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Latest Chernobyl Motorcycle Photos 951

wrx writes "Elena has taken another motorcycle ride through the Chernobyl area, and has updated her site with a whole lot of new photos and text. The pictures now show several surrounding towns, the radiation level of the magic wood, and many more details inside buildings. After the dust had settled from the original slashdot story, Elena wrote 'who are those slashdot people? they swept over like Mongol-Tartars.'"
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Latest Chernobyl Motorcycle Photos

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  • by azuroff ( 318072 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:23PM (#8686200)
    I'm counting around 100 or so hits every few seconds...

    We'll show her who "those slashdot people" are.
  • Soaking up the gamma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NatlLabGeek ( 601460 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:24PM (#8686205)
    I can't even imagine the dose she's soaking up. I look at the reading she's showing in pictures and she's taken up my YEARLY dose in HOURS. Is it really exciting enough to give away years of your life for a helluva ride?

    Then again, I chase storms.

    Go with God, girl.
    • by b0r0din ( 304712 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:32PM (#8686248)
      Some people smoke. Others drive their motorcycle through the worst nuclear incident of all time. In my opinion, the second one sounds much cooler. For some reason Snow Crash comes to mind.
    • by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:37PM (#8686273) Journal
      Not so sure. You probably get about 300 mR/year and you may get way more. For example, if you smoke you get an additional 1000 mR/year (1 R/year) in addition to all the other things in the tobaco.

      Also, 300 mR is only enough to increase your risk of cancer by 0.01 %, i.e. it's not going to take any time off your life (unless you happen to be the one in 10,000 who gets cancer as a result of that additional exposure, and even then, your chances of dieing are only 1 in 2).

      • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:47PM (#8686347) Homepage Journal
        I'm not sure a motorcycle ride is worth even a 1 in 10K chance of getting cancer. But then, I'm not a biker.

        But to continue the relative risk theme: visiting a meltdown dead zone is not they only way to expose yourself to radiation. There's living in a house made of brick. (Not very much, I admit, but some.) There's living in a poorly ventilated house that's over a Uranium deposit. And of course, there's sunbathing or visiting a tanning salon, which Elena's pastime look positively healthy!

        • by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:55PM (#8686400) Journal
          Living in a home made of brick (as I do) will increase your dose by about 30 mR/year. On the other hand, living in a poorly ventilated house over a soil rich in Uranium can increase your dose by about 1000 mR/year. This is all in the United States NRC's (not online) NuReg 1401.
        • by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:01PM (#8686438) Homepage

          As a motorcycle rider, I can tell you that the increase in safety margins she enjoys riding on empty roads is probably 1000 times greater than the increased health risk the radiation poses. That's not all that clear. Look at it this way - "cell phone chatting back seat kid swatting speeding paying no attention to anyone else cause I have the biggest SUV in town" type drivers are a much greater risk than elevated radiation levels. On a bike, she's definitely safer in the Dead Zone than in a poplulated zone.

          On a side note, women who ride motorcycles (as driver not passenger) are undeniably the most alluring of all. I'm in love!
          • by angst_ridden_hipster ( 23104 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:13PM (#8686520) Homepage Journal
            Hey, as a potter, you're probably getting a few handfuls more radiation than the general populace just by virtue of your glaze materials.

            But then, if you do exclusively anagama, that's not a problem.

            I had a high school physics prof bring in some happy yellow Fiestaware bowls that she bought in New Mexico when she was working on the bomb. That yellow was from the Uranium Oxide in the glaze. Those things got the Geiger counter screaming, I can tell you. "How'd you like to eat your Wheaties from that?" she'd ask.

            I often wonder what isotopes my cobalt carbonate or manganese have in 'em...

          • by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:44PM (#8686677)
            I'm not so sure she's safer.

            The obvious potential hazard of the radiation aside, she has mentioned riding at high speeds as well as animals on the road slowing her down.

            One of the mostest important aspects of driving or riding safely is expectations. A bike racer can expect that if he follows the leader at 180mph, and is only separated from his rivals back tire by an inch or two, he is in most regards, safe. You cannot do that while riding in public.

            Elena's biggest safety risk may very well be "the unexpected".

            • by shadowbearer ( 554144 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:05PM (#8686777) Homepage Journal
              Elena's biggest safety risk may very well be "the unexpected".

              On a bike (hell, anywhere in life, really) that is nearly always the demon factor that gets you... damned near got me once, twelve years ago, going into a series of S-turns that I'd been thru many times, and some dickhead had spilled pea gravel all over the low side of the bank - apparently spillover from shoulder maintenance.

              Trashed the bike, but I more or less walked away. I was goddamned fucking lucky, tho.

            • by wcdw ( 179126 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:32AM (#8687410) Homepage
              As a long-time rider, I can assure you that any bike rider's biggest safety risk is _ALWAYS_ the unexpected. This is just as true in racing (what happens when the lead bike blows a gasket?) as it is in street riding.

              Although Elena's site focuses more on the result than the process, I get the impression that she is an experienced rider, and thus cannot fail to be aware of that.

              There ARE only two kinds of motorcycle riders, after all -- those that have had accidents, and those that will. (And the two are NOT mutually exclusive, what's worse. ;)

              But one doesn't ride a motorcycle because one is concerned about one's safety among all else, either....

              (I echo an earlier poster's sentiments about the appeal of women who ride!)
      • by omarin ( 322924 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @05:33AM (#8688100)
        One thing that people are forgetting is that, like it or not, radioactivity is EVERYWHERE. Even before our nuclear age, nature has been putting out radioactivity. Unfortunately many of us don't know this fact and act like hypochondriacs when the topic is mentioned. Here is a list of natural radioactivity (from various web sources):

        1. Our bodies: about half of the radioactivity in our bodies comes from Potassium-40 (naturally-occurring radioactive form of potassium.) Potassium is important for the brain and muscles. Most of the rest of our bodies' radioactivity is from Carbon-14 and tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen. These naturally-occurring radioactive substances expose our bodies to about 25 "millirem" per year, abbreviated as "mrem/yr".)

        2. Radioactivity in food and water: for example, the radio- (and non-radio) active forms of iodine and sodium. The food we eat contains radium-226, thorium-232, potassium-40, carbon-14, and hydrogen-3, also known as tritium.

        To quote a web page: The U. S. Department of Energy gives the following concentrations as examples:

        • Salad Oil 4,900 pCi/l
        • Milk 1,400 pCi/l
        • Whiskey 1,200 pCi/l
        • Beer 390 pCi/l
        • Tap Water 20 pCi/l
        • Brazil Nuts 14.00 pCi/g
        • Bananas 3.00 pCi/g
        • Tea 0.40 pCi/g
        • Flour 0.14 pCi/g
        • Peanuts and Peanut butter 0.12 pCi/g.

        3. Flying: Flying in an airplane increases our exposure to cosmic radiation. A coast-to-coast round trip gives us a dose of about four millirem.

        4. Living at higher altitudes: Generally, for each 100-foot increase in altitude, there is an increased dose of one millirem per year. (So, San Francisco vs. Boulder, for example)...

        5. The rocks, soils and beaches around us are radioactive: In Ohio, radiation in soil and rocks contributes about 60 millirem in one year to our exposure. In Colorado, it is about 105 millirem per year. In Kerala, India, this radioactivity from soil and rocks can be 3,000 millirem per year, and at a beach in Guarapari, Brazil, it is over 5 millirem in a single hour -- but only a few residents who use that beach receive doses in excess of 500 millirem per year.

        6. Radioactivity in our homes:
        A: If you live in a wood house, the natural radioactivity in the building materials gives you a dose of 30 to 50 millirem per year.
        B: In a brick house, it is 50 to 100 millirem per year.
        C: In a tightly sealed house with little ventilation, natural radioactive gases (radon) can be trapped for a longer period of time and increase your dose.

        7. People/coworkers: Each person with whom we spend eight hours a day gives us a dose of about 0.1 millirem in a year.

        8. Cooking: Using a gas stove can increase the dose by about two millirem per year because of radioactive materials in the natural gas.

        9. Smoking: A person who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day receives a radiation dose of about 1,300 millrem per year. This is because polonium (a radioactive element) is part of the smoke and when inhaled, it gets trapped in the lungs.

        10. Misc: There's also the sun, and medical X-rays...

        Basically, on the whole we need not fear natural radioactivity, as our bodies evolved to cope with it (cellular repair). What we need to fear/respect is man-made radioactivity and its waste products, because when human error/greed/fallibility get involved, that is when man-made radioactivity bites us in the ass...
    • by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:42PM (#8686308) Journal
      Wait a second! she is showing readings of less than 1 mR/hour. Power plant workers can work in 1 mR/hour for the entire year and not exceed NRC's strict 2 R/year limit. In otherwords, this is nothing. Parent poster doesn't know what he is talking about.
      • by Aglassis ( 10161 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:59PM (#8686429)
        You said: " Wait a second! she is showing readings of less than 1 mR/hour. Power plant workers can work in 1 mR/hour for the entire year and not exceed NRC's strict 2 R/year limit. In otherwords, this is nothing. Parent poster doesn't know what he is talking about."

        The NRC limit (see 10 C.F.R. []) is 3 rem per quarter, and 5 rem per year. A rem is a weighted [] roetgen (R). The weighting factors are used because while a roetgen measures the energy deposited, a rem measures the physical damage (exposure versus dose). An example of a weighting factor is a gamma will have a factor of 1, while a fast neutron may have a factor of 20. So a 1 mR/hr exposure rate will give you 1 mrem/hr for gammas, and 20 mrem/hr for fast neutrons.
    • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:45PM (#8686336) Journal
      At least she's documenting her journeys. IMHO, the most interesting thing about her picture is not the radiation, but that the whole place is preserved from the Soviet era. Sort of like a depopulated Pompeii, without all the digging.
    • by gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:46PM (#8686341) Journal
      The highest reading she shows or talks about is 3 mR/hr. This is only 30 times higher than the levels in Grand Centeral Station, and is many times less than a number of natural locations [].

      Sorry, I'm not trying to karma whore, but my day job relates to getting people not to be affraid of radiation, so seing this post have such high mod points is really getting to me.

    • She's doing fine. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by douglips ( 513461 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:51PM (#8686373) Homepage Journal
      Roentgens, the unit used in her journal, measure ionization of the air. The general conversion is that 1 Roentgen = 1 REM, the unit we use for human radiation exposure in the US.

      In one transcontinental roundtrip flight, you get 6 millirem, which is equal to 6000 microroentgen. Her little counter is reading microroentgen per hour, so she can go somewhere where her counter is reading 500 and it's just like she's sitting on an airliner at 35000 feet.

      Your yearly dose is about 300 millirem, so in order for her to soak that up in hours, as you claim, she'd have to sit somewhere that her counter reads 100000 or more. She's being very smart. If she were walking around without the dosimeter, she could get in trouble.

      This is what she means when she says people fear what they don't understand. Once you understand the risks involved, you see her radiation exposure is much less risky than, say, smoking, or even riding motorcycles at all.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:34PM (#8686257) Journal
    Re Giant Egg []: "big egg as we passing 86th kilometer we'll see this big egg. This is where civilisation ends and where Chernobyl ride begin. Someone brought this egg from Germany. The significance of this egg is LIFE that will break through, life that will survive through radiation."

    I don't think that symbolism will work. People instead will think of Giant Mutant Chickens and run like hell.
  • Reminds me of (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jediman1138 ( 680354 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:35PM (#8686264) Homepage Journal
    the recent Danny Boyle film 28 Days Later.

    While the evacuated scenes of London in the film don't have the wear and tear of a few decades of desertion like Chernobyl does, it kind of gives you a representation of what it might be like to be there.

    Scary stuff...What's our world coming to?


  • by daddy norcal ( 734037 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:37PM (#8686276) Homepage
    The pictures and story she has on her site are quite simply amazing.

    Being an American kid at the time of the incident, I was fairly well removed, both politically and geographically, from the disaster, but Elena's pictures serve as a reminder of just how terrible and far reaching the effects of the meltdown were. From the initial coverup to the resulting FUD pumped out by the Russian government during the aftermath, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that this event displaced tens of thousands of people, and many more are still dealing with the legacy or horrors the fallout has inflicted.

    Kudos to Elena and the editors for a great human interest story.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:39PM (#8686287) Homepage
    "They swept over like Mongol-Tartars."

    And so you post her to the front page. Again. That's just spiteful.

    You can't buy this kind of publicity, but you are sure going to pay for it. Hopefully the bill falls on anglefire and not our friend on the bike.

    • by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:02PM (#8686446) Homepage
      Hopefully the bill falls on anglefire and not our friend on the bike.

      Me too. Its a rather sad state of affairs when someone like Elena takes the time, fuel, and a camera along and lets the rest of the world see what its really like, and then might have to pay for the bandwidth to boot.

      For the visual information that came out of her camera, I'll gladly forgive her occasionaly poor command of the english language. The pictures tell the story far better than any amount of words anyway. I followed the whole site, wondering when the server was going to melt down like it did the last time, apparently before I even got there, but this time it held up quite well.

      Many thanks to a totally cool lady. And to the hosting site for putting up with the rest of the geek world that represents the average /. reader.

      Cheers and many thanks Elena, Gene
  • by ( 450073 ) <xanadu&inorbit,com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:40PM (#8686295) Homepage Journal
    'who are those slashdot people? they swept over like Mongol-Tartars.'

    The Nazgul.
  • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:41PM (#8686298) Homepage
    Come on, this is slashdot ... motorcycle riding photo-snapping babe through nuclear wasteland ... show me a geek that isn't drooling by now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:43PM (#8686317)
    "in year 1986 a guy named Akimov pushed wrong button and launched the biggest nuclear catastrophe ..."

    Hmm, looks like they had a Russian version of Homer Simpson working there. He was probably looking for the "donut button".
  • I for one.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:45PM (#8686334)
    think she'd make a great candidate for a slashdot interview.....
  • Soviet calendar? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by klui ( 457783 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:48PM (#8686356)
    Looks like they only show 6 days/week. Why is this?? e21.3.JPG []
  • how ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by boomka ( 599257 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:57PM (#8686413) Homepage Journal
    In the last picture in chapter 9, there is this big slogan across the room. In Ukrainian, it reads:
    "Long live communism - the bright future for the whole mankind!"

    Truly, you may never know how the words you say today will be _seen_ tomorrow.
  • by Dr. Mu ( 603661 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:01PM (#8686437)
    This is the most profound and disturbing story I've ever seen here. It underscores, where words alone are hopelessly inadequate, the depraved hubris in thinking we've "tamed the atom". My kudos to the editors for choosing to post it!
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Snarfvs Maximvs ( 28022 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:08PM (#8686483)
    She's hot, she rides a motorcycle, and she has an accent.

    I think I'm in love.

    Of course, our kids will each have 9 heads. :-(
  • Exposure levels (Score:5, Informative)

    by earthforce_1 ( 454968 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:09PM (#8686492) Journal
    From back.p df
    20,000 millirem will mutate DNA enough to produce noticeable health effects. Above 100,000 millirem, diseases manifest.

    10,000 millirem is enough to increase your cancer risk.
    5,000 millirem per year is the maximum allowable annual dosage.

    25,000-100.000 mrem - Temporary blood changes
    35,000 - Loss of appetite, nausea
    50,000 - Temporary sterility in males
    100,000 - 2x normal incidence of genetic defects
    100,000 - 300,000 - Vomiting, diarrhea
    300,000 - 500,000 - 50% chance of death if not treated
    300,000+ - Permanent sterility for females
    400,000-1,000,000 - Acute illnes, death within days if not treated.

    Her meter was showing over 800 millirem per hour, when she was standing a few hundred metres from the reactor.

    I am facinated by these pictures, I would love to (briefly) visit these places, but I fear she will do herself serious harm over time. The area is an incredible time capsule.

    • by Faeton ( 522316 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:46PM (#8686695) Homepage Journal
      800 millirem per hour might sound like a lot, but I don't think she's going to hang around there long. What I would be worried about is the radioactive particulate that still might be around. Once it gets into your lungs, that's bad news because both beta and alpha radiation can wreck havoc on your insides. Gamma isn't as big as a deal (since it just usually goes through stuff anyways).

      I work at a nuclear power plant, and there are fields in certain places that go upwards to 25 REM/h. So, what do you do? Don't stand near it and get your buddy to (unknowingly) shield you!

      • heh. this is one of those few nuclear topics that I can actually comment on.

        those numbers that are being quoted are for a burst dose -- ie you get it all at once. the effects change if you get a continuous, lower dose to the same levels.

        I'm currently in the Navy's Nuclear Engineer school (2 more weeks and hopefully I'll be a certified nuclear engineer! hooray!). I don't have the numbers memorized, but this is along the lines of what they tell us (and yes, it's unclassified):

        1 Rem = 1 mRem (milliRem)

        The following are effects from burst doses

        • 1 Rem

        Prognossis: Excellent
        Effects: none
        Treatment: tell the guys he's a dumbass for thinking there's a problem

        • 25 Rem

        Prognossis: Excellent
        Effects: none
        Treatment: have him see a doctor just to make sure, but there's still really no problem. possible rise in chance to get cancer.

        • 100 Rem

        Prognossis: Good
        Effects: headache. 5% chance of vomitting within 4 hrs.
        Treatment: seek medical attention.

        • 500 Rem

        Prognossis: OK
        Effects: headache. 50% chance of vomitting within 2 hr. 5% chance of death within 4 months.
        Treatment: seek medical attention immediately.

        • 1000 Rem

        Prognossis: Guarded
        Effects: headache. 100% chance of vomiting within 1 hr. 50% chance of death within a short period (can't rememebr the time).
        Treatment: better get him to a doctor NOW!

        • 5000 Rem

        Prognossis: hopeless
        Effects: headache. 100% chance vomitting within 30 min. 100% chance of death within 48 hrs.
        Treatment: Give him sedatives. Call the morgue.

        For those that are curious, the guys on K-19 probably got more than 5000 Rem.

        And what do these mean? here are some numbers to compare against:

        I work daily 15 feet from an operational reactor (I work on US submarines).
        my exposure last month: 4 mrem.
        my lifetime exposure: .106 (approx 1/10) Rem. (I've been doing this job for 2.5 yrs)
        The radiation levels in the Reactor Compartment 15 minutes after shutting down the reactor: ~50 mRem/hr (avg)

        a day at the beach: 10 mRem per day
        smoking for a year: 1 Rem
        standing next to a bag of fertilizer: 2 mRem / day
        eating a banana: 4 mRem each

        those numbers are mostly from betas and gammas. alphas only affect you if you get them inside you, which is why smokers get so much radiation, and neutron mostly is (a) really low-level and (b) passes right through you.

        so what's my point?

        1. I get less radiation from work that I do from living.
        2. those numbers that they got from Chyrnobl are HUGE, but they can't happen on US Naval Reactors. Even if we were to completely melt down and spray our stuff all over the place, we would still be relatively clean (we use tiny reactors; we only need to power a 300' boat to 25+ knots, we don;t need to power an entire metropolis). besides, the most likely time that would occur is if we get hit with a depth charge, at which point's we'll sit on the bottom of the ocean and get covered with a whole hell of a lot of water! :-)

    • Re:Exposure levels (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phanatic1a ( 413374 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:28AM (#8687168)
      Her meter was showing over 800 millirem per hour

      No, it wasn't. It was showing 800 microroentgen per hour.

      One of the things that confuses people about radioation are the different measurements.

      A roentgen is the amount of X or gamma radiation needed to deposit in dry air 2.58E-4 Coulombs per kilogram, or roughly 100 ergs per gram.

      Rads are the absorbed dose, the amount of energy actually absorbed in a material. 1 rad is equal to 100 ergs per gram.

      Rems are the equivalent dose, a relationship between the absorbed energy and actual biological damage. Take the rads, multiply by a quality factor which is based on the type of radiation under discussion, and you the get rems.

      A Curie is the unit of radioactivity, one Curie being equal to 37,000,000,000 radioactive decays per second.

      Flip over to SI, and you have Grays as the absorbed dose (1 Gy = 100 rads), Sieverts as the equivalent dose (1 Sv = 100 rem), and Becquerels as the radioactivty (3.7E10 Bq in one Ci).

      Her meter was showing 800 microroentgen per hour. That's gammas and x-rays, by the way. Those have a quality factor of 1; they're very penetrating, but also chargeless, massless, and very small, so they have a weak interaction cross-section. 800 microroentgen per hour translates to 800 microrads per hour, which when you multiply by the quality factor of 1 is, surprise, 800 microrem per hour.

      So to get "maximum allowable annual doseage" (allowable by whom, exactly?) of 5,000 millirem, she'd have to hang around the reactor for 260 days, which is about 2/3rds of a year to begin with. I don't think she's going to be doing herself serious harm.

      And the alphas and the betas? Lousy mean free path through air.
  • by haggar ( 72771 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:27PM (#8686592) Homepage Journal
    Maybe a place of historical heritage... Fact is, it's not really suitable for people to use it for living, and won't be, for the foreseable future. But even if it was, living there would almost be like desacrating a graveyard.

    Quite interesting that the author (the biker girl) confirmed what I thought all along: the place has become a heaven for wildlife. Animals don't care about shorter life expectancy, as long as they are freed from the intimidating human presence.
  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:30PM (#8686601)
    Since the powers that be at Slashdot have once again shown what inconsiderate boobs they are, as have some of the readers of Slashdot (I can't believe you bastards that reload the poor girl's page just to see how fast the hit counter goes up), I have set up a mirror at: []

    My bandwidth may not be free, but I have a hell of a lot more of it than she does.

    I have mirrored the whole site, as far as I can tell, except for the hit counter. The children among you have shown why its not good to have a public hit counter.

    You whould think that a group of people who like to preach "information should be free" would try to have a little more respect. Information may be free, but unlimited bandwidth and server space is not.
  • by Cranx ( 456394 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:38PM (#8686641)
    This was the best Slashdot article I've read to date. It's got a pretty young Russian girl riding around on a Ninja motorcycle through uninhabitable nuclear disaster areas taking pictures of everything, including herself. That pretty much does it for me.
  • thanks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnrpenner ( 40054 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:42PM (#8686664) Homepage

    just wanted to say 'thanks elena -- for being our eyes into this fascinating wasteland'.
    your photo-journal is one of the most haunting things i've ever seen.
    safe speed be with you.

    john penner

  • by snStarter ( 212765 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:18PM (#8686840)
    I found myself worrying about surface contamination as she walked through the buildings and on the tires of her motorcycle. She wasn't wearing gloves as she walked through the buildings nor booties.

    She was very concerned about monitoring the direct radiation but what she might have stirred up is another issue. I hope she checked.
  • by squarooticus ( 5092 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:35PM (#8686917) Homepage
    ...of the Elephant's Foot [] below reactor number four.
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:56PM (#8687005)
    That's one of the coolest, neatest, most awe inpsiring things I've ever seen on Slashdot. I'm not sure why exactly, but it is :-)

  • by WindPwr ( 256720 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:39AM (#8687216)
    I recently worked on a project with a group of radiologists at the research university I'm employed by to develop an expert system to more quickly train operators of portable ultrasound imaging equipment. This group is part of a world wide organization of physicians dealing with the long term irradiation effects of hundreds of thousands of people exposed to Chernobyl's fallout. Specifically, detecting thyroid cancer with ultrasound requires much experience and there is great urgency to speed training to detect these cancers early before they become too advanced for successful treatment. This group began monitoring residents in the fallout area shortly after the accident was made public. Children exposed then are now beginning to show higher rates of thyroid cancers.
  • by RayBender ( 525745 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:19AM (#8687354) Homepage
    I will admit that along with every other geek on /. I'm madly in love with this hot, hot biker chick. I guess I'm glad she didn't take this picture []. Yes, that's a chunk of the reactor fuel itself.

  • by Sanat ( 702 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:50AM (#8687474)
    Back in the early 80's a small town - Times Beach, Missouri was found to have dioxin sprayed on the dirt streets and caused the government to buy out the whole town and relocate everybody.

    It is eery to drive down I-44 just outside of St. Louis and see this town that is totally deserted. just sitting there...

    I've moved from the area since so have not seen it in a few years so don't know what it looks like today, but it was said that the streets contained 2,000,000 times the amount of dioxin considered to be a dangerous level.

    People living there would rake up dead birds and animals died at an alarming rate. over 50 horses died at a single stable from the spraying.

    Now it is just a ghost town frozen in time from the early 80's.

    A massive cleanup was to be put in place collecting the dirt, processing it and later putting back the cleaned dirt... but it may be a never ending project.

    Any locals from St. Louis area care to elaborate further and update what is going on and if the town is still there?

    • by freshmkr ( 132808 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @03:50AM (#8687840) Homepage
      Back in the early 80's a small town - Times Beach, Missouri was found to have dioxin sprayed on the dirt streets and caused the government to buy out the whole town and relocate everybody.

      Any locals from St. Louis area care to elaborate further and update what is going on and if the town is still there?

      Contaminated soil and other debris from Times Beach was completely incinerated by 1997. The buildings and houses were leveled years before that. Know what you mean, though--when I was a kid, I used to hold my breath when we drove by on 44.

      Googling for "times beach cleanup" turns up this PDF summary []. A quote:

      The Times Beach cleanup has been completed. All residents and businesses were permanently relocated, the purchase of the remaining parcels by FEMA has been completed, and the ownership of the parcels of land has been conveyed to the State of Missouri. The demolition and disposal of the structures at Times Beach has been completed. Excavation of dioxin-contaminated soils, interim placement in temporary on-site storage, and final destruction of site contaminants by incineration has been completed. Thermal treatment of dioxin-contaminated soils from Times Beach and other sites was completed in June 1997, and the site has been restored to a state park.


  • Chernobyl body count (Score:4, Informative)

    by infolib ( 618234 ) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @04:33AM (#8687960)
    Quoting chapter 6 []:

    Some tell that 400.000 dead, soyuzchernobyl report of 300.000 people that died since 1986 and this is not over, in 30 years people will still die

    These numbers are WILDLY inflated! The number of deaths from radiation are probably rather in the dozens. Check here [], or here []
  • by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) * <> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @05:54AM (#8688146) Homepage Journal

    Subject says it all, really. She would make a great subject for a short documentary movie, taking a ride through the dead zone and talking about it. I would pay to watch it. I might even invest in it. It wouldn't cost very much to make.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers