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6th August 1945


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Time to remember the B29 Enola gay, which today dropped the Atomic bombon Hiroshima, killing an estimated 70,000 Japanese.


Last night on satellite I found "The Battle of Chernobyl," which (as you can guess from the title) treated the events of April 1986 and the years of clean-up that followed like the military operation it was.


There is a school of thought which sees this event as the second stepping stone (after Ex Able Archer 1983 - Google it) on the way to ending the Cold War.


If the reactor core meltdown had continued through the concrete reactor base to where water used to douse the fire had collected, the nuclear magma would have caused an explosion estimated at around 3 to 4 megatons, compared with Hiroshima at 12 to 15 kilotons. Minsk would have been destroyed. Had the meltdown continued further, an aquafer supplying most of the Ukraine, on which Chernobyl sat, would have been contaminated into the distant future.


An interview with Gorbachev suggested that the clean-up from this single event cost the USSR 18 billion dollars and ruined half a million lives. Whole armies of reservists queued up to ruin their lives forever by spending 45 seconds on the roof of Reactor 4 shovelling uranium-coated graphite cooling rod remnants off so that they could enclose the reactor inside its sarcophagus. The sarcophagus was designed to last 30 years until a second containment dome was built over the whole thing. It's now been 22 years and the Ukraine has no money to build such a containment dome.


A short distance from the reactors was the top secret Chernobyl 2, one of the USSR's primary missile detection radar sites, which had to be abandoned.


At this point Gorbachev personally realised that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and opened talks with Reagan.


The difference between Chernobyl and Hiroshima (they were compared, but the programme did not discuss the following) was that Little Boy was designed to explode the entire atomic mass whereas at Chernobyl, the nuclear mass was not designed to be exploded, so the fallout would have been (and even contained as it was, was) orders of magnitude worse than at Hiroshima.


I am delighted that we no longer live, to quote Freddie Mercury, beneath the shadow of a mushroom cloud. Just a pity there are people who want to convert warheads into radiological bombs and create the Chernobyl effect in our cities.

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Time to remember the B29 Enola gay, which today dropped the Atomic bombon Hiroshima, killing an estimated 70,000 Japanese.


I was out at the Steven Udvar-Hazy annex to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum yesterday, located near Dulles International airport outside Washington DC (S U-H paid $66m to help build this exceptional aviation memorial) and spent a bit of time near the Enola Gay.


However you regard this act, it is a unique part of history.





Edited by mazungumagic
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It is a pity that Bock's Car which dropped the Nagasaki bomb, survived for so long in the dessert storage facility only to be scrapped on a whim. It so nearly made it into a permanent reminder of Japan's stupidity at not surrendering after the first A Bomb, and forcing USA into a second A bomb drop.

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