Reading: Midnight in Chernobyl

The books title recounts the events of the explosion of unit 4 of the reactor complex. A lot of  the disaster was caused by an overzealous testing engineer and the fact that the Russian RBMK reactors used graphite which burns.

The book is by Adam Higginbotham. It’s subtitle is “The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster.”

Indeed it was – when a huge reactor explodes it’s usually a huge conflagration. I”m only 117 pages into he book but a couple facts emerge. The designers of the RBMK reactor – they KNEW it could explode and suppressed it from being printed in the manuals for the reactor. That in my mind is criminal negligence.

And the other thing that emerges is the human propensity to downplay a disaster. It seems this is what I’d term a Charlie Foxtrot or Cluster Fuck from the design through implementation and operation. All of it.

I mean sure we’ve seen other nuclear disasters, Three Mile Island, Fukushima and so on. But to really make it one for the history books, it took the Russians and Ukrainians. I mean come on even the firefighters had no idea what they were doing or in fact dealing with when chunks of the reactor were strewn everywhere. I love books like this btw. It allows you to see the man behind he curtain so to speak.


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