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Old May 19th, 2017, 02:27 PM   #1801
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30 years after Chernobyl, the long, slow cleanup continues....

The Daring Laborers Who Sandblast Chernobyl’s Radioactive Metal


THE EXPLOSION OF the Chernobyl nuclear power plant blanketed a vast swath of the western Soviet Union with radioactive fallout. Thirty years later, 1,600 square miles of northern Ukraine and southern Belarus remains a wasteland except for the hardiest wildlife, a small holdout of elderly citizens, and industrial workers, some who roam the countryside scavenging radioactive metal. They dismantle the abandoned equipment, railroads and buildings that still stand, sandblasting away any irradiated material and consuming lots of vodka.

“There’s this belief that vodka cleans everything,” says Pierpaolo Mittica, who spent two months following the scavengers for his photo series The Radioactive Gold of Chernobyl.

Chernobyl blew on April 26, 1986 in a disaster that forced 200,000 people from their homes. Entire towns stand vacant in an exclusionary zone that extends up to 60 miles from the plant. Prospectors started pillaging the region for valuables, and by some estimates, they’ve retrieved at least one million tons of metal. The Ukrainian government eventually granted licenses to recycling companies, which decontaminate the scrap and sell it throughout Europe.

Some reports claim grinding radioactive metal can lead to cancer, while others say the risk of radiation is are low.

* * *

Although some of the workers shunned protective suits, Mittica wasn’t taking any chances. He donned a gas mask, and occasionally availed himself of the vodka. “Obviously to protect myself from radiation,” he says. Obviously.

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Old May 19th, 2017, 07:32 PM   #1802
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1,600 square miles of northern Ukraine and southern Belarus remains a wasteland except for the hardiest wildlife
That sounds very misleading. There are plenty of videos of people on tour within sight of the plant with plenty of greenery, and others going quite close while monitoring radiation readings. Maybe I can't map "1,600 square miles" very well with ground level video, but the line sounds more like an agenda presented as an innocuous scene setting statement.

This is one of those topics where the scrutiny of claims is quite low. Ideology drives the coverage. If it turns out the statement is accurate for, say, 100 square miles, or "hardiest wildlife" means all wildlife except a few specific animals, the source can simply say that any amount of impact is bad and they wanted to start a conversation.
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Old Yesterday, 11:15 AM   #1803
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Burning ice. Brings to mind the cover of that old Styx album, Equinox.

China and Japan find way to extract ‘combustible ice’ from seafloor, harnessing a legendary frozen fossil fuel

Quote:
Commercial development of the globe’s huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as “combustible ice” has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the seafloor off their coastlines.

But experts said Friday that large-scale production remains many years away — and if not done properly could flood the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Combustible ice is a frozen mixture of water and concentrated natural gas. Technically known as methane hydrate, it can be lit on fire in its frozen state and is believed to comprise one of the world’s most abundant fossil fuels.
OK, ain't buying the whole climate change garbage. Nonetheless, ultimately probably cheaper than renewables & certainly more dependable.
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