Monday, May 20, 2019

Follow-Up on Chernobyl

As many of you suspected, the actual energy available in the potential steam explosion at the Chernobyl power plant was not in the megatons-of-TNT range. It would have been dramatic and it would have been large enough to disrupt the other reactors. It would have ejected a large quantity of the remaining core into the atmosphere and resulted a larger and more radioactive fallout zone. But it would not have been, as reported, in the 3 to 5 megaton range.

The best discussion on the topic I have found so far was at physics.stackexchange.com.

It isn't the show that came up with the reported numbers, though, so I am still open to further explanation. Here's an older interview reporting the high numbers.

1 comment:

Beans said...

Well, it would be like dropping the world's largest frozen turkey into the world's largest turkey fryer.

Bad. Real bad.

And in a lot of ways much more dangerous than a controlled nuclear explosion. The dirtiness of the resulting steam-punt of material would have been devastating.

So, yeah, thinking about it, megaton levels of boominess would not have happened. But it would have been bad enough.