Featured image for episode 2 of the control d podcast. The image depicts an aerial view of the ghost town of Pripyat, during the Autumn.

(Legacy) Our ambivalent bond with the Atom – CTRL+D Podcast #2

Despite some equipment issues, we’re back with a bang!… And, apparently, with another boatload of potshot comedy. On this episode, the three of us wanted to talk about the Atom, and some common misconceptions surrounding nuclear energy. We also did our best to make a case as to why it is our best option for an energy source of the future. We didn’t quite succeed with the latter part, instead going on one of our patented digressions, but we hope you can forgive us. We’re learning the ropes. Regardless, you can still learn a thing or two about the inner workings of a nuclear reactor, factual details surrounding the Chernobyl incident, the story of a man who survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and more, in episode 2 of the CTRL+D Podcast. Enjoy ­čÖé

Atom notes:

[00:00:02] –

Goodbye. (I promise this will make sense in about 80 minutes)

[00:00:21] –

Liftoff of HMS Bad Taste.

[00:01:26] –

Why are we the way that we are?

[00:03:45] –

Main topic.

[00:04:36] –

Professor Nichols presents: “Nuclear power plants 101″… And we really do mean 101. That bit lasted all of 101 seconds.

[00:06:17] –

The most common public fears, surrounding the mythical beast that is the nuclear power plant.

[00:14:45] –

There are practically no English-language sources, but a quick Google Translate session can tell you much about the Vega de Tera dam failure of January 9th, 1959, which leveled the village of Ribadelago and took the lives of 144 people. Unfortunately, one of the “lighter” dam failure disasters, in terms of death toll. Here’s a Google Maps link to the location of the failed dam.

[00:18:35] –

The Chernobyl disaster, described in far more detail than you ever needed, by someone sounding far more boring than you expected.

[00:18:55] –

Alas, that is not true. Chernobyl and Pripyat are two individual, if integrally linked cities. Chernobyl was a regular city of 15,000, whereas Pripyat was one of nine “atom towns” spread out across the USSR, boasting a population of nearly 50,000. Somewhat counterintuitively, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) is located at the outskirts of Pripyat, whilst the city of Chernobyl is situated roughly 18 kilometres downstream, along the Western bank of the Pripyat river. Despite both towns falling within the 30-kilometre exclusion zone, today Chernobyl still has a population of about 700, albeit mostly government employees, whereas Pripyat, due to its extreme proximity to the ChNPP, is a ghost town.

[00:25:28] –


[00:37:18] –

We do, indeed, have a map of the fallout cloud’s propagation. This reminds me that I forgot to mention a very important detail. Due to Chernobyl’s geographical location and wind conditions at the time, most of the radioactive particles fell on Belarusian territory. Ukraine and Belarus have suffered greatly ever since, both economically and (more importantly) in terms of their populations’ health, experiencing record numbers of cancer cases in both young and old alike, as well as genetic malformations in children born after 1986.

[00:38:28] –

The title of this documentary, CHERNOBYL 3828, is a reference to the┬á3,828 liquidators tasked with clearing out the intact portions of Reactor 3’s roof. Besides the core itself, that was the most heavily irradiated area of the entire plant.

[00:38:40] –

ZING!!! Thumbnail quote.

[00:42:45] –

A time-lapse of the New Safe Confinement structure sliding into place. It’s important to note that the arch is fitted with two remotely operated overhead cranes. They will be used in the disassembly of the crumbling sarcophagus underneath. The hastily built structure, completed just 7 months after the incident, poses a serious risk, as any collapse over the reactor room could lift up a massive cloud of radioactive particles.

[00:47:24] –

DAMN YOU, FEEBLE MEMORY! It’s 9:47, not 9:42. Shoutout to any wastelanders listening.

[00:56:30] –

A photograph taken on Reactor 3’s roof, clearly showing the striping phenomenon. The man who took the picture, Igor Kostin, was one of just five photographers that were allowed on site.

[00:58:11] –

Whew! That is, indeed, finally over. And with a masterful segway, Pedro moved on to talking about the only known person to have survived both bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tsutomu Yamaguchi.

[01:01:21] –

Well, that’s not right! – The overstated importance of the atomic bombings on the end of World War 2, described in far more detail than you ever needed, by someone sounding far more boring than you expected. Deja vu.

[01:03:20] –

The Supreme Council meeting was, in fact, held not two but three days later, on the morning of August 9th. The bombings were not brought up.

[01:05:24] –

Another correction on my part. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria started precisely on August 9th.

[01:09:15] –

The Entertainment Lounge

[01:17:30] –

Duck And Cover… So we have an easier time identifying your charred remains afterwards. (and here’s some totally appropriate and tasteful Civil Defense Radio music)

[01:19:32] –

It was at this moment, Plamen realised his┬áGojira joke went waaaaaay over his friends’ heads. At least they did the politeness laughter though.

[01:23:20] –

Closing words.

[01:25:10] –


[01:25:23] –