April 22nd, 2009

A little light reading

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.