simply a silly argument.

But please, feel free to continue to ignore, distort, and mischaracterize what I say so you can go on pretending that they were merely unfeeling evil robots disguised in human flesh who never did anyone any good ever. Why let a little reality get in the way of some good old fashioned bigotry and hate?"

Again, a rather tired, simplistic, and ineffective argument. I'm merely offering my observations of what seems to be your perspective. I haven't ignored a single thing you've said (although you do ignore several of my points), nor have I distorted or mischaracterized what you have written. If you want to continue to argue that the USSR was good on some level for its people, feel free. I have yet to see you make a single point to bolster that claim. And your attempt at implying there must have been something good about Stalin ("he also led the nation to become the second world superpower") is truly absurd. Your reality is likely far different from mine, so that may be where we have the disconnect. I tend to believe the books I've read on the USSR (propaganda, in many cases, from people who lived under the boot of that particular brand of communism), as well as the people I know who either lived there or lived in countries that were subjects of the USSR. But I will concede that it is entirely POSSIBLE that some in the highest reaches of power were not COMPLETELY evil. For most, however, I would say that is highly unlikely.


sid
Posted 09 November 2008 at 09:47 pm

HiEv said: "You appear to have missed my point entirely, and are now misrepresenting me just as unrealistically as you are misrepresenting those who led the former Soviet Union. I'm not saying they were "simply misunderstood"

Oh, and you also don't seem to get sarcasm.


TanoPrime
Posted 11 November 2008 at 06:05 am

Ok, seriously now, this is weird.

The Google Maps link points to a place VERY far away from Norway, and extremely far away from the Arctic. Chelyabinsk is actually in one of the southern points of Russia, on the border with Kazakhstan, and very far away even from Ukraine.

So either Google Maps is incorrect, and Chelyabinsk is located actually in another area, and the lake also (you can find the lake yourself easily by just zooming in between the cities of Chelyabinsk and Ozersk, you'll see the cement lake straight away) - or Damn Interesting is correct.

But then, why put a wrong link in Google Maps. And if Google Maps is correct, how can you get the location so wrong in the article when you already have the Google Maps page linked to the article... ??

This is really confusing. I mean, this isn't like getting a few kilometers wrong - this is like skipping a bloody continent... the distance between Norway and the Chelyabinsk area is somewhere around the size of Europe itself. Heck, Chelyabinsk is closer to Iran and the Middle East than it is to the Arctic Ocean and Norway...


JimMcDosh
Posted 11 November 2008 at 06:41 am

Sounds like a lot of US lakes. I keep hearing about bad lakes on the news especially during Summer when the water warms up. Pretty sad indeed.


dantheman
Posted 20 November 2008 at 07:29 pm

How do the environmentalists reconcile the forests on the South Pole and other warm weather attributes down there with man made global warming?
Maybe that's why we haven't heard about this article.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 21 November 2008 at 03:38 pm

I don't quite understand what "forests on the south pole" have to do with global warming...
Yes, the poles were free of ice for great parts of the earth's geological history. Back then they sported forests and other vegetation and also animal life. That much is common knowledge and nobody is contesting the point.
From a geological perspective we are currently in what amounts to an ice age, and it would probably have ended on its own someday.
However such changes usually take hundreds of millennia not the scant few decades we are seeing now. The effect that humanity's burning of fossil fuels has on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is objectively measurable. The effect of higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations on the global climate is also well known and not disputed among scientists.
The fact that there once were forests at the pole is not an argument against antropogenic climate change.


allduerespect88
Posted 25 November 2008 at 03:52 am

cdagirl said: "That was my first though upon reading this article. I feel sorry for the people and all, but why does no one ever ask the animals for opinions when they do stupid things like this? It hurts them too."

Why does no one ever ask the animals for opinions? I mean I agree that they suffer from all this. But actually asking them what they think seem kinda fruitless. I just wouldn't hold my breath for a response.


scorchingthevortex
Posted 26 November 2008 at 09:18 am

dantheman said: "How do the environmentalists reconcile the forests on the South Pole and other warm weather attributes down there with man made global warming?"

The fact that people die naturally as well cant be used as legal argumentation during a murder trial. Why would records of ancient climate change automatically dismiss humanity's responsibility for the current one?

Without any polution, climate change might happen on its own, but whether it will happen in the next 100 years or the next 10000 years really, really, really, really matters. A lot.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 01 December 2008 at 11:47 pm

Mirage GSM,
I understand it is politically correct to ahere to our "conservation" debates but lets include all the facts/theories at our disposal; not just the pre/rehearsed dogma of the "not so enlightened".
First, let me let you guys in on the next generation of Archeology, it is underwater!! If you consider most of us (+-70%) live within 1oo miles of a seaboard, can you assume that was true thousands of years ago?? Some say yes and are being rewarded. Those few have unearthed harbors and cities 50 feet underwater! As exciting as it is, it sheds light on the warming history of our planet... as do glacier core samples which reflect and mirror known spikes in CO2 consentrations in our planets lengthy history, along with the rapid rise in temperature. What we have also seen is a rapid fall in CO2 consentrations accompanied by a severe cold snap. Perhaps we should watch the skies for that as well. I guess that would be counter to mainstream which would have us all in UV suits and flip flops in time for a winter blizzard...
We need to look at all of the information, then make an educated model on where we stand today... Are the SW lakes of the US drying?? Absolutely, we have 10's of millions drinking off them and 100's of sq. miles more crops being grown in the area, that would bring down lake and ground water levels wouldn't it... How about an aquaduct system from one major river to the next? One rivers flood is anothers cures for drought... I know, It would never work, it would save too much money and fix too many problems. A shame.
Anyway, back to CO2... the doom sayers of global warming dont tell you CO2 can be and is vented through our atmosphere, changes the model significantly doesnt it???
As for forests on the Poles, here is another sweet theory, polarity shift. This one rocks my boat because I usually like to keep thinking North lands have always been North; many credited in the actual field of Environmental Science seem comfortable with periodic shifts in alignment, rotation and polarity. All these seem to spell big change for us both in the past and our future...
I have yet to see or hear a credited scientist lecture on the human effects of Global Warming. I have heard many people go on about the subject but never an actual PHD, Professor or an Eminent Scientist that has accolades like Tiger Woods Trophy room. I have been around academia and it seems just about everyone in the Environmental Field would jump at the chance to publish 20 books, become chair of the University, speak at enlightened forums (usually lunches w/ big $s for little plates), grab all kinds of awards and recognition and some healthy grants. So, where are they??? The poster child is a politician?? It is not that I disagree Warming is happening, that is obvious and has been before we ever considered industrializing. I also believe our ability to gather info has dramatically improved over the last 100 or so years.
What I disagree with is that the price tag for all this doesnt even come with a guarantee anything will change... it is more a money gathering gimmick than an actual pure spitied fix for the Earth!!! Also, many of staunchest Environmentalists i have met are born in the wool city folks. From their perspective, I would agree nature is scarce, but when driving from one end to the other of this country, there is still alot of wide open space where nature does just fine.
I'd be all for human population control to stem the tide of the humans footprint, but see that would interfere with rights, liberties and other highly sensative politically correct foundations.
Hopefully, something can be done about this gross disparity before nature begins mimicking Wall Street, you remember Wall Street? The place where they always yell no Government regulation or interference! Where did that place and those people go??? :)
I just think environmentalism should not be made a catch word for corporations, because if the money goes out of "Green" I still want our open spaces protected by our common sence, laws and Parks Departments. One of the early jobs of our Calvary was to protect our National Parks, our military did that job for over 30 years before the term and position Park Ranger surfaced. It is not the job of business to protect our Parks, Natural Resources or our discoveries of the unravelling secrets of our plantet...


Mirage_GSM
Posted 06 December 2008 at 09:01 am

First of all, I'd like it on the record, that I am not an environmentalist. In fact I spend much of my professional life debunking the junk some environmentalists spout, but I do give them credit when I think they are right.

I understand it is politically correct to adhere to our "conservation" debates but lets include all the facts/theories at our disposal; not just the pre/rehearsed dogma of the "not so enlightened".

While political correctness IS an issue in my job, scientifical correctness is more important. If you have additional and/or contradicting theories, I'd be glad to give them consideration.
First, let me let you guys in on the next generation of Archaeology, it is underwater!! If you consider most of us (+-70%) live within 1oo miles of a seaboard, can you assume that was true thousands of years ago?? Some say yes and are being rewarded. Those few have unearthed harbours and cities 50 feet underwater!

I've heard about those. In fact two of them have articles here at DI. Last time I checked, it was still debated among archaeologists whether those are artificial structures or products of natural erosion. Let's assume for the sake of argument, that they are in fact sunken cities. The one close to Japan would have to be dated at about 10.000BCE at the time of the last Ice Age. No one is contending the fact that sea levels were a lot lower then than they are today, so I don't see why this should be evidence against anthropogenic global warming.
As exciting as it is, it sheds light on the warming history of our planet… as do glacier core samples which reflect and mirror known spikes in CO2 concentrations in our planets lengthy history, along with the rapid rise in temperature. What we have also seen is a rapid fall in CO2 concentrations accompanied by a severe cold snap.

Again, this is not contended among scientists. Except perhaps for the fact that when a geologist talks about a “rapid rise in temperature” his definition of “rapid” is probably not the same that we would have in mind. There are some spikes that would probably be classified as rapid be laymen as well, but those were nearly all caused by (or the cause of) extinction events (e.g. Asteroid impacts), so I would not cite them as evidence for the harmlessness of climate change.
Are the SW lakes of the US drying?...

No comment. My knowledge of US geography is only rudimentary ;-)
...the doom sayers of global warming don't tell you CO2 can be and is vented through our atmosphere, changes the model significantly doesn't it?

I don't quite get your point. Yes, CO2 is a regular component of the atmosphere – the air we breathe. This fact is sometimes omitted out of ignorance, but I don't see a reason why it should be intentionally kept secret. It is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere which (together with other factors) influences the greenhouse effect. A higher concentration of CO2 means an increased greenhouse effect. This is well known, and meteorologists the world over have included the CO2 concentration in their models.
Between the 1960s and 2007 the atmospheric CO2 concentration went up by about 20% (source wikipedia; exact number may vary depending on point of measurement).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_the_Earth%27s_atmosphere
As for forests on the Poles, here is another sweet theory, polarity shift. .... All these seem to spell big change for us both in the past and our future…

I admit I never did much research into Geomagnetic Reversal, but after a quick look at the corresponding wikipedia page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal ) I can't see any relevance at all to global climate change. Apparently the only influence a polarity shift is expected to have is wreaking havoc with electromagnetic communications. This could admittedly be quite a problem, but not one which pertains to this discussion.
I have yet to see or hear a credited scientist lecture on the human effects of Global Warming. I have heard many people go on about the subject but never an actual PHD, Professor or an Eminent Scientist that has accolades like Tiger Woods Trophy room. ... So, where are they? The poster child is a politician?

Maybe you don't visit the right lectures. I have heard accredited scientists lecture on the subject. To date the best and most informative lectures I attended were one by the head of the german Senckenberg Natural History Institute ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senckenberg ) - a geologist, and the leading meteorologist of the DLR ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Aerospace_Center ) - an institution that is very rarely accused of being environmentalist.
If the media prefer to publicise the pseudo science of Al Gore, it is because he is more famous than most scientists and his alarmist message sells better.
What I disagree with is that the price tag for all this doesn't even come with a guarantee anything will change… it is more a money gathering gimmick than an actual pure spitied fix for the Earth!

You are right. Even if we go to extreme lengths in reducing our CO2 emissions we have no guarantee that it will be enough to stop global warming. To be able to reverse what has already happen is almost too much to hope for.
However if we do nothing we HAVE the guarantee that things will get pretty ugly pretty soon.
Also, many of staunchest Environmentalists i have met are born in the wool city folks. From their perspective, I would agree nature is scarce, but when driving from one end to the other of this country, there is still a lot of wide open space where nature does just fine.

Absolutely no argument from me here ^_^


William Butcher Cutting
Posted 16 December 2008 at 06:37 pm

Good bit of news on a covered up tragedy and I enjoyed it, thanks, BUT lets lay blame for this madness where it deserves to be, at the foot of those Wall Street thugs namely Jacob Schiff and pals who financed Stalin/Lennin and Trotsky's little Bolshevik revolution for personal gain of sorts, and later in history we find that around 1943 guess who started Russia down this path of nuclear chaos, low and behold we did, and we read;

"Major George Racey Jordan, an officer in the United States Armey during the Second World War, was the officer in charge of the transfer of the Lend lease supplies through the Great Falls, Montana, air base. It was here that the planes were loaded with the transferable goods prior to being flown to Fairbanks Alaska, where the planes were flown into Russia by Russian pilots. Major Jordan, curious by nature opened various briefcases and cartons, and saw various words he was not familiar with on various papers : uranium, cyclotron, neutron, cobalt, and plutonium.

In addition Jordan discovered various reports from OAK RIDGE, MANHATTAN District (it was the manhattan project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the American scientists were developing the plans for the Atomic bomb) containing phrases like 'energy produced by fission.' Jordan also discovered.....at least three consignments of uranium chemicals....nearly three quarters of a ton.

Confirmed also was the shipment of one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds of uranium metal at the time when the total American stock was 4.5 pounds ! These findings meant little to Major Jordan until 1949, when Russia exploded their first Atomic bomb. it was then he realized that he had been witness to the transfer of the materials and plans for the construction of Russia's atomic bomb. And this occured in 1943. Major Jordan's charges were corroborated by a {NON-FICTIONAL } Novel written by James Roosevelt, the son of Franklin Roosevelt, in 1980. The dust cover of the book describes the contents of the novel, entitled A Family Matter.

President Roosevelt makes a bold secret decision---to share the results of the Manhattan Project with the Soviet Union....The novel details how President Roosevelt gave Russia the plans for the atomic bomb in 1943 and 1944.

Our leaders gave the Russian leaders the technology to advance their agenda as well as our own, American traitors are in part responsible for the pollution described above and the harm to innocents living along the river. Of course the purpose of these events is far more sinister in detail and to lengthy a topic for here. But in a nutshell the Cold War was a brilliant hoax, which led to more world powers for certain regimes and intelligencia agencies at home and abroad. And think for a moment, history lied to us again, in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima blasts we had the technology to detonate the Atom bomb, on the surface of the earth only, the geometric trigger assembly was beyond those men at the time, the bombs dropped were magnesium flash bombs loaded with uranium blocks. The bombs had been set off on the surface both times.

Brilliant strategy which made the world think twice of messing with the American again and lasts to this day. To prove this perspective one needs only read Eric Jon Phelps Vatican Assassins III ; Wounded in the house of my friends...1836 pages with 4000 pages of references and another 2000 references throughout the entire work. Wall Street controlled the Russian just like they controlled the U.S. government via London Bankers.


Silverhill
Posted 19 December 2008 at 04:24 pm

William Butcher Cutting said: "Confirmed also was the shipment of one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds of uranium metal at the time when the total American stock was 4.5 pounds!"
1 kg of uranium would have done essentially nothing for the Russian efforts. What was needed was many hundreds of kilos, which were in use in the Oak Ridge separation plants by late 1943. The Russians could have smelted a lot of uranium by their own efforts without needing a "starter" amount, especially one so small.

"And think for a moment, history lied to us again, in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima blasts we had the technology to detonate the Atom bomb, on the surface of the earth only, the geometric trigger assembly was beyond those men at the time, the bombs dropped were magnesium flash bombs loaded with uranium blocks. The bombs had been set off on the surface both times."
This is ridiculous, several different ways:
(1) The triggering of an atomic bomb does not depend on where the bomb is (whether on the ground, above it, or below it); it's simply a matter of initiating a chemical explosion.
(2) If by "the geometric trigger assembly" you mean the spheric-implosion configuration used for plutonium-based bombs, it was not "beyond those men at the time". It was first used by those men at 05:29:45, 16 July 1945, at the "Trinity" site in New Mexico. The yield was approximately 20 kt. It was next used about 1000 feet over Nagasaki.
(3) No amount of magnesium that can be carried by an aircraft could produce the light that was seen over those cities. And no amount of (stable) magnesium at all could liberate the gamma radiation that killed or sickened many Japanese there.
(4) Exactly what good would blocks of uranium do in an air-burst flashbomb? The uranium might ignite, maybe, but not much and to no real effect.
(5) If the detonation happened on the ground, how were there two powerful shock waves experienced by the aircraft? (This could only happen if there were one directly from the aerial burst, and one reflected from the ground.)

The author of your book needs to do some reviewing, both of history and of physics.

"...low and behold we did,"
Please learn the difference between the interjection "lo" and the adjective "low".


Suchros
Posted 04 January 2009 at 11:02 am

Uh, I might be totally off with my geography, but I think that lake might be really bad for arctic ocean, Norway etc...

I don't know what you did as kids (I read about this stuff in 5th or so grade, 1975 or so - so I am not so sure any more-I am no geologist/biologist of any kind). I will also not spend time searching-I guess author'll correct me if I'm wrong now(!), but I still remember (no, I'm not Russian or anything) we did draw stuff about where rivers lead all over the world. Sometimes they go to odd places (like non-asian side of Ural...).

So nobody, nobody considered - even after all this time - that water might flow that way ? I just ran googlemap and I think it might end up near novalja zemlja (east of Caspian after all). Now think about the halflife of that radioactive stuff you spread on us all... and be scared. If it ever, ever moves anywhere. Might be southwards, too.

Anyhow one'll propably always have some kind of trouble with superpowers (even if you only share a fraction of the east/west border we do-oh of course you do if you're EU &not .fi) as their neighbor.
Duly note last major one-our firetrucks couldn't go help stop forestfires burning in Russia (fires coloring our large and clean country dirty for a long time)... Oh, yes we can still drink from the rivers (and many lakes) although we don't :)


TwicKeR
Posted 06 January 2009 at 04:40 am

William Butcher Cutting said: "Good bit of news on a covered up tragedy and I enjoyed it, thanks, BUT lets lay blame for this madness where it deserves to be, at the foot of those Wall Street thugs namely Jacob Schiff and pals who financed Stalin/Lennin and Trotsky's little Bolshevik revolution for personal gain of sorts, and later in history we find that around 1943 guess who started Russia down this path of nuclear chaos, low and behold we did, and we read;

"Major George Racey Jordan, an officer in the United States Armey during the Second World War, was the officer in charge of the transfer of the Lend lease supplies through the Great Falls, Montana, air base. It was here that the planes were loaded with the transferable goods prior to being flown to Fairbanks Alaska, where the planes were flown into Russia by Russian pilots. Major Jordan, curious by nature opened various briefcases and cartons, and saw various words he was not familiar with on various papers : uranium, cyclotron, neutron, cobalt, and plutonium.

In addition Jordan discovered various reports from OAK RIDGE, MANHATTAN District (it was the manhattan project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the American scientists were developing the plans for the Atomic bomb) containing phrases like 'energy produced by fission.' Jordan also discovered…..at least three consignments of uranium chemicals….nearly three quarters of a ton.

Confirmed also was the shipment of one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds of uranium metal at the time when the total American stock was 4.5 pounds ! These findings meant little to Major Jordan until 1949, when Russia exploded their first Atomic bomb. it was then he realized that he had been witness to the transfer of the materials and plans for the construction of Russia's atomic bomb. And this occured in 1943. Major Jordan's charges were corroborated by a {NON-FICTIONAL } Novel written by James Roosevelt, the son of Franklin Roosevelt, in 1980. The dust cover of the book describes the contents of the novel, entitled A Family Matter.

President Roosevelt makes a bold secret decision—to share the results of the Manhattan Project with the Soviet Union….The novel details how President Roosevelt gave Russia the plans for the atomic bomb in 1943 and 1944.

Our leaders gave the Russian leaders the technology to advance their agenda as well as our own, American traitors are in part responsible for the pollution described above and the harm to innocents living along the river. Of course the purpose of these events is far more sinister in detail and to lengthy a topic for here. But in a nutshell the Cold War was a brilliant hoax, which led to more world powers for certain regimes and intelligencia agencies at home and abroad. And think for a moment, history lied to us again, in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima blasts we had the technology to detonate the Atom bomb, on the surface of the earth only, the geometric trigger assembly was beyond those men at the time, the bombs dropped were magnesium flash bombs loaded with uranium blocks. The bombs had been set off on the surface both times.

Brilliant strategy which made the world think twice of messing with the American again and lasts to this day. To prove this perspective one needs only read Eric Jon Phelps Vatican Assassins III ; Wounded in the house of my friends…1836 pages with 4000 pages of references and another 2000 references throughout the entire work. Wall Street controlled the Russian just like they controlled the U.S. government via London Bankers."

Yup, looks like you included it all ......

Oh wait, you forgot to mention the part about how the holocaust never happened. :)


TwicKeR
Posted 06 January 2009 at 04:45 am

Mmm, I should also mention that basic logic would tell us that if the previously used nuclear bombs infected such a huge area with radiation, their massive amounts of waste could never be contained safely diluted in a small lake. I'm not so sure the Americans are to blame here.


molfluon
Posted 17 April 2009 at 06:10 am

TwicKeR said: "Mmm, I should also mention that basic logic would tell us that if the previously used nuclear bombs infected such a huge area with radiation, their massive amounts of waste could never be contained safely diluted in a small lake. I'm not so sure the Americans are to blame here."

They knew something like this would likely happen. They just didn't care. All that mattered was getting atom bombs asap. If you read a bit of Soviet history you'll find out they were staggeringly ruthless and had a total disregard of individuals.


U-530
Posted 25 April 2009 at 08:06 pm

"If"... How I hate the very word.
I'm an ordinary seaman. I'm spending my small vacation looking with hope and sadness at the never changing list of articles at "Damninteresting".
I never cease to wonder at what kind of monstrous greed rules the world. An atomic vessel or sub can cruise for months in the open sea without bothering about the fuel.
Imagine just four atomic passenger subs cruising between Canada and USSR. The tickets could cost 0 bucks 50 cents or something around this amount from my calculations.
Archangelsk could be the seaport to operate with such kind of vessels. Besides, what could be more fun than a deep-sea excursion on a high-speed sub...
Yet, the ever-insatiable military forces of our countries do not see they could benefit from such a project. They would never let it happen. And we, having all these powers, have to pay a round sum for the air tickets. By the way, atomic airfleets seem to have the same fate... How sad...


angryratman
Posted 04 December 2009 at 09:16 am

"In their haste to begin production, Soviet engineers lacked the time to establish proper waste-handling procedures"

Sounds like where I work...


BostonBakedBean
Posted 11 September 2011 at 12:18 pm

Fukashima...the new winner in Nuclear Disasters.


Maraud
Posted 22 March 2012 at 12:37 am

BostonBakedBean said: "Fukashima…the new winner in Nuclear Disasters."

Yeah....


dmitri k
Posted 03 January 2014 at 08:31 am

in russia any computers i couldnt even open this site , some block under russian federation so i used hidemyass dot com and i noticed more facts about chemicals ...f frightened me


Silverfin1222
Posted 05 March 2014 at 08:06 am

Please everyone stop pretending that the US is great! Anybody remember Bikini Atoll? The innocent little island in the south pacific that the US owned and then we suddenly decided to use it for nuclear testing. During the 40's and 50's the US detonated 23 devices. The island natives are STILL trying to get the radioactivity out of there land!


suminfinity
Posted 29 July 2014 at 09:32 am

leob said: "I'm not sure the Tsar Bell is a specimen of military might."

ha-ha it is not at all. The opening paragraph "salivating over" is also an uneducated simplification of history. Makes you wonder about the fact checking in other stories. will not recommend this website.


Sam
Posted 14 August 2014 at 08:51 am

*face-palm*


END OF COMMENTS
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