In December of 1986, scientists at Chernobyl, searching for nuclear fuel from the destroyed Reactor #4, made a breakthrough.
Deep in the basement of Block 4, an enormous, radioactive mass was discovered. The radiation level on the surface of the mass was 10,000 roentgens per hour. To approach it directly would mean certain death, so a crude, wheeled camera was rigged up to take a look. The mass was two metres across, and several tons. Because of its shape, it was christened “The Elephant’s Foot.”
The mass appeared to be corium - a lava-like molten mixture of portions of nuclear reactor core, formed during a nuclear meltdown. It consists of many things: nuclear fuel, fission products, control rods, structural materials from the affected parts of the reactor, products of their chemical reaction with air, water and steam, and, in case the reactor vessel is breached, molten concrete from the floor of the reactor room. Analysis showed that sand from the reactor area had absorbed the hot nuclear fuel and fused into glass. The discovery of The Elephant’s Foot gave scientists, for the very first time, the idea that an enormous amount of nuclear fuel escaped the reactor in this form.
Continuing on my Chernobyl curiosity, the Elephants Foot is the thing of nightmares. I am amazed that they even got this close, considering the first camera they tried to use was destroyed by the radiation this things emits. Truly scary stuff!
From high-end tourism to one of the world’s most ambitious engineering projects, strange things are happening at the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, which could still kill plenty of people.
Great article. I never get tired of reading about Chernobyl, where one of mankind’s worst disasters seems to be a genuine mix of fact and fiction.
So, finally changed up the themes on both blogs, along with the avatar for this’un. I’ll add more to it over time. Even included a nifty feature where I can include my Instagram feed. Nice!
(The other blog is imonmybreak.tumblr.com, in case you were wondering)
Feedback is welcome and appreciated. :)