Last night, through a path that actually made some sort of sense at the time, I found myself on the Wikipedia entry for the Chernobyl disaster. I can't vouch for the factual accuracy of the page, but it passes the sniff test. I found it an utterly fascinating read-- the chain of fuckups that produced this catastrophe is truly stunning.
The timing of it is one of the most fascinating things to me:
"At 1:23:04 a.m. the experiment began."
"With reactor output rapidly increasing, the operators pressed the AZ-5 ("Rapid Emergency Defense 5") button at 1:23:40"
"At 1:24, 20 seconds after the SCRAM was ordered, the first steam explosion took place"
"A second, more powerful explosion occurred about two or three seconds after the first:"
That's like one minute of elapsed time between them starting the experiment and having the biggest nuclear incident in history. Wow.
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