Archives for posts with tag: russia

My wife and I confessed to eachother not really knowing what was in the news. I went looking and find this pretty interesting:

Leaked US cables show that Australia sees the Iranian nuclear programme as a “deterrent,” a sharply contrary view  to that of most Western countries. The leaks also reveal that Australia doesn’t share the assessment that Iran is a “rogue state.”

Also, Australian intelligence agencies fear Israel may launch a military strike on Iran to knock out its nuclear facilities, which they said could trigger a nuclear war…

I see they’ve played knifey spooney before. I’m always bothered by the idea of a country with like forty percent of the more than 22000 total warheads getting to close the barn door after itself. No nation should want to need nuclear weapons. It’s repellent to stall any effort to reduce the number. We really need more than 1550 ready to launch? Who are we fighting— the entire inner Solar System?

(I don’t know why it has the 3d glasses thing on— to avoid copyright protection? Pretty irritating.)

 

So I think this might be in the top ten Worst Places On Earth.

It’s a lake in the southern Ural Mountains next to the site of the second-worst inadvertent nuclear disaster in history. Starting in the 1950s, the Soviets used it as an open-air spent nuclear fuel pit— this only after they stopped dumping it into the local river which flowed into the Ob…

They supposedly kept 4.44 exabecquerels— an SI unit measuring radioactivity, I had to look it up— worth of waste in the lake. A meaningless number, I know— Wikipedia suggests the Chernobyl disaster released 5 to 12 of the same unit, and that’s over thousands of kilometers. This would all be disgusting on its own without the 1957 Kyshtym disaster angle. The nearby Mayak facility had a coolant malfunction in a storage tank leading to a non-nuclear explosion and a radioactive cloud hundreds of miles wide. Hundreds of people died agonizing, mysterious deaths while tens of thousands were evacuated from a closed area the Soviets later covered up as a nature preserve. The CIA found out about it early but kept its lips sealed while rumors swirled for decades; they didn’t want to harm the fledgling American nuclear power industry.

Flash forward to poor Russia— specifically, Russia as of 0935 UTC this morning, courtesy of the Terra satellite. Not all of those are clouds. The fires plaguing Russia are advancing on Ozersk, the renamed town next to the old Mayak facility. Russian scientists had already been warning of the fires aerosolizing leftover Chernobyl fallout. I tried finding a good “Kremlin choked in smog” picture but got too disheartened to search after seeing pravda.ru had “Half-isolated Saakashvili harbors aggressive plans against Russia still” as the top story above the fires. I kid you not, this is the picture they used of him:

Welcome to the twenty-first century, everybody.