The Chernobyl Experiment - part
By J. Adams
April 23rd, 1996
quickly realized there was something seriously amiss. In fact, all
the inconsistencies and contradictions pointed to one logical
explanation: the Soviets and Iraq were engaging in large-scale
strategic deception (see my paper, "The Persian Gulf Deception").
The reason they would be doing this was clarified after examining the
rather frightening conclusion of our national security analysts
during the late-1970s and early-1980's: the Soviets were preparing to
fight and win a nuclear war (see: Richard Pipes' "Why the Soviet
Union Thinks it could Fight and Win a Nuclear War" in 'Commentary'
(July, 1977), Dr. William Van Cleave's "Soviet Strategic Nuclear
Forces and Goals: Deception and Surprise" in 'Mesmerized By The Bear'
(1987), and/or 'Soviet Strategy for Nuclear War' (1979), authored by
Joseph Douglas). Of course, with remarkable fear-induced
irrationality, Western society has completely ignored the possibility
that Gorbachev's "New Thinking" may have been the introduction of a
total lie rooted in the unthinkable "Russian Idea" (see Alexander
Yanov's 'The Russian Challenge and the Year 2000' (1987)). There is,
however, sufficient reason to believe this is the case.
April 7, 1996
"A Legacy of Wormwood"
By Mary Myco
"...The third angel sounded and there fell a great star
from heaven, burning, as it were a lamp, and it fell on the
third part of the rivers and upon the fountains of water;
And the name of the star is Wormwood; and the third part of
the waters became Wormwood, and many men died of the waters
because they were made bitter."
TO CONNECT the third biblical sign of the Apocalypse to the 1986
nuclear disaster at the then-Soviet power station 80 miles north of
Kiev, you first have to pronounce that station's name as the
Ukrainian: "ChOrnobyl," rather than the generally accepted:
A Russified version of a Ukrainian word, " Chernobyl" doesn't even
appear in either language's dictionary. Nor will you see it on the
road signs in the contaminated 36-mile-wide Zone of Alienation
circling the gutted reactor. Since Ukraine inherited the Rhode Island-
sized region from the late Soviet Union in 1991, all the "e's" have
been taped over with "o's" to spell "Chornobyl."
Chornobyl is the Ukrainian word for wormwood, a medicinal herb
endowed with magical powers in folklore. And it truly became a force
to conjure after the Chornobyl station's fourth reactor exploded on
April 26, 1986. The cloud of radioactive wormwood subsequently spewed
around the globe seemed like a bitter foretaste of the nuclear
holocaust that would end the world.
Luckily, the world is still here. But viewed through the crystal
ball of hindsight, the disaster did herald doom for the Soviet Union.
Like the badly designed Chornobyl reactor, the Communist empire
collapsed under pressure, and the 20-story "sarcophagus" encasing the
radioactive reactor core in concrete and steel seems like a fitting
tombstone for both.
Eventually, someone will have to devise a semiotic danger sign to
ward off the unsuspecting in future millennia, when our languages will
have been forgotten but the mess inside the sarcophagus will still be
For now, the real epitaph is two miles away in the ghost town of
Pripyat, where a mural on one of the dozens of modern high-rises
vacantly overlooking poplar-lined streets proclaims:
"The Party of Lenin,
The power of the people,
Leads us to the triumph of Communism!"
Instead of triumph, the Party of Lenin led the 45,000 people of
Pripyat, plus 90,000 more from villages and towns in the contaminated
Polissia region, to abandon their homes permanently.
Now, it will take more than two centuries for the cesium and
strontium contaminating most parts of the Zone of Alienation to decay
away. The deadly plutonium in the six-mile ring closest to the reactor
will, as a practical matter, last forever.
Small wonder that no more than 10,000 people work (but rarely live)
in the Zone these days. Almost all are in two different places named
Chornobyl: the nuclear station, where two controversial reactors Kiev
promises to close are still running, and the town 12 miles away, where
the administration of the Zone of Alienation performs its dystopian
task of running the no-man's land.
The work has incentives. Wages are double to triple the Ukrainian
average, while radiation exposure rules limit work to just two weeks a
But I still had my doubts. "Don't you worry about the radiation?" I
asked my tour guide, Oleksandr Shevchenko.
"Most of the time there's no danger," he assured me. Like all Zone
men, he was dressed in camouflage. The uniforms are a nod to male
workers' sartorial simplicity rather than safety. Women wear whatever
But everyone wears one of the clip-on dosimeters that Shevchenko
showed me. "I don't want to know what it reads," he said, explaining:
"If I reach my yearly exposure, they wouldn't let me work here. So if
I'm here, I must be OK."
Actually, on the day I visited, the background radiation in most
parts of the Zone was normal. After 10 years, 95 percent of the
radioactivity has sunk about an inch into the soil, securing it from
being blown about in surface dust. Snow, too, is a shield. My winter
visit was no accident.
I expected a desolate wasteland. In fact, the Zone is very much
alive. The removal of 135,000 humans has created a wildlife refuge
with a population explosion of perfectly healthy-looking boar, moose,
deer, wolves and smaller animals. I even spotted a rare golden eagle
soaring above the treetops in the six-mile innermost ring, drawn by
the abundance of prey - and the lack of people.
Because cesium and strontium have long since passed from the soil
into the food chain, both the prey and the predators are radioactive.
And if a cesium-packed roebuck bounds out of the Zone into a
neighboring forest and dies, its body will leave a patch of
contamination where there had been none before.
That's just one way that radionuclides, or radioactive atoms, move
around in the wild. Scientists call the process "migration" and try to
prevent it by immobilizing radionuclides in one place where a
metaphorical eye can be kept on them.
Soil isn't one of those places. Aside from insinuating themselves
into the food chain, radionuclides can eventually migrate down to the
water table. But early efforts to decontaminate soil with radiation-
absorbing plants created a new problem: disposing of the harvest.
Smoke from burning would be radioactive. And burial isn't an option
either because there is already too much contaminated garbage in the
Zone's 800 leaky "graveyards."
That's why so much "hot" debris, such as the huge concrete blocks
that spell out the slogan, "The Forest is the Source of Health," still
stand in the same place as 10 years ago.
Like nearly everything in this symbol-laden landscape, that sign
from a pre-Chornobyl forestry farm has acquired new meaning. Trees, it
turns out, are the best and cheapest way of immobilizing
radionuclides, which concentrate in bark where they can safely decay
away in the centuries of a tree's lifetime. The danger then becomes
fires, such as the one that raged through the Zone in 1991.
Once upon a time, according to folklore, the biggest danger in
Ukrainian forests was from woodland nymphs called mavky. Mavky lured
their victims with beautiful songs, then tickled them to death. For
reasons folklore doesn't explain, the only way to ward off mavky was
with wormwood, an herb they feared immensely.
Now, 10 years after Chornobyl, few people venture into the wormwood
forests of the Zone. Mushroom and berry picking are forbidden; so is
hunting. But for the rangers who work in the woods, clearing out
deadwood and fighting the radioactive fires that deadwood can start,
there's at least one consolation for the risk: They needn't worry
about mavky anymore.
The following was taken off of the network news:
10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHERNOBYL CATASTROPHE:
THE DECISIVE FACTS MUST AT LAST BE BROUGHT INTO THE PUBLIC
On April the 26th the catastrophe of Chernobyl will be ten years
ago. Again numerous commemorative articles will be published, and
there will be demonstrations. But the very backgrounds of that
catastrophe, which lie open, at least for a considerable part, will
not be dealt with there. We consider it necessary to carry exactly
these facts into the public, which also inevitably shall shed an
essential light upon the whole green campaign and the movement against
nuclear power stations, even alone by their being laid open. This
incident, this catastrophe was actually instantly used by the whole
green movement and by all parliamentary parties to demand "instant
stoppage" of nuclear energy in the Federal Republic of Germany. This
relationship between a catastrophe of a nuclear power station abroad,
in the present case in the Soviet Union, and an especially heavy-
weighted campaign in this country needs indeed to be examined. For
this purpose the publication of the backgrounds, among other things,
is very helpful. We demand unambiguously an end to the virtual
withholding of these facts in the public.
Still during the same year 1986 are published a Soviet report about
the technical details as well as publications by the IAEA
(International Atomic Energy Agency) and by the German Association for
Reactor Safety (GRS). Except for a short-time mentioning of the main
results by some renown newspapers, the reports are not dealt with in
the public, especially not by the media which are decisive for the
broad public. Therefore here we go into the details of the Russian
report and its peculiarities. Already then, during summer 1986 it
became clear that the security systems of the reactor were put out of
operation within the framework of experiments, and that a heavy
manipulation of the reactor had been undertaken. This in turn led to
-The report of the Soviet State Committee-
The report itself contains a sequence of extremely rude interventions
into the reactor, of systematic setting aside all provided security
installations, so that one must ask oneself what was in the mind of
the operators when they manipulated the reactor in this way and
executed the most daredevil "experiments" with it. The report on the
one hand depicts numerous details of the technical process in this
way, in order to sum up the event by the completely unsuitable and
appeasing terms of "operating mistake" or "breaking of operating
instructions" and in this way to evade all decisive questions. The
IAEA, by the way, is an instrument of the so-called Atomic Weapons
Nonproliferation Treaty and as such covers up, as it were the most
natural thing in the world, the nuclear hegemony of the then two
"Superpowers", which means that the supreme nuclear powers are
entitled to control all the remaining countries, but not the other way
Many questions, concerning the responsibility for the incident, the
origin of explosions at the reactor remain unanswered, or in the best
case are being fobbed off with vague hypotheses.
The reactor was consciously driven into an extremely dangerous
situation, a situation known for its dangers, and then on top of it
all the complete security mechanisms were put out of operation -
allegedly for the purpose of carrying through this experiment, even if
the report additionally professes that at least some of these
switchoffs were not at all necessary for this experiment. Under such
conditions, according also to the knowledge of that time, one could
not but know that one exposed the reactor to a dangerous situation,
proceeding from which unknown big catastrophes became probable.
Nothing, nothing at all has the catastrophe to do with a coincidence
of unfortunate accidents. On the contrary. What was conducted there,
must have lead directly to a ruinous accident, exactly as driving a
car with a speed of 140mph arround a corner very probably leads to
carrying the car out of the track.
For some pages the report reads in the following manner: here they
undertook this forbidden manoeuvre and violated that rules, and in
order to make the experiment possible at all, this and afterwards that
security device was put out of operation.
The immediate cause of the desaster was an alleged experiment to use,
for internal requirements, the current of the turbogenerator coming to
a stop. First of all in general it is astonishing that such a reactor
fully equipped with radioactive fuel rods is said to be used by its
crew as a simple "test object", normally for experiments of that kind
test devices are being used for the first time. The report puts the
entire blame on the personnel, on its thoughtlessness. On the other
hand it can be seen from the report itself that the experiment was
directed by a person who was not a specialist for reactors, but only a
"ordinary electrical engineer". He apparently gave his directives to
the present operating crew. It reads for example:
"The operators attempted manually to sustain the main parameters of
the system - steam pressure and the water level in the drum separators
- but they did not entirely succeed in doing so. At this stage they
saw the steam pressure in the drum separators sag by 0.5-0.6 MPa and
the water level drop below the emergency mark. In order to avoid
shutting down the reactor in such conditions, the staff blocked the
emergency protection signals relating to these parameters. At the same
time, the reactivity continued to drop slowly. At 1:22:30, the
operator saw from a printout of the fast reactivity evaluation program
that the available excess reactivity had reached a level requiring
immediate shutdown of the reactor. Nevertheless, the staff were not
stopped by this and began with the experiments." (p. 16/17) 1|
These sentences one must read twice indeed, as they show the whole
purposefulness of the proceeding. Who ordered such a reckless way of
proceeding at the reactor? That engineer who was not an expert for
reactors at all? About this responsibility the report is silent.
After that the security device for the case of both turbogenerators
being switched off is put out of function.
The report says: "This meant a further departure from the experimental
programme, which did not call for blocking the reactor's emergency
protection with the switching off of two turbogenerators." (p. 17) 2|
Shortly after 1 h 23 min suddenly the reactivity of the fuel in the
reactor, which had been highly manipulated and forcibly brought down,
increases massively. The operator tries an emergency shut-down, which
however - says the report - fails.
Then it is said: "According to observers outside unit 4, at about 1:24
there occurred two explosions one after the other; burning lumps of
material and sparks shot into the air above the reactor, some of which
fell onto the roof of the machine room and started a fire." (p. 17)
Later an attempt to explain these explosions was undertaken using a
mathematical computing model, but nowhere they are being explained in
a really conclusive manner. Mathematical models have only limited
meaningfulness and normally serve to put somebody on the right track
leading to the determination of the results. One question, which poses
itself in this framework, and which also could show something to the
investigation about the backgrounds of the catastrophe, consists in
the following: Was a mathematical model about the consequences put up
prior to proceeding to the apparent planful manipulation of the
reactor? That would seem natural. If such methods of a mathematical
simulation are at hand, why not make use of them in advance, in the
case of such dangerous processes? In case the simulation existed
however: what did it tell?
176 persons were present in the whole plant, of whom a part was in the
concerned reactor unit 4. According to the Soviet statements of that
time the most part of this personnel must have survived this incident.
But at the same time this explosion from the inside is said to have
overturned a slab of 1.000 tons. How can men survive such an explosion
in the inside?
About the causes of the incident it is said in the Soviet report: "As
shown by the analysis presented above, the accident in the fourth unit
of the Chernobyl' nuclear power plant belongs to the category of
accidents associated with the introduction of excess reactivity. The
design of the reactor facility provided for protection against this
type of accident with allowance for the physical characteristics of
the reactor, including a positive steam void coefficient of
reactivity." (p. 22) 4|
(This coefficient describes a characteristic feature of the RMBK-
reactor which means that at an increase of the steam content of the
cooling water the power may rise under certain conditions.)
And exactly these protective devices were put out of function.
"The accident assumed catastrophic proportions because the reactor was
taken by the staff into a non-regulation state in which the positive
void coefficient of reactivity was able substantially to enhance the
power excursion." (p. 23) 5|
By the explosions and the entire proceeding described here great
masses of radioactivity came into the air and were scattered over the
European continent by the winds. They led to a serious increase of
radioactivity in some nearer regions. The immediate surrounding area
had to be evacuated. During the following days the sealing of the
reactor building and the extinction of the fire are undertaken with
great energy, and with success. The days after the catastrophe are at
the same time days of the biggest nuclear protection manoeuvres, of
fight against nuclear fire, of confinement and, as far as possible, of
decontamination of the environment. The reactor units 1 and 2 in the
immediate vicinity of the reactor 4 continue to work for 24 hours even
on the day of the catastrophe!!!
This description, too, shows, by the way, that the propaganda, as it
went here, had the intention, even though the catastrophe was serious,
to make a really mystical matter out of it, aiming at engendering
general fear of the big technology. This has nothing to do with a
realistic assessment, this is propagandistic intention on principle
which benefits all those who pushed for desindustrialization and who
are trying to disseminate uncertainty about the material fundaments of
The report by those politically responsible of the Soviet Union of
that time does not keep completely quiet either about its intentions
regarding the political conclusions:
"The fact that the contemporary world is full of potentially dangerous
industrial production processes significantly aggravating the
consequences of military actions gives a new perspective to the
senselessness and inadmissibility of war in today's world." (p. 3) 6|
At that time the possibility of an attack of a potential military
enemy against atomic energy plants, and that therefore they should not
been constructed, was frequently being discussed. The advocates of
this opinion were the same who preached the so-called policy of
detente. Very interesting: there happens an alleged "incident", with a
Soviet reactor, and the same responsible people warn other countries
against their atomic energy plants and industrial plants, that the
world was full of them, that is to say more plants apparently should
not be erected. So these are de facto threats of the Soviet leadership
of that time connected to the occurrence of a catastrophe under very
dubious circumstances in their country. * And after that Gorbatchov,
under whom the USA gained a decisive influence in the Soviet Union
itself, declares that on the occasion of Chernobyl one should
cooperate more closely with the IAEA, which possibly should control
internationally more strictly the entire atomic industry, also the
THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE GRS
(ASSOCIATION FOR THE SECURITY OF REACTORS)
There also exists, subsequent to this report, an extensive
description of the GRS "New insights into the incident in the nuclear
power station Chernobyl .. state: Oct. 1986". Here too the astounding
circumstances cannot be concealed, but also here it is attempted to
rubricate the whole thing simply under "human error", under "violation
Psychology is bothered: The crew had had big ambitions and had been
willing to carry through this experiment with greater speed. Other
questions, more essential ones, as for the political context, into
which the Soviet Union itself wanted to put this aubject, questions
for the responsibility of this "experiment program" at the reactor,
which was carried through without any responsibility, apparently are
not being asked.
Summing up this report says:
"This misconduct consists in conscious and blatant injuries against
binding regulations. The frequency and the importance of the mistaken
actions indicate that the practice of running the plant was
throughout, not only in an isolated manner at April 26th 1986,
characterized by an attitude of lack of awareness of security
matters." (p. 34) 7|
It is ridiculous to say that irresponsible actions of that kind -such
a characterization is not employed by the IAEA or by the GRS! - are to
be put down only on a lack of awareness of security matters. Even a
nonprofessional would know, that such actions at a reactor are
mortally dangerous, not only for the crew. A serious striving for
finding out the background of this behaviour cannot be recognized on
the part of the IAEA or the GRS. The question who ordered this program
of experiments or by which superior authorities these experiments were
approved, is not asked. Neither any evidence is published about what
statements the responsible people of that "shift" made during the
investigations, or if all of them lost their lives at the incident -
according to the Soviet description this may hardly be the case.
Erasing all these points it is said only: "The behaviour of the
personnel in connection with substantial weaknesses of the design of
the plant was the cause for the incident at the nuclear power station
of Chernobyl." (p. 33) 8|
Weaknesses of the personnel and weaknesses of the construction -this
is the whole litany, an utterly cheap litany which by no means does
justice to the quality of the things. Equally naive are the proposals
by which events of that kind shall be prevented in the future:
"Training of the personnel stressing especially the understanding of
the processes in the reactor and during the operation of the reactor,
including training at simulators which represent also the processes
during heavy incidents in a realistic manner." (p. 32) 9|
Can one assume seriously that the crew which had been working
successfully for years at the reactor (says the report itself) does
not know the dangerous potential residing in it?? The regulations for
the operation of the reactor do indeed show the danger of the reactor
at low power level .
Then it reads in the report of the GRS: "As a conscious bringing about
of the incident can be excluded, the behaviour of the personnel
becomes understandable only if one assumes that it did not know
sufficiently the behaviour of the reactor at low power levels." (p.34)
This formulation shows that even the editors of this report had to
deal with the question of a conscious bringing about of an heavy
ruinous incident, but why this possibility is excluded in face of the
whole chain of actions which made it possible, stays without any
1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6|
USSR State Committee on the Utilization of Atomic Energy The Accident
at the Chernobyl' Nuclear Power Plant and its Consequences.
Information Compiled for the IAEA's Experts' Meeting, 25-29- August
1986, Vienna Part I. General Material Draft August 1986
7| 8| 9| 10|
Gesellschaft fuer Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) mbH, Koeln/Garching Neuere
Erkenntnisse zum Unfall im Kernkraftwerk Tschernobyl. Stand: Oktober
1986 (2nd ed. Febr. 1987) (The quotations from this publication were
translated by us).
*Note: The German translation of this passage is even more outspoken.
It uses the expression: "satiation" - (of the contemporary world with
potentially dangerous industrial production processes etc.) It is not
clear if this expression stems from the Soviet original and
subsequently was weakened by the English translation, or if the German
translator introduced it into the context.
Zeitschrift fuer Politik, Oekonomie und Kultur
- Extrablatt Nr.25 -
Subject: Re: Russia prepares for nuclear war
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 96 23:01:32 EST
Jane's Defence Weekly
December 16, 1995
(Vol. 24; No. 25; Pg. 5)
Russia 'is still preparing for war with USA'
By Barbara Starr
Preparation for nuclear war with the USA appears to remain a high
Russian priority, according to statements by US intelligence community
officials recently made public.
One sign is a new Russian underground command and control centre,
known as Kosvinskiy Mountain, that has been built in the Urals. It is
"one of the main new elements" of the Russian underground nuclear
command and control architecture that has emerged since the Soviet
Union dissolved, US Navy Adm William Studeman, then Acting Director of
Central Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier
The statements were in reply to SASC questions following public
hearings in January. The answers and parts of the classified closed
hearing that followed the public session, were released recently.
"While some of this construction appears to be the continuation of
programmes started long before the break-up, it still appears to be
high-priority to correct perceived vulnerabilities in their nuclear
command and control system," said Adm Studeman.
"Preparedness for nuclear conflict with the United States - not
withstanding the end of the Cold War - remains a resource allocation
Lt Gen James Clapper, who was Director of the Defense Intelligence
Agency during the hearing, told the committee the bunker facility
"will be a new part of Russia's multi-billion dollar effort" to
modernize its nuclear infrastructure.
The Russians appear to be seeking to improve their ability to absorb a
nuclear strike, reducing their incentives for early nuclear use.