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[Chernobyl] In Soviet Russia....

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    DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    I finally finished this tonight.

    I loved the final episode for all the reasons others have mentioned.

    But mostly because I sympathized so hard with those scenes of that 25-year-old engineer in the control room. Haven't so many of us been there - just with lower stakes?

    In my first IT job post-college, I was 21 years old and I was sent to do network wiring in an commercial office, after business hours supervised by a dude who I was pretty sure was a moron (and later my suspicions were validated). With zero training I was cutting holes in drywall and crawling through crawlspaces and fishing cables through conduit. I didn't have any clue what the fuck I was doing, I knew I was out of my element, but I had student loans and I needed a job (any job). I might have drilled through asbestos; on others I used non-fireproof cables across floors; I probably mixed low-voltage cable with electrical cable in the same conduit.



    (Also, my boss at that job was verbally abusive, smoked cigarettes, and had a mustache. Dyatlov practically gave me flashbacks.)

    When the two control room engineers look at the documentation binder with crossed-out lines and then look at each other like, "what the fuck is this?" I know that look. I once had to do a full disaster recovery failover for a financial institution using slipshod documentation and nobody on staff who conceptually understood the process. I had plenty of IT experience by that point but I knew nothing about the financial industry.

    MOSstqA.jpg

    Several years ago I decided I needed to learn more about storage area networks (SANs). SANs are big boxes containing lots of high-speed hard drives, for fast and large data storage. A low-end entry-level SAN can easily set you back $30k; a moderate SAN deployment is usually measured in multiples of $100k or $1m. This isn't something you get hands-on experience with unless your university or employer trains you on them.

    I interviewed with multiple jobs and I was upfront about how I had no hands-on SAN experience but wanted to get some. I was hired by one company, who promised me SAN training. Their "training" was accompanying another technician to a live SAN deployment for a customer while he showed me how he sets them up, complete with lines like "I don't know what this command does but it doesn't work unless I do it" and "I guess we choose this option, I think." He'd obviously learned what little he knew through the tribal oral tradition where you absorb ancestral knowledge passed along by your elders.

    I quit that job and took a second offer. Within my first month at the second company, we had a severe SAN failure. I was the most senior technician there - I'd replaced the old senior technician. Nobody there understood SANs, either. We didn't have a contractor to call. I had to crab-fab it on the phone with the SAN manufacturer tech support, pretending like I knew what the fuck I was talking about, while the CIO and CEO are utterly failing to hide how stressed they are that the entire business is down and I can't give them a straight answer about what the problem is or how long it will take to fix. This was at a job where I said, up-front, in the interview, that I didn't have hands-on SAN experience but I wanted to learn. Suddenly, the whole business was riding on me.

    owt4jinqoahq.jpg

    Obviously nobody died in any of these situations. There were no explosions. Nothing actually caught on fire... I think... (I can't really vouch for some of those early-career wiring jobs, though.)

    They still sucked for everybody involved.

    Why do we put good people with insufficient training into situations that they're ill-prepared to handle?
    Because it's cheaper.

    Been there. Corporate, government, its all the same.

    I was once hired for a position that was basically supposed to be a purely technical one, was told on the first day that I was now the managing supervisor because I was the only one with the (totally irrelevant) educational requirements for the position still on staff... It was not anything anyones lives depended on but it was a 10+ employee local government department with a million dollar budget. For the first 6 months or so I basically just had lower level employees handing me paperwork I had no idea how to handle, that they had no idea how to handle, and that my manager had no idea how to handle, on the basis that “the previous supervisor just took care of this”. While still being expected to do the job I was hired for(I actually had to miss even the usual basic employee training because they needed me in my job asap so my manager gave me a waiver I didn’t ask for) in a department that still had 2 critical positions vacant. Needless to say there was a lot of just doing what looked right and hoping it didn’t matter/we didn’t get audited.

    I asked what happened to the previous supervisor. “She quit because she wanted to reduce her hours, she had a baby.” Oh, why didn’t they just let her stay on part time then? “She was a mission critical employee and they didn’t think they could do without her”.

    ...


    A year later they let another critical employer go without consulting me, the supervisor in charge, over them wanting a very reasonable raise for an increase in responsibility, and posted her job for an amount higher than the amount she had originally requested.

    I figured out then it was time to go.



    Every one I know, from factory jobs, to health care, to tech, to government, has these stories. I honestly wake up surprised every morning that civilization doesn’t just randomly collapse. The whole thing is held together by spit and bubble gum.

    I'm screaming.

    Whippy wrote: »
    nope nope nope nope abort abort talk about anime
    I like to ART
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    Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Doodmann wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I finally finished this tonight.

    I loved the final episode for all the reasons others have mentioned.

    But mostly because I sympathized so hard with those scenes of that 25-year-old engineer in the control room. Haven't so many of us been there - just with lower stakes?

    In my first IT job post-college, I was 21 years old and I was sent to do network wiring in an commercial office, after business hours supervised by a dude who I was pretty sure was a moron (and later my suspicions were validated). With zero training I was cutting holes in drywall and crawling through crawlspaces and fishing cables through conduit. I didn't have any clue what the fuck I was doing, I knew I was out of my element, but I had student loans and I needed a job (any job). I might have drilled through asbestos; on others I used non-fireproof cables across floors; I probably mixed low-voltage cable with electrical cable in the same conduit.



    (Also, my boss at that job was verbally abusive, smoked cigarettes, and had a mustache. Dyatlov practically gave me flashbacks.)

    When the two control room engineers look at the documentation binder with crossed-out lines and then look at each other like, "what the fuck is this?" I know that look. I once had to do a full disaster recovery failover for a financial institution using slipshod documentation and nobody on staff who conceptually understood the process. I had plenty of IT experience by that point but I knew nothing about the financial industry.

    MOSstqA.jpg

    Several years ago I decided I needed to learn more about storage area networks (SANs). SANs are big boxes containing lots of high-speed hard drives, for fast and large data storage. A low-end entry-level SAN can easily set you back $30k; a moderate SAN deployment is usually measured in multiples of $100k or $1m. This isn't something you get hands-on experience with unless your university or employer trains you on them.

    I interviewed with multiple jobs and I was upfront about how I had no hands-on SAN experience but wanted to get some. I was hired by one company, who promised me SAN training. Their "training" was accompanying another technician to a live SAN deployment for a customer while he showed me how he sets them up, complete with lines like "I don't know what this command does but it doesn't work unless I do it" and "I guess we choose this option, I think." He'd obviously learned what little he knew through the tribal oral tradition where you absorb ancestral knowledge passed along by your elders.

    I quit that job and took a second offer. Within my first month at the second company, we had a severe SAN failure. I was the most senior technician there - I'd replaced the old senior technician. Nobody there understood SANs, either. We didn't have a contractor to call. I had to crab-fab it on the phone with the SAN manufacturer tech support, pretending like I knew what the fuck I was talking about, while the CIO and CEO are utterly failing to hide how stressed they are that the entire business is down and I can't give them a straight answer about what the problem is or how long it will take to fix. This was at a job where I said, up-front, in the interview, that I didn't have hands-on SAN experience but I wanted to learn. Suddenly, the whole business was riding on me.

    owt4jinqoahq.jpg

    Obviously nobody died in any of these situations. There were no explosions. Nothing actually caught on fire... I think... (I can't really vouch for some of those early-career wiring jobs, though.)

    They still sucked for everybody involved.

    Why do we put good people with insufficient training into situations that they're ill-prepared to handle?
    Because it's cheaper.

    Been there. Corporate, government, its all the same.

    I was once hired for a position that was basically supposed to be a purely technical one, was told on the first day that I was now the managing supervisor because I was the only one with the (totally irrelevant) educational requirements for the position still on staff... It was not anything anyones lives depended on but it was a 10+ employee local government department with a million dollar budget. For the first 6 months or so I basically just had lower level employees handing me paperwork I had no idea how to handle, that they had no idea how to handle, and that my manager had no idea how to handle, on the basis that “the previous supervisor just took care of this”. While still being expected to do the job I was hired for(I actually had to miss even the usual basic employee training because they needed me in my job asap so my manager gave me a waiver I didn’t ask for) in a department that still had 2 critical positions vacant. Needless to say there was a lot of just doing what looked right and hoping it didn’t matter/we didn’t get audited.

    I asked what happened to the previous supervisor. “She quit because she wanted to reduce her hours, she had a baby.” Oh, why didn’t they just let her stay on part time then? “She was a mission critical employee and they didn’t think they could do without her”.

    ...


    A year later they let another critical employer go without consulting me, the supervisor in charge, over them wanting a very reasonable raise for an increase in responsibility, and posted her job for an amount higher than the amount she had originally requested.

    I figured out then it was time to go.



    Every one I know, from factory jobs, to health care, to tech, to government, has these stories. I honestly wake up surprised every morning that civilization doesn’t just randomly collapse. The whole thing is held together by spit and bubble gum.

    I'm screaming.

    I think it was a case where several employees were working at lower than industry standard pay levels and they were afraid that giving in to anyone on a key would have a chain reaction of employee demands and it was better to just let the person leave and get someone new in even if you had to give them what the original person wanted.

    Which is dumb because institutional knowledge is a thing.

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    nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Virtually every office has those one or two keystone employees the entire operation wouldn’t work without

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    tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    I've done work for the US nuclear industry. It is a bizarre creature unlike any other. Loaded with engineers, that I just can't understand. Its not that they are dumb. Its that their job is so monotonous and rote, I don't know how they don't just pull their hair out from boredom. They aren't engineers so much as they are paperwork clerks.

    We were replacing a heat exchanger for them, for part of their AC system. Small unit 10" pipe about 8 feet long. So the standard thickness for this pipe is 0.365". The original piece of equipment though had like 0.310" wall thickness pipe. No problem right .365>.310 it'll be slightly stronger, we're all good. Nope. we had to turn the OD of the pipe down so the thickness would be the same. Why, because standard wall pipe weighs ~5 lbs more per foot. So the unit would weigh 350 lbs instead of 300lbs. Now the unit is bolted to like 8" I beam, with giant U-bolts. Those 50lbs make no difference. Except if the unit is heavier they'd have to redo their seismic calcs and this plant is located near the earthquake hot spot of...Green Bay Wisconsin. Thousands of dollars of lathe time to turn down(and re straighten) that pipe, to make it weaker.

    And yet despite stories like that, you still get one of the best stories I've ever heard(drinking at the bar) at a work conference.

    DailyKos has a great write up I'm editing out all the public service commission stuff just to keep it shorter, but read the whole thing https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/2/4/1477515/-The-Crystal-River-Nuclear-Power-Plant-How-Progress-Energy-Broke-its-Own-Nuke

    Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant: How to DIY and save negative 2.5 billion dollars.
    The Crystal River Unit 3, located in rural Citrus County FL near the Gulf of Mexico, was one of the last nuclear power stations to be built in the United States, being completed in 1976. The 860 MW pressurized-water reactor was the only nuclear-powered plant at what would over the years become a 5-unit power station, one of the largest in the US. (The other four units were all coal-fired.)

    But by 2009, Crystal River Unit 3, like all the other nuclear plants in the US, had been in service for over 30 years, and was reaching the end of its designed lifespan. To keep the aging nukes running, electric companies across the US had begun upgrading some of the equipment to give them another 20 years or so of useful life.

    In September 2009, Unit 3 was scheduled for a routine shut-down to have its nuclear fuel replaced, and Progress Energy had already decided to use the opportunity to replace the 30-year old steam generators with new ones, which would increase the lifespan of the plant and also expand its electricity output by about 20%. Since the generators were located inside the thick cement containment building that surrounded the nuclear reactor (which was designed to prevent radioactive contamination if there were an accident) and were too big to fit through the existing door, the procedure for replacing them involved cutting a large hole, some 30x20 feet, through the thick wall[42" of concrete], and using the hole to gain access. While this might sound drastic, it had already been done several dozen times before in the US and was a rather routine task. It was expected that the work would be finished and the plant would be up and running again by December.

    ...

    By the time Progress Energy decided to upgrade its nuke, the same operation had already been done 34 times in other plants in the US, and in 13 of those cases, it had been necessary to cut through the containment building to replace the generators. All of those jobs had been carried out by one of just two companies, Bechtel Corporation or SGT. They all went without a hitch.

    At the time it first decided to replace the generators, back in 2004, Progress Energy approached SGT to do the work. The job would cost a total of $230 million, of which about $81 million would go for SGT's management fees. But then, someone in Progress Energy's upper-level management had what they apparently thought was a great idea--if they bypassed SGT entirely, managed the project themselves, and hired Bechtel solely to do the actual construction work, they could save the company somewhere between $15 and $30 million.

    The idea drew immediate criticism within the company. An internal memo pointed out that "large scale engineering and construction management is not our core business", and others argued that the company's inexperience in overseeing this type of project could very likely cause lots of delays that would ultimately swamp out any savings.

    Nevertheless, Progress Energy decided to go ahead with the “DIY” management plan. It hired Bechtel to do the actual work of replacing the generators, and another company called Mac & Mac Hydrodemolition (which had never worked on a nuclear plant) to cut the actual hole through the wall. To do all the preliminary planning, Progress hired an engineering company called Sargent and Lundy, which had also never worked on a nuclear power plant before. These all agreed to work directly under Progress’s own management.

    During the planning, Progress continuously pushed Sargent and Lundy to do things on the cheap. Nuclear containment buildings are built from cement which is reinforced by a number of tightened steel bands, called "tendons". The Crystal River plant had 426 tendons. In the process of cutting through the wall, a number of these tendons had to be loosened (called "de-tensioning"). When Sargent and Lundy submitted its plans for the project, they called for a total of 97 of the tendons to be loosened. Progress Energy management in turn complained that "de-tensioning the tendons is a very expensive and time-consuming effort," and asked S&L to reduce the "excessive" number. The next proposal was for 74 tendons to be loosened--about the same number as had been done in all the other plants that had undergone the procedure. It still wasn't enough to satisfy Progress. Company execs told Sargent and Lundy to "put their thinking caps on" and find "an alternative method. . . that would result in a lot less tendons being de-tensioned". S&L returned with a proposal to loosen just 65 tendons--lower than any of the other projects. Progress Energy, delighted with the cost savings, accepted the plan.

    But in September 2009, when the actual work began, it quickly became apparent that there were additional unusual things being proposed, apparently to save time and costs. In order to keep the tension evenly distributed around the containment building, it was necessary to loosen the tendons in a staggered pattern. Progress Energy management, however, was ordering the Bechtel workers to de-tension the tendons sequentially, right next to each other. The normal procedure was also to loosen all the necessary tendons before attempting to cut the actual hole through the wall; Mac and Mac was being ordered to begin cutting the hole after only 27 tendons had been loosened. A number of the Bechtel supervisors had worked on the projects at the other nuclear plants, and they were concerned at these departures from standard operating procedure. "I have never heard of it being done like this before," noted one foreman in a memo to his boss, "and I just want to express my concerns to you one last time.'' Bechtel's project supervisor asked in an email, "Why are we doing tendons different here than all other jobs?" Progress Energy responded with a bland, "I am satisfied the Sargent & Lundy approach is technically correct and will withstand scrutiny."

    The cutting process began in October 2009. Within an hour, cracks appeared in the wall of the containment building. Soon "large chunks" were popping loose and falling out.[From what I heard from someone who was there, there was over a foot of misalliagnment in sections, where the concrete on 1 side of the cut was a foot "higher" than the opposite side] The work was halted. The company’s efforts to save itself $15 million had resulted in the destruction of a $2.5 billion building.

    [So they actually made several efforts to repair the cracks, but none of the attempts to repair it wound up working. The final estimate for replacing the entire containment vessel was north of 1b dollars, they decided to just take the write-down instead]

    ....

    Decommissioning the Crystal River nuke is currently expected to cost about $1.2 billion, and take about sixty years.
    The silo in the middle front is the containment vessel.
    zkhuyckklnue.png

    tinwhiskers on
    6ylyzxlir2dz.png
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    BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Bluster Kerfuffle Master of Windy ImportRegistered User regular
    Holy, shitballs. I've got to share that story with my dad, he runs the utility maintenance plant at a large office complex/retail center and has had to talk his superiors out of doing DIY shit like that in the past by giving them domino theory breakdowns over what cutting corners can actually do in the long term (the biggest one being how lowballing the installation of a new chilling tower might save 3 million now, but cost 15 over 5 years if it became a pooch screw of knock on effects).

    I have no idea if he'll laugh or cry, probably both.

    No matter where you go...there you are.
    ~ Buckaroo Banzai
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    GimGim a tall glass of water Registered User regular
    I've done work for the US nuclear industry. It is a bizarre creature unlike any other. Loaded with engineers, that I just can't understand. Its not that they are dumb. Its that their job is so monotonous and rote, I don't know how they don't just pull their hair out from boredom. They aren't engineers so much as they are paperwork clerks.

    We were replacing a heat exchanger for them, for part of their AC system. Small unit 10" pipe about 8 feet long. So the standard thickness for this pipe is 0.365". The original piece of equipment though had like 0.310" wall thickness pipe. No problem right .365>.310 it'll be slightly stronger, we're all good. Nope. we had to turn the OD of the pipe down so the thickness would be the same. Why, because standard wall pipe weighs ~5 lbs more per foot. So the unit would weigh 350 lbs instead of 300lbs. Now the unit is bolted to like 8" I beam, with giant U-bolts. Those 50lbs make no difference. Except if the unit is heavier they'd have to redo their seismic calcs and this plant is located near the earthquake hot spot of...Green Bay Wisconsin. Thousands of dollars of lathe time to turn down(and re straighten) that pipe, to make it weaker.

    And yet despite stories like that, you still get one of the best stories I've ever heard(drinking at the bar) at a work conference.

    DailyKos has a great write up I'm editing out all the public service commission stuff just to keep it shorter, but read the whole thing https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/2/4/1477515/-The-Crystal-River-Nuclear-Power-Plant-How-Progress-Energy-Broke-its-Own-Nuke

    Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant: How to DIY and save negative 2.5 billion dollars.
    The Crystal River Unit 3, located in rural Citrus County FL near the Gulf of Mexico, was one of the last nuclear power stations to be built in the United States, being completed in 1976. The 860 MW pressurized-water reactor was the only nuclear-powered plant at what would over the years become a 5-unit power station, one of the largest in the US. (The other four units were all coal-fired.)

    But by 2009, Crystal River Unit 3, like all the other nuclear plants in the US, had been in service for over 30 years, and was reaching the end of its designed lifespan. To keep the aging nukes running, electric companies across the US had begun upgrading some of the equipment to give them another 20 years or so of useful life.

    In September 2009, Unit 3 was scheduled for a routine shut-down to have its nuclear fuel replaced, and Progress Energy had already decided to use the opportunity to replace the 30-year old steam generators with new ones, which would increase the lifespan of the plant and also expand its electricity output by about 20%. Since the generators were located inside the thick cement containment building that surrounded the nuclear reactor (which was designed to prevent radioactive contamination if there were an accident) and were too big to fit through the existing door, the procedure for replacing them involved cutting a large hole, some 30x20 feet, through the thick wall[42" of concrete], and using the hole to gain access. While this might sound drastic, it had already been done several dozen times before in the US and was a rather routine task. It was expected that the work would be finished and the plant would be up and running again by December.

    ...

    By the time Progress Energy decided to upgrade its nuke, the same operation had already been done 34 times in other plants in the US, and in 13 of those cases, it had been necessary to cut through the containment building to replace the generators. All of those jobs had been carried out by one of just two companies, Bechtel Corporation or SGT. They all went without a hitch.

    At the time it first decided to replace the generators, back in 2004, Progress Energy approached SGT to do the work. The job would cost a total of $230 million, of which about $81 million would go for SGT's management fees. But then, someone in Progress Energy's upper-level management had what they apparently thought was a great idea--if they bypassed SGT entirely, managed the project themselves, and hired Bechtel solely to do the actual construction work, they could save the company somewhere between $15 and $30 million.

    The idea drew immediate criticism within the company. An internal memo pointed out that "large scale engineering and construction management is not our core business", and others argued that the company's inexperience in overseeing this type of project could very likely cause lots of delays that would ultimately swamp out any savings.

    Nevertheless, Progress Energy decided to go ahead with the “DIY” management plan. It hired Bechtel to do the actual work of replacing the generators, and another company called Mac & Mac Hydrodemolition (which had never worked on a nuclear plant) to cut the actual hole through the wall. To do all the preliminary planning, Progress hired an engineering company called Sargent and Lundy, which had also never worked on a nuclear power plant before. These all agreed to work directly under Progress’s own management.

    During the planning, Progress continuously pushed Sargent and Lundy to do things on the cheap. Nuclear containment buildings are built from cement which is reinforced by a number of tightened steel bands, called "tendons". The Crystal River plant had 426 tendons. In the process of cutting through the wall, a number of these tendons had to be loosened (called "de-tensioning"). When Sargent and Lundy submitted its plans for the project, they called for a total of 97 of the tendons to be loosened. Progress Energy management in turn complained that "de-tensioning the tendons is a very expensive and time-consuming effort," and asked S&L to reduce the "excessive" number. The next proposal was for 74 tendons to be loosened--about the same number as had been done in all the other plants that had undergone the procedure. It still wasn't enough to satisfy Progress. Company execs told Sargent and Lundy to "put their thinking caps on" and find "an alternative method. . . that would result in a lot less tendons being de-tensioned". S&L returned with a proposal to loosen just 65 tendons--lower than any of the other projects. Progress Energy, delighted with the cost savings, accepted the plan.

    But in September 2009, when the actual work began, it quickly became apparent that there were additional unusual things being proposed, apparently to save time and costs. In order to keep the tension evenly distributed around the containment building, it was necessary to loosen the tendons in a staggered pattern. Progress Energy management, however, was ordering the Bechtel workers to de-tension the tendons sequentially, right next to each other. The normal procedure was also to loosen all the necessary tendons before attempting to cut the actual hole through the wall; Mac and Mac was being ordered to begin cutting the hole after only 27 tendons had been loosened. A number of the Bechtel supervisors had worked on the projects at the other nuclear plants, and they were concerned at these departures from standard operating procedure. "I have never heard of it being done like this before," noted one foreman in a memo to his boss, "and I just want to express my concerns to you one last time.'' Bechtel's project supervisor asked in an email, "Why are we doing tendons different here than all other jobs?" Progress Energy responded with a bland, "I am satisfied the Sargent & Lundy approach is technically correct and will withstand scrutiny."

    The cutting process began in October 2009. Within an hour, cracks appeared in the wall of the containment building. Soon "large chunks" were popping loose and falling out.[From what I heard from someone who was there, there was over a foot of misalliagnment in sections, where the concrete on 1 side of the cut was a foot "higher" than the opposite side] The work was halted. The company’s efforts to save itself $15 million had resulted in the destruction of a $2.5 billion building.

    [So they actually made several efforts to repair the cracks, but none of the attempts to repair it wound up working. The final estimate for replacing the entire containment vessel was north of 1b dollars, they decided to just take the write-down instead]

    ....

    Decommissioning the Crystal River nuke is currently expected to cost about $1.2 billion, and take about sixty years.
    The silo in the middle front is the containment vessel.
    zkhuyckklnue.png
    Doodmann wrote: »
    I'm screaming.

  • Options
    Dongs GaloreDongs Galore Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    I feel like the KGB minister's exposition at the end
    about how Legasov was also a crony-politicking apparatchik before Chernobyl
    was sort of maladroit. It would have been nice to see some hint of that in his character before - see my earlier criticism about his character seeming too naive about the system.

    Also, Dyatlov critics are delusional. We're talking about an everyday working man who went to the toilet at work and took a shit so powerful it destroyed the USSR.

    Dongs Galore on
  • Options
    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    We were replacing a heat exchanger for them, for part of their AC system. Small unit 10" pipe about 8 feet long. So the standard thickness for this pipe is 0.365". The original piece of equipment though had like 0.310" wall thickness pipe. No problem right .365>.310 it'll be slightly stronger, we're all good. Nope. we had to turn the OD of the pipe down so the thickness would be the same. Why, because standard wall pipe weighs ~5 lbs more per foot. So the unit would weigh 350 lbs instead of 300lbs. Now the unit is bolted to like 8" I beam, with giant U-bolts. Those 50lbs make no difference. Except if the unit is heavier they'd have to redo their seismic calcs and this plant is located near the earthquake hot spot of...Green Bay Wisconsin. Thousands of dollars of lathe time to turn down(and re straighten) that pipe, to make it weaker.

    Oh god I deal with this kind of thing all the time. It’s pretty simple though; the lathe time is probably cheaper than the engineering time, including all overhead, to certify the alternative specification.

    I deal with maintenance engineering on multimillion dollar vehicles, and while there are a handful of things where specs are written as minimums and anything that exceeds those mins is fine, the vast majority are to specific tolerances or specifications. And while I can often look at a given deviation and say “yeah, that would be fine” any and all deviations from our approved drawings have to be documented and further approved. And that approval and documentation process alone will often cost more than just getting the right material and scrapping the stuff that doesn’t conform. And that documentation can matter, because if we have some unforeseen issue later because of the substitution it can assist in troubleshooting that problem.

    And this isn’t even for ordinance, let alone nuclear material. This is just for expensive autonomous vehicles we send under the water and expect to come back up.

  • Options
    Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    Nuclear power plants are required by their regulators to do "like for like" replacements where the new thing is exactly the same as the old thing. If they want to use something different it needs to go through a rigorous engineering design change review that costs millions of dollars. Same goes for adding new stuff. Also any regular old thing that you can buy for $2, as soon as it is being sold to nuclear power plant, becomes $200.

    This is how a rack of hooks to hang around 25 hard hats was quoted as costing $50,000 to my employer.

    I'm loathe to give too many specific details about things but that type of shit is rampant.

  • Options
    [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    It's the same in the oil industry.

    But there all the safety requirements are designed for topside (i.e., on platform or on land) conditions. I'm doing everything subsea (i.e., on the seabed). The real requirements are only tangentially related to the official requirements. At least most of the time the requirements are stricter. (E.g., you can't get an explosion subsea since there's no oxidiser, but you still need explosion-proofing.)

    There's actually a big push to reduce the unnecessary paperwork and get proper reqs for subsea.

    I attended a conference today and yesterday. One of the speakers was talking about the 737 max 8 (the ones that crashed recently). If you filled a 737 with a hardcopy of all the regulations, it would be too heavy to take off. But that also means that no person can possibly understand them all, or how they are linked.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    I attended a conference today and yesterday. One of the speakers was talking about the 737 max 8 (the ones that crashed recently). If you filled a 737 with a hardcopy of all the regulations, it would be too heavy to take off. But that also means that no person can possibly understand them all, or how they are linked.

    This is horseshit, though.

    Those planes didn't crash because of too much regulation, those planes crashed because of people trying to circumvent those regulations in order to try and save money. And now hundreds of people are dead.

    Safety regulations are written in blood.

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    AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    Yeah trying to paint the airline industry as a place where too much regulation is hurting people is ass-backwards.
    It's the safest form of travel because it's insanely regulated and regimented.

    RE: the nuclear like for like thing, maybe it would be better to spend the couple million on engineering and testing to do something. We choose the like for like because it's cheaper and ignore stuff until it fails and we are forced to change.

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    DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    I attended a conference today and yesterday. One of the speakers was talking about the 737 max 8 (the ones that crashed recently). If you filled a 737 with a hardcopy of all the regulations, it would be too heavy to take off. But that also means that no person can possibly understand them all, or how they are linked.

    This is horseshit, though.

    Those planes didn't crash because of too much regulation, those planes crashed because of people trying to circumvent those regulations in order to try and save money. And now hundreds of people are dead.

    Safety regulations are written in blood.

    It's worse than that. It's that Boeing decided to make something optional that should have been mandatory. The FAA said it was mandatory, but that's only hear. Because it's optional, according to Boeing, every other country's version of the FAA gets to make that choice. A lot of them are not as well funded bureaucracies as the FAA.

    Again, "simple, it was cheaper"

    Doodmann on
    Whippy wrote: »
    nope nope nope nope abort abort talk about anime
    I like to ART
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    [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    I'm not saying it was too much regulation; the fault is entirely at Boeing. They realized there was a problem late in development, and chose a quick cheap fix without fully understanding the ramifications of what they were doing.

    But it is a problem that the complexities are such that no one person can understand fully what is going on.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
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    [Expletive deleted][Expletive deleted] The mediocre doctor NorwayRegistered User regular
    Incidentally, NYT put up an article on the show just before the final episode. Plenty of Fantasy in HBO’s ‘Chernobyl,’ but the Truth Is Real
    The first thing to understand about the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl,” which concludes its five-part run on Monday, is that a lot of it is made up. But here’s the second, and more important, thing: It doesn’t really matter.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.
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    PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    But it is a problem that the complexities are such that no one person can understand fully what is going on.

    I'm pretty sure aircraft design and engineering has always been a problem no one person can fully understand, which is why we have large organizations without thousands of employees handle that part.

    Conservatives have been doing some version of "look at all these pages" bullshit to justify deregulation my entire life. The correct solution is to get up, make wanking motions with your hand, and then go on to see a speaker who isn't wasting your time channeling the ghost of Ronald Reagan.

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    m!ttensm!ttens he/himRegistered User regular
    I'm not saying it was too much regulation; the fault is entirely at Boeing. They realized there was a problem late in development, and chose a quick cheap fix without fully understanding the ramifications of what they were doing.

    But it is a problem that the complexities are such that no one person can understand fully what is going on.

    Well that and they lobbied for the ability to test and write the regulation paperwork themselves before handing it to an underfunded section of the FAA airworthiness regulators who didn't have the resources to fully vet the airframe.

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    SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    I've been involved in government audits of software on the military side. Out of a dozen or more of reviewers I interacted with, there was only ever one person who had actually ever written code professionally and she was hopelessly overwhelmed because every other customer rep was asking her to help them understand what they were approving. This was because hiring former pilots or people who had held high military ranks to these high paying jobs was seen as more desirable than just hiring nerds with engineering degrees. The more regulation you have, the more people you need to make sure it's being followed, and the smarter those people need to be. At a certain point you just can't put that all-star team together with government salaries.

    I ended up essentially being responsible for making sure my chunk of the project was meeting requirements and following dozens of standards that were hundreds of pages long. We were grading our own papers, basically. It was my first real job out of college.

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    KruiteKruite Registered User regular
    Incidentally, NYT put up an article on the show just before the final episode. Plenty of Fantasy in HBO’s ‘Chernobyl,’ but the Truth Is Real
    The first thing to understand about the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl,” which concludes its five-part run on Monday, is that a lot of it is made up. But here’s the second, and more important, thing: It doesn’t really matter.

    what an awful article. this guy's upright nose snobbery is petty

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    ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor changed Registered User regular
    "I have never heard of it being done like this before," noted one foreman in a memo to his boss, "and I just want to express my concerns to you one last time.'' Bechtel's project supervisor asked in an email, "Why are we doing tendons different here than all other jobs?" Progress Energy responded with a bland, "I am satisfied the Sargent & Lundy approach is technically correct and will withstand scrutiny."

    Amatures.

    Any graduate of the Dyatlov School of Nuclear Power Administration would have responded to that email by marching down to the sender's office and smashing their computer on the ground.

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    RussadRussad MARegistered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    Nuclear power plants are required by their regulators to do "like for like" replacements where the new thing is exactly the same as the old thing. If they want to use something different it needs to go through a rigorous engineering design change review that costs millions of dollars. Same goes for adding new stuff. Also any regular old thing that you can buy for $2, as soon as it is being sold to nuclear power plant, becomes $200.

    This is how a rack of hooks to hang around 25 hard hats was quoted as costing $50,000 to my employer.

    I'm loathe to give too many specific details about things but that type of shit is rampant.

    Yeah, coming from a biotech background, that doesn't sound too ridiculous to me. There are specs and approved design reviews and risk assessments that have already been done. You'd have to go through a bunch of those exercises again (or come up with a well-documented and sufficient reason why you don't), and all of that amounts to a lot of manhours and overhead costs.

    Aridhol wrote: »
    Yeah trying to paint the airline industry as a place where too much regulation is hurting people is ass-backwards.
    It's the safest form of travel because it's insanely regulated and regimented.

    RE: the nuclear like for like thing, maybe it would be better to spend the couple million on engineering and testing to do something. We choose the like for like because it's cheaper and ignore stuff until it fails and we are forced to change.

    In biotech (and nuclear, from what little I've intersected there) it's not that like for like saves money. It's that you have qualified, validated systems. A lot of work has been done to ensure that Part A does what it's supposed to do. If I'm going to plop Part B in place of it, I need to know it isn't going to have an impact.

    For a real world example, I know an issue arose in a facility where the final product was seeing an unusual amount of aggregate material, and it wasn't making it through QA. For almost a year extensive investigations with process engineering were done, with that product unable to release. Ultimately they were able to identify that it was an issue with a filter. The filter itself hadn't "changed", but the way the filter was processed by the company making them had been. It "shouldn't" have had an impact on the process, as the filter still filtered out the same particle sizes. It's sort of an extreme example, but it highlights that just because we think we can substitute something for an identical part... they may not actually be identical. And in things like drug substances and nuclear power plants, I prefer to err on the expensive side of caution.

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    Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    I’m going to be honest, while it might be frustrating to see them waste thousands of dollars lathing down perfectly good conduit if they didn’t have those rules you would have people just buying and using whatever shit. I don’t want to get irradiated because someone bought some $5 o-rings from lowe’s to use in the nuclear power plant.

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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    There has to be a middle ground between "build everything exactly to this spec, if you so much as alter one millimeter of anything then the entire project has to be reassessed from soup to nuts" vs "loosening 97 tendons is too expensive, let's send the cheapest bidder in to loosen half of them."

    I don't have a comprehensive answer to that conundrum.

    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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    PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    There has to be a middle ground between "build everything exactly to this spec, if you so much as alter one millimeter of anything then the entire project has to be reassessed from soup to nuts" vs "loosening 97 tendons is too expensive, let's send the cheapest bidder in to loosen half of them."

    I don't have a comprehensive answer to that conundrum.

    I mean, it is not like power companies and aircraft manufacturers are going broke because of compliance. Ultimately, the discussion is about “How many corners can we allow be cut in order to pad already hefty profits before disaster strikes?”

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    PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    The system works but only when we can afford to fail. We don't have a good method for systems where "never" events actually have to never happen

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
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    RussadRussad MARegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    There has to be a middle ground between "build everything exactly to this spec, if you so much as alter one millimeter of anything then the entire project has to be reassessed from soup to nuts" vs "loosening 97 tendons is too expensive, let's send the cheapest bidder in to loosen half of them."

    I don't have a comprehensive answer to that conundrum.

    That middle ground exists within the systems, generally. I don't have the whole history of the above example with the heat exchanger. I'm sure with the right Qual and Val people you could make an argument that everyone would buy off on*. But it's likely that a procedure somewhere says "these things require new seismic calculations, no exceptions". And, in my experience, those SOPs don't get magicked out of nowhere. Someone, somewhere didn't do the thing, and someone got hurt or there was some other type of incident or near miss, and now it's documented.

    Or maybe the QA and Val folks are just dicks. I worked at a place where they did a renovation in the basement, but no one thought to update the graphic for the basement on the building automation system, so I was asked to do it. It was a static line, no functionality, that was simply meant to give someone looking at it the general room layout of the basement, an area of the facility not associated with making drug product. It's a 5 minute change that doesn't have any associated risk. In substitution for doing a full engineering design review and risk assessment, I proposed drafting a memo signed by my manager, QA, and Val, assessing, as the subject matter expert, that it was a harmless change with no potential risk. QA was having none of it. I had my SOPs with me, I showed them where the procedure indicated this was acceptable, and I was still shot down. Took me 6 months to get it fixed.

    *Full disclosure, I was on loan to a few nuclear projects when I first started my career, but I've never worked for real in the nuclear power industry. I'm making some assumptions on how their processes work based on my biotech experience. But from what I've gathered from people who have done both, they're pretty similar, except nuclear has even stronger controls than biotech.

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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited June 2019
    Feral wrote: »
    There has to be a middle ground between "build everything exactly to this spec, if you so much as alter one millimeter of anything then the entire project has to be reassessed from soup to nuts" vs "loosening 97 tendons is too expensive, let's send the cheapest bidder in to loosen half of them."

    I don't have a comprehensive answer to that conundrum.

    I mean, it is not like power companies and aircraft manufacturers are going broke because of compliance. Ultimately, the discussion is about “How many corners can we allow be cut in order to pad already hefty profits before disaster strikes?”

    Oh, I agree.

    Taken in aggregate, most regulations have good reasons to exist, and I agree that we should be deeply skeptical of rich companies calling for deregulation. Especially when dealing with something as hazardous as nuclear power.

    But sometimes the opposite is true, some regulations are bad, especially in industries with lower stakes: like business regulations that exist for blatantly political reasons (abortion clinics who are required to keep their hallways large enough to allow gurneys), or regulatory capture (auto parts stores in California are not allowed to loan you OBD2 readers), or just well-meaning regulations that end up being more trouble than they're worth (California again: prop 65, which forces pretty much every place of business to put up a nigh-meaningless warning about cancer-causing chemicals.

    Sometimes the problem isn't just a single regulation, but the sprawl of adding regulations upon regulations without streamlining them. This article talks about it in terms of public housing, but regulatory sprawl is an impediment to market-rate housing, too.

    Feral on
    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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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    Variable wrote: »
    what was wrong with it? I agreed with your feelings in the early eps, if only because I got the sense thousands were dead/gonna die really fast really badly and that seems to have not been the case. I did think that was misleading.

    but I thought the last ep did a great job of setting things right. curious what you didn't like.

    basically, I didn’t think that final montage presented a lot of its info with proper context.

    saying "it's been reported" that everyone on the 'bridge of death' died is the closest to being downright false. there's no evidence, anywhere, that this is true, other than urban legend. just like they said "it's been widely reported" all three of the sluice gate openers died, but it isn't true - its weird they would just act like this other instance was actually verifiable.

    they give no background into the estimates of cancer deaths - the IAEA estimates the very lowest of the range they gave, and this estimate is based on a linear no-threshold dose theory that has never been proven to hold under doses of 100 mSv. it's conservative even at the low end.

    they also say there was a big spike in cancer rate right after the event, mostly in children. and this is technically true - but its leaving out that its for one specific type of cancer only, thyroid cancer. it has an over 99% cure rate, and they estimate only 15 people actually died because of this "big spike" in cancer rate. there was some evidence of an increase in leukemia rates in the most exposed of the liquidators, but otherwise, there's been no provable evidence of any increase in solid cancer rate in exposed individuals. this, to me, seemed like intentionally misleading viewers.

    this is all information that could easily have been provided

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    VariableVariable Mouth Congress Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    I do agree that the fact that the second "it's been reported" is then called out as false definitely makes the first "it's been reported" (which then adds no more context) pretty questionable. they could have sequenced that better. don't really disagree with anything else you're saying so thanks for laying that out.

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    y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    edited June 2019
    Variable wrote: »
    I do agree that the fact that the second "it's been reported" is then called out as false definitely makes the first "it's been reported" (which then adds no more context) pretty questionable. they could have sequenced that better. don't really disagree with anything else you're saying so thanks for laying that out.

    no problem! i don't have any problem with them changing things dramatically to make their point (legasov was never at the trial, etc.,) it just bothers me that they would make a such big deal about truth being the answer and then bend it a bit during the section where they are laying out what they say actually happened. its scary enough!

    y2jake215 on
    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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    knitdanknitdan In ur base Killin ur guysRegistered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    Nuclear power plants are required by their regulators to do "like for like" replacements where the new thing is exactly the same as the old thing. If they want to use something different it needs to go through a rigorous engineering design change review that costs millions of dollars. Same goes for adding new stuff. Also any regular old thing that you can buy for $2, as soon as it is being sold to nuclear power plant, becomes $200.

    This is how a rack of hooks to hang around 25 hard hats was quoted as costing $50,000 to my employer.

    I'm loathe to give too many specific details about things but that type of shit is rampant.

    I never worked in nuclear or government, but occasionally my boss had me pretend to be some random dude instead of A Representative of My Company, because otherwise certain vendors would jack up the quotes.

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
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    Dongs GaloreDongs Galore Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    This is what I am talking about with Legasov and Homyuk:

    New Yorker on "What Chernobyl Got Right and What it Got Terribly Wrong"

    "Similarly repetitive and ridiculous are the many scenes of heroic scientists confronting intransigent bureaucrats by explicitly criticizing the Soviet system of decision-making. In Episode 3, for example, Legasov asks, rhetorically, “Forgive me—maybe I’ve just spent too much time in my lab, or maybe I’m just stupid. Is this really the way it all works? An uninformed, arbitrary decision that will cost who knows how many lives that is made by some apparatchik, some career Party man?” Yes, of course this is the way it works, and, no, he hasn’t been in his lab so long that he didn’t realize that this is how it works. The fact of the matter is, if he didn’t know how it worked, he would never have had a lab."

    "Resignation was the defining condition of Soviet life. But resignation is a depressing and untelegenic spectacle. So the creators of “Chernobyl” imagine confrontation where confrontation was unthinkable—and, in doing so, they cross the line from conjuring a fiction to creating a lie."

    "The problem is not just that Khomyuk is a fiction; it’s that the kind of expert knowledge she represents is a fiction. The Soviet system of propaganda and censorship existed not so much for the purpose of spreading a particular message as for the purpose of making learning impossible, replacing facts with mush, and handing the faceless state a monopoly on defining an ever-shifting reality."

    Dongs Galore on
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    PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Chernobyl (the show) is a work of fiction much like an anatomy specimen is a fictional representation of the organism it once was - dissected open in an unnatural pose and state with artificial coloring, its vital fluids replaced with preservative. To be a fly on the wall during the events of Chernobyl would be depressing and untelegenic because we wouldn't see the most fascinating parts of the people involved. You can open them up with a documentary style narrative and a subdued, almost mute visual aid probably truer to life, or you could artificially peel back their barriers and expose their thoughts and the significance of the circumstances. Some people aren't used to the latter and think it's a meaningless embellishment, but usually they can provide no better way to provide what we seek.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
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    Sanguinius666264Sanguinius666264 Registered User regular
    I work in complex project environments for a living, where it is impossible to know all the ins and outs of what is connected to what and where and how at any given time - even more so about what is going to be connected to other things in the future.

    I'm all for the extensive regulations and changes to even a single nut or bolt being horrendous and super difficult to change in something like a nuclear power station. I know several of the examples given about single changes have been on the order of 'it is just a single nut! it's just a straight line on a diagram with no functionality!'

    That's the camel's nose under the tent - soon as it's 'just a x' it quickly becomes 'just a y, too' and that's how failure states creep in. The risk management on these things has to be that stringent because the consequences are so large.

    All systems have risk in them, that's the nature of the beast - no system is completely without risk, which is why you also have mitigation on the other side of an event occurring. You put in as many preventative things as you can, but should the shit hit the fan (or the graphite tip the reactor core) you have to have a good idea of what you need to do to stop the impact.

    While we're getting much better at that than we used to be - I still see far too many places with either no or very limited disaster recovery/business continuity planning - it's still not very good. When it's something that's going to have a catastrophic effect, where mitigation is expensive and hard to do, you become very stringent on reducing the risk possibility. That manifests in 'no, you can't change the type of bolt' and 'no, you can't change the plans a few centimeters'.

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    TynnanTynnan seldom correct, never unsure Registered User regular
    This is what I am talking about with Legasov and Homyuk:

    New Yorker on "What Chernobyl Got Right and What it Got Terribly Wrong"

    "Similarly repetitive and ridiculous are the many scenes of heroic scientists confronting intransigent bureaucrats by explicitly criticizing the Soviet system of decision-making. In Episode 3, for example, Legasov asks, rhetorically, “Forgive me—maybe I’ve just spent too much time in my lab, or maybe I’m just stupid. Is this really the way it all works? An uninformed, arbitrary decision that will cost who knows how many lives that is made by some apparatchik, some career Party man?” Yes, of course this is the way it works, and, no, he hasn’t been in his lab so long that he didn’t realize that this is how it works. The fact of the matter is, if he didn’t know how it worked, he would never have had a lab."

    "Resignation was the defining condition of Soviet life. But resignation is a depressing and untelegenic spectacle. So the creators of “Chernobyl” imagine confrontation where confrontation was unthinkable—and, in doing so, they cross the line from conjuring a fiction to creating a lie."

    "The problem is not just that Khomyuk is a fiction; it’s that the kind of expert knowledge she represents is a fiction. The Soviet system of propaganda and censorship existed not so much for the purpose of spreading a particular message as for the purpose of making learning impossible, replacing facts with mush, and handing the faceless state a monopoly on defining an ever-shifting reality."

    This author is completely missing the point, though. This book-report supposition falls flat when you actually listen to Mazin discuss Khomyuk's character and the scientists she is written to represent. It's a tiring article written by someone who apparently believes that he read a book that the showrunner somehow overlooked (when in fact Mazin drew heavily from it)

    This passage, in particular, is telling:
    The biggest fiction in this scene, though, is Khomyuk herself. Unlike other characters, she is made up—according to the closing titles, she represents dozens of scientists who helped Legasov investigate the cause of the disaster. Khomyuk appears to embody every possible Hollywood fantasy. She is a truth-knower: the first time we see her, she is already figuring out that something has gone terribly wrong, and she is grasping it terribly fast, unlike the dense men at the actual scene of the disaster, who seem to need hours to take it in. She is also a truth-seeker: she interviews dozens of people (some of them as they are dying of radiation exposure), digs up a scientific paper that has been censored, and figures out exactly what happened, minute by minute. She also gets herself arrested and then immediately seated at a meeting on the disaster, led by Gorbachev. None of this is possible, and all of it is hackneyed. The problem is not just that Khomyuk is a fiction; it’s that the kind of expert knowledge she represents is a fiction.

    If you listen to Craig Mazin discuss this character with Peter Sagal on the Chernobyl podcast, he goes into detail on what Khomyuk represents. There were many scientists involved in supporting Legasov's inquiry. They held different political positions, they held different opinions on the way the disaster had happened and on how to resolve it, and they comprised a tremendous body of knowledge that worked to drill down on what the root causes were. There's no way to portray that succinctly unless you collapse those people into a condensed dialogue, and so of course she comes off conveniently as an expert in the various subjects pertinent to the investigation. Because they were.

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    VariableVariable Mouth Congress Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    This is what I am talking about with Legasov and Homyuk:

    New Yorker on "What Chernobyl Got Right and What it Got Terribly Wrong"

    "Similarly repetitive and ridiculous are the many scenes of heroic scientists confronting intransigent bureaucrats by explicitly criticizing the Soviet system of decision-making. In Episode 3, for example, Legasov asks, rhetorically, “Forgive me—maybe I’ve just spent too much time in my lab, or maybe I’m just stupid. Is this really the way it all works? An uninformed, arbitrary decision that will cost who knows how many lives that is made by some apparatchik, some career Party man?” Yes, of course this is the way it works, and, no, he hasn’t been in his lab so long that he didn’t realize that this is how it works. The fact of the matter is, if he didn’t know how it worked, he would never have had a lab."

    "Resignation was the defining condition of Soviet life. But resignation is a depressing and untelegenic spectacle. So the creators of “Chernobyl” imagine confrontation where confrontation was unthinkable—and, in doing so, they cross the line from conjuring a fiction to creating a lie."

    "The problem is not just that Khomyuk is a fiction; it’s that the kind of expert knowledge she represents is a fiction. The Soviet system of propaganda and censorship existed not so much for the purpose of spreading a particular message as for the purpose of making learning impossible, replacing facts with mush, and handing the faceless state a monopoly on defining an ever-shifting reality."

    someone had to run the machines...

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    Dongs GaloreDongs Galore Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    I know why Homyuk was created and who she represents, but it was ultimately a clumsy expedient that could have been done better. Condensing hundreds of people into one created an awkwardly superhuman character in a cast otherwise defined by their powerlessness and inability to speak out.
    I would perhaps have divided her role as Legasov's conscience and her role as investigator into two or three scientist characters with smaller parts each. If the audience can keep track of 6 different guys in identical white coats and hats it could keep track of two different researchers.

    btw Masha Gessen is 1) she/her 2) grew up in the USSR and 3) was fired as chief editor of a Russian science journal for defying the Putin regime. It's not just some guy delivering a book report.

    Dongs Galore on
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    HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    I know why Homyuk was created and who she represents, but it was ultimately a clumsy expedient that could have been done better. Condensing hundreds of people into one created an awkwardly superhuman character in a cast otherwise defined by their powerlessness and inability to speak out.
    I would perhaps have divided her role as Legasov's conscience and her role as investigator into two or three scientist characters with smaller parts each. If the audience can keep track of 6 different guys in identical white coats and hats it could keep track of two different researchers.

    btw Masha Gessen is 1) she/her 2) grew up in the USSR and 3) was fired as chief editor of a Russian science journal for defying the Putin regime. It's not just some guy delivering a book report.

    This would have been a good idea for a multi-season show and I would have loved if there could have been more viewpoints presented when it comes that,

    This was a five episode mini-series. I think the creation of Homyuk was probably the best idea given that.

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    ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor changed Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    Tynnan wrote: »
    This is what I am talking about with Legasov and Homyuk:

    New Yorker on "What Chernobyl Got Right and What it Got Terribly Wrong"

    "Similarly repetitive and ridiculous are the many scenes of heroic scientists confronting intransigent bureaucrats by explicitly criticizing the Soviet system of decision-making. In Episode 3, for example, Legasov asks, rhetorically, “Forgive me—maybe I’ve just spent too much time in my lab, or maybe I’m just stupid. Is this really the way it all works? An uninformed, arbitrary decision that will cost who knows how many lives that is made by some apparatchik, some career Party man?” Yes, of course this is the way it works, and, no, he hasn’t been in his lab so long that he didn’t realize that this is how it works. The fact of the matter is, if he didn’t know how it worked, he would never have had a lab."

    "Resignation was the defining condition of Soviet life. But resignation is a depressing and untelegenic spectacle. So the creators of “Chernobyl” imagine confrontation where confrontation was unthinkable—and, in doing so, they cross the line from conjuring a fiction to creating a lie."

    "The problem is not just that Khomyuk is a fiction; it’s that the kind of expert knowledge she represents is a fiction. The Soviet system of propaganda and censorship existed not so much for the purpose of spreading a particular message as for the purpose of making learning impossible, replacing facts with mush, and handing the faceless state a monopoly on defining an ever-shifting reality."

    This author is completely missing the point, though. This book-report supposition falls flat when you actually listen to Mazin discuss Khomyuk's character and the scientists she is written to represent. It's a tiring article written by someone who apparently believes that he read a book that the showrunner somehow overlooked (when in fact Mazin drew heavily from it)

    I think you're missing her point:
    Alexievich interviewed people about their experience of the Second World War, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. For all of these other events and periods in Russian history, there were widely adopted narratives, habits of speaking that, Alexievich found, had a way of overshadowing actual personal experience and private memory. But when she asked survivors about Chernobyl they accessed their own stories more easily, because the story hadn’t been told. The Soviet media disseminated very little information about the disaster. There were no books or movies or songs. There was a vacuum.

    ...

    [T]he HBO series “Chernobyl,” ... will probably finally fill the vacuum where the story of Chernobyl should be. This is not a good thing.

    ...

    The viewer is invited to fantasize that, if not for Dyatlov, the better men would have done the right thing and the fatal flaw in the reactor, and the system itself, might have remained latent. This is a lie.

    ...

    This is the great-men (and one woman) narrative of history, where it’s a few steps, a few decisions, made by a few men that matter, rather than the mess that humans make and from which they suffer.

    In short, she laments that this romanticized version of events, through no fault of its authors, is the version of events that will likely take hold.

    She then delves into what, specifically, it changes, why it's important to remember that's not what happened, and the ugly truths that go unmentioned or fade into the background.

    Like this bit:
    There are a lot of people throughout the series who appear to act out of fear of being shot. This is inaccurate: summary executions, or even delayed executions on orders of a single apparatchik, were not a feature of Soviet life after the nineteen-thirties. By and large, Soviet people did what they were told without being threatened with guns or any punishment.

    If this is going to be the document of record for many, it's important to remember that none of the real protagonists had a gun to their head and resistance in their hearts. Everyone was just going along to get along, and trying not to think about the cost.

    As a fictionalized account, I felt the series touched on these things sufficiently; but, as a defacto historical record, I understand her concerns.

    ArbitraryDescriptor on
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    TynnanTynnan seldom correct, never unsure Registered User regular
    The HBO series in no way espouses a great-man theory. In fact, it goes to great lengths to do quite the opposite. Chernobyl exploded because several people acted in accordance with the pressures of the system they worked in, in combination with a design flaw that the system had allowed to exist. The central tension of the final two episodes - nearly half the series - is built around the fact the conditions that enabled the Chernobyl disaster were hardly rare in the Soviet nuclear industry, and that if nothing were to change then it was likely to happen again. The fact that it was Dyatlov in the control room that night giving his unreasonable orders is irrelevant. Dyatlov doesn't matter. It was one man giving the orders because how many control room supervisors can a nuclear power plant have?

    I'll grant you the bullet-to-the-head thing.

    The rest of this argument, though, is strange and poorly supported. Gessen seems to believe that we are incapable of understanding allegory? That we are unable to see the compromises that any media production must make in what it chooses to show and what it decides must remain unsaid or unseen? We are all toddlers, and now we believe that Jared Harris was actually a nuclear chemist and Paul Ritter irradiated a continent. She is picking at nits to avoid giving the show credit for the ways it was truthful.

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