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[Chernobyl] In Soviet Russia....

VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
HBO released a five part (of which four have currently aired) docudrama about the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, wherein the core of a nuclear power plant near the town of Pripyat in Ukraine.



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The show deals with the incident itself, and the monumental effort and sacrifice required to contain the fallout and minimize the ecological and human disaster. It is, as best I can tell, roughly correct on the broad plot points (comparing the plot of the show to the wikipedia article, anyways), but in some places condenses the work of many people to a single character to simplify storytelling and increase the drama of the narrative.

There's also a podcast which talks about, I'm told, the production and some of the decisions about historical accuracy and other things. I haven't listened to this yet, but I intend to.

Anyways, the show is excellent. Like, really really good. Y'all should watch it. It's also really really really grim. Like, it's a show about the (second?) worst nuclear accident in history, so you know going in things aren't going to go well, and the show is very very good at highlighting that.

Some thoughts I have:

The makeup work in the first three episodes deserves all of the awards.
The theme of how the state and some character's need to keep up appearances and shift blame impairs efforts on the ground to improve the situation is interesting, and rather topical in the current world.
The state clearly doesn't care about its citizens, and yet the characters characters are willing to give their lives for the cause. This seems to be attributed to, for lack of a better word, some uniquely Russian fatalism. Is this a real thing? I've seen it as a premise of lots of works dealing with Russia, and I'm not quite sure if I should think of it as a myth, or something a little bit more real.

Anyways, probably open spoilers makes the most sense for a historical work like this. We should probably not devolve into a nuclear power in the current world discussion.



Seriously, though, this show is hard to watch, but it's really fucking good.




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    WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Is the worst nuclear accident the one we did on purpose or...

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    VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Is the worst nuclear accident the one we did on purpose or...

    Fukushima

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    WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    VishNub wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Is the worst nuclear accident the one we did on purpose or...

    Fukushima

    Huh, in what sense is Fukushima thought to be worse? It seems like significantly less human harm resulted from it.

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    CristovalCristoval Registered User regular
    Chernobyl is def worse just by the long term damage of that much radioactive material being blown into the atmosphere and those affected by it since. Fukishima technically had three cores meltdown but the material never escaped into the open in the same quantities and are still sealed inside their containment vessels more or less (the explosions were hydrogen based but the lids didn't blow off em like Chernobyl).

    Also thanks for making this thread! I've been going down an industrial accident rabbit hole lately since that's a thing to do, and while they are all really interesting they all also super bum me out.

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    WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Also, this show is 🔥

    🏭🌅☢️🥵🤮

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    SealSeal Registered User regular
    I've been looking forward to this since the trailer first went up and it's exceeded my expectations. Do watch the episode podcasts on youtube. Don't run a safety test on an RBMK reactor after disabling safety mechanisms.

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    bloodyroarxxbloodyroarxx Casa GrandeRegistered User regular
    This show is very serious and harrowing but lets lighten the mood a little

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    bloodyroarxxbloodyroarxx Casa GrandeRegistered User regular
    Also actual video of the event from episode 4

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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    According to the podcast, they actually cut a lot of the stuff that would have made it even more horrible. For example, the dog-killing liquidators (spoilered for horribleness)
    the dog with its puppies was a real thing, according to the account of a liquidator that had to shoot them all. The bit they left out was one of the puppies survived and was dumped into the hole, where he had to strangle it to put it out of its misery. the writer/creator says they left that out because it was deemed too punishing to the viewer, even though it's real

    anyway, the sheer scale of chernobyl was completely lost on me. I had no idea how close they came to a catastrophic disaster that would have killed millions and left swathes of europe uninhabitable.

    One thought I had was the scale of the disaster likely hastened the collapse the soviet union - they don't talk about the financial costs of anything, but it must have been staggeringly expensive

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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    Love this show.

    I'll probably never be able to watch it again, though.

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    CristovalCristoval Registered User regular
    edited May 2019
    Everyone should check out the episode of Seconds From Disaster on the incident as well. It might "spoil" the final episode as it is also supposed to go through ths whole exact process of what went down that night, but it's well done and the casting is just as on point as HBO (bonus: everyone speaks Russian). You also get to see more of Dyatlov being a complete goose, but more backstory on why exactly that was.

    https://youtu.be/ITEXGdht3y8

    Edit: Sorry, Disaster At Chernobyl not Seconds From Disaster (though there is one of those as well).

    Cristoval on
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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    According to the podcast, they actually cut a lot of the stuff that would have made it even more horrible. For example, the dog-killing liquidators (spoilered for horribleness)
    the dog with its puppies was a real thing, according to the account of a liquidator that had to shoot them all. The bit they left out was one of the puppies survived and was dumped into the hole, where he had to strangle it to put it out of its misery. the writer/creator says they left that out because it was deemed too punishing to the viewer, even though it's real

    anyway, the sheer scale of chernobyl was completely lost on me. I had no idea how close they came to a catastrophic disaster that would have killed millions and left swathes of europe uninhabitable.

    One thought I had was the scale of the disaster likely hastened the collapse the soviet union - they don't talk about the financial costs of anything, but it must have been staggeringly expensive

    I've read that part may have been exaggerated, but that's also from people who would've needed it played down as a part of their part in the State.

    Which makes the intrigue in the show even more... intriguing

    I loved how they gave the West Germans the incorrect, propagandized rad numbers for the robot when trying to clean up the roof.

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    CristovalCristoval Registered User regular
    Every year I go on a Chernobyl deep dive and learn something new every time. This round it was that they used a retrofitted lunar Rover from their scrapped space missions as one of the clean up bots! It then went coo-coo-kaka and hurled itself off the roof into the core (or at least one of the bots did).

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    Sanguinius666264Sanguinius666264 Registered User regular
    According to the podcast, they actually cut a lot of the stuff that would have made it even more horrible. For example, the dog-killing liquidators (spoilered for horribleness)
    the dog with its puppies was a real thing, according to the account of a liquidator that had to shoot them all. The bit they left out was one of the puppies survived and was dumped into the hole, where he had to strangle it to put it out of its misery. the writer/creator says they left that out because it was deemed too punishing to the viewer, even though it's real

    anyway, the sheer scale of chernobyl was completely lost on me. I had no idea how close they came to a catastrophic disaster that would have killed millions and left swathes of europe uninhabitable.

    One thought I had was the scale of the disaster likely hastened the collapse the soviet union - they don't talk about the financial costs of anything, but it must have been staggeringly expensive

    It did! The clean up was approximately 19 billion dollars or so, though naturally the full amount of costs for the clean up are difficult to get a clear picture on, given the Soviet Union's desire to cover it up and/or not talk about it all that much. However, it was definitely a strain on the overall economy of the Soviet Union and of the Ukraine/Belarus in particular.

    https://slate.com/technology/2013/01/chernobyl-and-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union-gorbachevs-glasnost-allowed-the-nuclear-catastrophe-to-undermine-the-ussr.html

    Gorbachev himself said it definitely contributed!

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Hey, was that chief pup snuffer Leo from A Way Out? So weird seeing a vidya boy in real life.

    Oh brilliant
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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    Chief pupper snuffer

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    DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    I know people were talking about pet owner warnings but I really appreciate the way they handled the animal killing. In that they played it with the horrible sadness that it should have been given without leaning into or anything. It was shitty and you felt really bad for everyone involved. It was a thing that had to be done like most of the worst parts of the show.

    Whippy wrote: »
    nope nope nope nope abort abort talk about anime
    I like to ART
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    MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    This show has been just a thrill ride but not thrilling more horrifying.

    The first two episodes were horror movies with the reactor as the monster. But unlike any monster you can run and hide from its reach is miles long and invisible.

    The third episode felt as if they were making progress. A war the Soviet Union knew how to fight. Use of men and bodies to stop a physical enemy. The fire is out. Crisis after crisis averted. And possible ones as well.

    The forth we see the cost. In lives and humanity. That the monster never disappeared.

    What is ones man's life verse that of the Soviet Union?

    This show is stressful is the best way possible. And I am not sure I can ever watch it a second time.

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    jkylefultonjkylefulton Squid...or Kid? NNID - majpellRegistered User regular


    This guy is a good follow for Chernobyl reactions / info.

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    bloodyroarxxbloodyroarxx Casa GrandeRegistered User regular
    Hey, was that chief pup snuffer Leo from A Way Out? So weird seeing a vidya boy in real life.

    Yup

    Fares Fares

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    emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    I like the coal miners from Tula and I was sad to learn from the podcast that their work to build tunnels for a heat exchanger ultimately wasn't necessary. The concrete pad held.

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    SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote: »
    I like the coal miners from Tula and I was sad to learn from the podcast that their work to build tunnels for a heat exchanger ultimately wasn't necessary. The concrete pad held.

    Could they have known that at the time though? Iirc was a % chance sort of thing.

    steam_sig.png
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    emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    Smrtnik wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    I like the coal miners from Tula and I was sad to learn from the podcast that their work to build tunnels for a heat exchanger ultimately wasn't necessary. The concrete pad held.

    Could they have known that at the time though? Iirc was a % chance sort of thing.

    Legasov said in the show it was 50/50.

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    HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Smrtnik wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    I like the coal miners from Tula and I was sad to learn from the podcast that their work to build tunnels for a heat exchanger ultimately wasn't necessary. The concrete pad held.

    Could they have known that at the time though? Iirc was a % chance sort of thing.

    Legasov said in the show it was 50/50.

    And his smarter counterpart put it at 40% chance the meltdown would make it through the pad and then he says it doesn't matter, either way the answer is the same: Maybe.

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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    edited May 2019
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    jungleroomx on
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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    edited May 2019
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    As in, the constant implications of things being “suicide missions” or staying that they’ve effectively killed themselves by taking part in the cleanup. It’s dramatic but it’s not accurate

    y2jake215 on
    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    As in, the constant implications of things being “suicide missions” or staying that they’ve effectively killed themselves by taking part in the cleanup. It’s simply not true

    I mean

    Someone saying going into a highly radioactive place is a "suicide mission" is not exactly some kind of stretch of the imagination.

    Saying it was "not a suicide mission" on the other hand is really, really side-eyeable.

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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    As in, the constant implications of things being “suicide missions” or staying that they’ve effectively killed themselves by taking part in the cleanup. It’s simply not true

    I mean

    Someone saying going into a highly radioactive place is a "suicide mission" is not exactly some kind of stretch of the imagination.

    Saying it was "not a suicide mission" on the other hand is really, really side-eyeable.

    Well, they all lived, so... it wasn’t?

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    edited May 2019
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    As in, the constant implications of things being “suicide missions” or staying that they’ve effectively killed themselves by taking part in the cleanup. It’s simply not true

    I mean

    Someone saying going into a highly radioactive place is a "suicide mission" is not exactly some kind of stretch of the imagination.

    Saying it was "not a suicide mission" on the other hand is really, really side-eyeable.

    Well, they all lived, so... it wasn’t?

    Benefit of future sight. Are we subtracting points because people couldn't tell the future?

    And the calculations of additional deaths due to cancers so far range from 4k to 10k, on top of the 54 who died of horrific acute radiation poisoning.

    Even on the low end, 4k people is not a small amount for what amounts to an industrial accident.

    jungleroomx on
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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    As in, the constant implications of things being “suicide missions” or staying that they’ve effectively killed themselves by taking part in the cleanup. It’s simply not true

    I mean

    Someone saying going into a highly radioactive place is a "suicide mission" is not exactly some kind of stretch of the imagination.

    Saying it was "not a suicide mission" on the other hand is really, really side-eyeable.

    Well, they all lived, so... it wasn’t?

    Benefit of foresight.

    And the calculations of additional deaths due to cancers so far range from 4k to 10k, on top of the 54 who died of horrific acute radiation poisoning.

    Even on the low end, 4k people is not a small amount for what amounts to an industrial accident.

    it’s the degree of risk in several aspects that the show has overblown. Perhaps in the moment it is what they’ve believed, but it didn’t end up that way. It increases the drama though

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    CristovalCristoval Registered User regular
    edited May 2019
    It was a suicide mission at the time though. They didn't treat it as anything other than that. The show eeks some extra drama with cut to credits before the resolution, but that doesn't make it any less frightening for what the three had to go through at the time. In real life they didn't have the little crank lights either. Once their main flash lights died they had to do the rest of the mission in the complete dark.

    The only thing that's been really fudged around for the sake of extra stakes is the helicopter crash at the beginning of the boron drop, which STILL happened and under the exact same circumstances (pilot got disoriented from the radiation and hit crane wires), but much later on during the construction of the sarcophagus. There's not a lot really overblown about it.

    Clandestine meetings in abandoned buildings maybe.. MAYBE... but they are Soviets after all...

    Cristoval on
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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    Oh I was also a little skeptical of the “this could make most of Europe uninhabitable” claim and it appears that was not accurate. I take umbrage mostly with the dialogue that goes “millions will die” “hundreds of thousands will get cancer” etc. Again, might be what they thought at the time, but the result is it makes the audience think this the actual case

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    jungleroomxjungleroomx It's never too many graves, it's always not enough shovels Registered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Oh I was also a little skeptical of the “this could make most of Europe uninhabitable” claim and it appears that was not accurate. I take umbrage mostly with the dialogue that goes “millions will die” “hundreds of thousands will get cancer” etc. Again, might be what they thought at the time, but the result is it makes the audience think this the actual case

    I see a lot of assessments that it could have been even worse, or just as bad as they were saying. And a few Russian statesmen who said it wouldn't have been that bad, really.

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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    This show is good even if a lot of the danger is overblown

    I feel like this needs a qualification.

    This is the deadliest nuclear disaster in terms of lives lost, ever, so I feel like calling it "overblown" is a strange choice.

    As in, the constant implications of things being “suicide missions” or staying that they’ve effectively killed themselves by taking part in the cleanup. It’s simply not true

    I mean

    Someone saying going into a highly radioactive place is a "suicide mission" is not exactly some kind of stretch of the imagination.

    Saying it was "not a suicide mission" on the other hand is really, really side-eyeable.

    Well, they all lived, so... it wasn’t?

    Benefit of future sight. Are we subtracting points because people couldn't tell the future?

    And the calculations of additional deaths due to cancers so far range from 4k to 10k, on top of the 54 who died of horrific acute radiation poisoning.

    Even on the low end, 4k people is not a small amount for what amounts to an industrial accident.

    I never said it made the show worse. I said it overstates the danger (to the audience)

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    It is contemporaneous, at the time, people were fucking terrified. They didn't need the tunnel in the end, but they still fucking dug it.

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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Oh I was also a little skeptical of the “this could make most of Europe uninhabitable” claim and it appears that was not accurate. I take umbrage mostly with the dialogue that goes “millions will die” “hundreds of thousands will get cancer” etc. Again, might be what they thought at the time, but the result is it makes the audience think this the actual case

    If that's what they thought at the time, do you expect the production crew to dial it back for... what? Entertainment purposes? Ideological?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    KetBraKetBra Dressed Ridiculously Registered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Oh I was also a little skeptical of the “this could make most of Europe uninhabitable” claim and it appears that was not accurate. I take umbrage mostly with the dialogue that goes “millions will die” “hundreds of thousands will get cancer” etc. Again, might be what they thought at the time, but the result is it makes the audience think this the actual case

    I mean, this was a statement made presuming that there was no effort to extinguish the core, and that the reactor was never contained, and with no benefits of decades of hindsight and study of the problem.

    So I don't really know what your problem is.

    KGMvDLc.jpg?1
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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Oh I was also a little skeptical of the “this could make most of Europe uninhabitable” claim and it appears that was not accurate. I take umbrage mostly with the dialogue that goes “millions will die” “hundreds of thousands will get cancer” etc. Again, might be what they thought at the time, but the result is it makes the audience think this the actual case

    If that's what they thought at the time, do you expect the production crew to dial it back for... what? Entertainment purposes? Ideological?

    My gripe is mostly ideological. It’s never corrected, so much of the audience is just going to take it as scary, scary fact.

    My original statement was, show is good, the risk is overblown. I stand by that.

    Do I think the producers have a responsibility to make sure audiences come away with an accurate interpretation of the actual impact to health and life? That’s a different question entirely

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I’m not sure that was false per say, rather than a very worst case scenario possibility.

    The thing was if an explosion blew up the three remaining reactors that would cause a lot of fallout enough to render those areas uninhabitable. Like imagine it happened and the wind was just the right direction for long enough - probably not a false assumption.

    PSN: Honkalot
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