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Fallout suggests a nuclear reactor blew up in Russia, experts say
New findings show that Russian explosion was from a nuclear reactor.
- Nuclear experts confirm that the Russian explosion that occurred earlier in August was likely from a nuclear reactor.
- Rapidly decaying radioactive isotopes were found in the surrounding area.
- A number of independent researchers confirmed the findings.
In the aftermath of the mysterious nuclear explosion at a Russians weapons site, more details are beginning to emerge regarding the spread of radiation. With very limited news from the Russian state-run media channels, experts and whistleblowers alike are now confident that the explosion was in fact from a nuclear reactor.
The deadly blast emanated from the Nyonoksa military weapons range, where it released a cloud of radioactive gasses that swept into nearby towns, among them Severodvinsk. The state weather agency confirms that there was a mix of decaying radioactive isotopes found, that consisted of strontium-91, barium-139, barium-140, and lanthanum-140, all of which have half-lives that degrade in a time range from 83 minutes to 12.8 days.
Joshua Pollack, editor of the Nonproliferation Review and leading expert on nuclear and missile proliferation told Business Insider that, "These are fission products. If anyone still doubts that a nuclear reactor was involved in this incident, this report should go a long way toward resolving that."
Russia has a long history of negating or blatantly ignoring these nuclear accidents. Now experts believe that there is enough data to evince this was a nuclear reactor explosion. While government officials have stayed tight-lipped, the facts have been slowly leaking out.
Russia’s continual nuclear coverups
The initial August 8th blast killed five scientists with an additional spike in radiation levels. It took a few days before Russia admitted any nuclear materials were involved. Russian media channels initially reported that the explosions were due to a liquid propellant jet engine. Western scientists and other officials were quick to doubt this statement.
Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, eventually announced that the specialists killed in the accident were developing new kinds of weapons with an isotope power source.
A string of unethical things happened following the accident. An independent newspaper, The Moscow Times reported that doctors who treated engineers hurt during the explosion were not told their patients were covered in radioactive material.
Additionally, in the aftermath of the explosion, several nuclear monitoring stations in Russia cut out and went offline. It was reported that doctors were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements, while some hospital records were also destroyed. One doctor even found cesium-137 in his muscle tissue, which Russian media channels quickly dismissed.
These set of facts suggest a cover-up job, something of which Russia has a long history of initiating.
Courageousness of whistleblowers
If it wasn't for scattered Russian social media posts showing first responders in hazardous material protection suits and a handful of heroic experts uncovering the facts, this crucial information might have slipped through the cracks.
Norwegian nuclear safety expert Nils Bøhmer is confident that the new information removes any doubts. Speaking with The Barrents Observer, told reporters that, "The presence of decay products like barium and strontium is coming from a nuclear chain reaction. It is a proof that is was a nuclear reactor that exploded."
He explains that the mixture of short-lived isotopes wouldn't be there if Russian authorities were only using a regular propellant engine with just an "isotope source."
Russia has been known to be testing two types of weapons systems which could include a nuclear reactor: both the Burevestnik cruise missile and Poseidon underwater drone may fit the bill.
Alexander Uvarov, editor of independent news site AtomInfo.ru also spoke out and told news agency RIA Novosti that these isotopes are byproducts of nuclear fission which involved uranium.
Health issues from nuclear fallout
Yuri Dubrova an expert on the effects of radiation on the human body also spoke with The Moscow Times. Dubrova said that patients brought into the hospital after the nuclear incident most likely had a high dose of nuclear isotopes on their skin.
Since not all the facts are straight, there's no way to determine how many doctors or immediate residents were affected by the high doses of radiation.
"If the dosage wasn't very high, the person should be able to fully recover within a week if they are given clean food and water. Exposure to Caesium-137 is quite preventable — all you need to do is wash the patient really well. But the doctors were made vulnerable to radiation because they hadn't been told what had happened," he said.
After Russia's consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and the Emergency Situations Ministry inspected the hospital a few days later, it was declared safe.
It looks like a potential Chernobyl situation has been narrowly missed. It'll be important for experts to monitor the situation as we glean more information and continually stay vigilant to ensure Russia is held accountable for these potentially cataclysmic nuclear events.
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What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.