Twenty Years And A Day

Mark Nelson’s Pripyat series on flickr is full of the pictures of desolation that people seem to be looking for as we solemnly honor the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Google added high-resolution satellite photos of the area yesterday, and offers both stories and photo galleries to help us remember. It is there […] » about 200 words

Chernobyl and Pripyat Satellite Photos

Today, on the twentieth anniversary of the disaster, Google has added high-resolution satellite photos of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the abandoned town of Pripyat. Above is the plant; the damaged reactor is on the left. In Pripyat, the ghostly ferris wheel was easy to find, but where’s the vehicle graveyard? Update: here it […] » about 100 words

Twenty Years Ago Today

Twenty years ago today at 1:23:44, the Chernobyl NPP reactor number four exploded. Five thousand tons of lead, sand, and other materials were dropped on the resulting fire in an attempt to stop the spread of the radioactive cloud. The world learned of the accident when Western European nuclear facilities identified radiation anomalies and traced […] » about 300 words

Twenty Years After Chernobyl

Nearly 20 years after the initial events of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 26 1986, the story is still unfolding. This month's <a href="">National Geographic Magazine</a> tells of the “<a href="">long shadow of Chernobyl</a>” -- grown children of the disaster now fear having their own children while <a href="">some elderly residents return to their old homes</a> inside the 1,000 square mile, still contaminated “<a href="">exclusion zone</a>.” The print article seemed to offer hope, noting that even the pines of the “red forest” -- so called because they received so much radiation that it bleached the chlorophyl from them, and some say the trees actually glowed -- are beginning to grow back now. But the <a href="">multimedia companion materials</a> tell a somewhat more morose tale. » about 800 words

Homer Simpson Nuclear Safety Simulator

Here: have at it with a Swedish nuclear power plant simulator. Raise and lower the control rods, turn pumps on and off, open and close valves, just make sure you don’t blowup anything.

Go look at the Chernobyl tour to see what happens when you mess up.

The original page includes this context:

The control-room operators of the Kärnobyl nuclear power plant are telecommuting and are running the plant through the Web. However, the mean time between failure for the components of Kärnobyl is not great. Try to keep the reactor stable when component failures occur!

Google Maps Gets All The Attention

It would reasonably appear that here in the US, there’s only one map site: good ol’ Google. But until Google adds maps for countries other than the US, Canada, and UK, the rest of the world will have to look elsewhere. Enter the UK competitor: has been serving the world outside the bubble since 1996. From their self description:

Key features include street-level maps of the United Kingdom, Europe, and the US; road maps of the world; door-to-door travel directions; aerial photographs; and local information.

In short, it’s probably the best place to point any random set of coordinates. Example: my story about the Chernobyl tour should probably have included this street map of the region. (Yes, Google will now give me a low resolution satellite photo of the reactor, but photos and maps offer different value for different uses.)

My only complaint is that the service lacks the AJAX features that make Google Maps so great. But that might be changing. A post at The Map Room tells of a new feature for UK regions: a map overlay follows the mouse on aerial photos. Take a look at this example. Nice trick, eh?

Chernobyl Tour

update: there’s more pictures, even some video (look for links marked with the QuickTime logo), and a bundle more nuclear and Chernobyl-related stories. I almost fell into a trap that has snared quite a few before me. bookofjoe recently pointed to the story of Elena, a motorcycle riding woman who claimed to brave the radiation […] » about 2400 words