TETXA13 ERVER A Journal of Free Voices May 30, 1986 One Dollar A HARD RAIN Chernobyl to Comanche Peak BY BETTY BRINK The chances of a real [nuclear] calamity are infinitesimally small, but if it does happen, the consequences are unimaginable. Edward Teller, U.S. nuclear physicist “They came . . . and took us here. I took some things, two or three little blankets and pillows,” she explained in Russian with a heavy Ukrainian accent. “We had just built a new home,” she continued, and then she started crying. Marina Ilchenko, 80 years old, a former resident of the Opachichi Collective Farm, 17 miles from the Chernobyl nuclear plant, as reported by the Associated Press Fort Worth AND NOW IT has happened. The “incredible accident.” The one that was never supposed to happen. The accident believed by nuclear proponents, such as Dr. Teller, to be so improbable as to be “too incredible” to consider, has in fact happened. It was a belief so institutionalized, so rigorously promoted by our government for over 30 years that the whole nuclear power industry grew up around it. And no amount of near misses, not even Three Mile Island which came within hours of a total meltdown and is considered by nuclear opponents and a few victims in Pennsylvania to be the first “incredible accident” could shake that belief. Dan Hubig How many Chernobyls will it take before the dangers of nuclear power and official secrecy about those dangers bring a thorough re examination of the nuclear industry? But for Marina Ilchenko and thousands of Russians, discussions of the probabilities against such an accident have literally gone up in smoke, and the consequences of that accident are now, unfortunately, all too imaginable. THE CHERNOBYL nuclear power plant, a cluster of four reactors 80 miles north of Kiev in the Soviet Ukraine, has had one reactor burning out of control since April 26, when a loss of coolant accident, probably triggered by a power failure, raised the temperatures in the graphite-moderated reactor to such degrees that the graphite began to burn; explosions followed, and 200 tons of nuclear fuel burning out of control for days began to send lethal doses of radiation plutonium 239, strontium 90, cesium 137, and iodine 131, among the most deadly into the skies over the Soviet Union, onto the people and the countryside around Chernobyl, and eventually to us all. Now the melted uranium core, a huge molten mass of radioactive poisons, is believed to be melting through the reactor’s concrete foundation, into the earth \(weighted down by 4000 tons of irradiated sand and lead dumped on the burning fuel in an effort volunteer workers dig and pour concrete furiously around the core and under it, trying to contain the whole mess before even more horrendous explosions and contamination occur. \(Continued on
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