Roentgen Quotes

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For the birth of something new, there has to be a happening. Newton saw an apple fall; James Watt watched a kettle boil; Rontgen fogged some photographic plates. And these people knew enough to translate ordinary happenings into something new...
Alexander Fleming
The radiation in Chernobyl’s Unit 4 reactor hall was now at an instantly-lethal 30,000 roentgens-per-hour. 500 roentgens, received over the course of 5 hours, is a fatal dose. 400 is fatal in 50% of victims. Anything even approaching that will hospitalise you for months if you’re lucky, or cripple you if you aren’t. The volume and intensity of radioactive particles thrown into the atmosphere on that night was equal to 10 Hiroshima bombs, not including the hundreds of tons of reactor fuel and graphite that landed all over the plant.
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
Where normally it would take one man an hour to do a job, on Chernobyl’s rooftop it took 60 men. The work took two and a half weeks, and in most cases each man only went up once - though some went up to five times, and the scouts many more times even than that. Only around 10% of the clean up on the roof was accomplished by actual machines. The rest was done by 5,000 men who absorbed a combined 130,000 roentgens, according to Yuri Semiolenko, the Soviet official responsible for decontamination of the plant.236 Vladimir Shevchenko, a filmmaker from Kiev, died within a year of filming harrowing roof-top footage of the ruined reactor and Bio-robots entirely without protection. His cameras became so radioactive they had to be buried.
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
After a long and arduous search, the scientists found fuel in December, with the help of remote cameras poking through a long hole drilled into a wall. It was still emitting 10,000 roentgens-per-hour. “It made us treat it with the utmost respect,” remembers Yuri Buzulukov, another expedition scientist. “To approach it meant certain death.”245 The two-meter-wide mass, which was discovered deep in the basement and quite a lateral distance from the reactor, had poured through a hole in the ceiling and cooled into a dark, glassy substance. They named it ‘The Elephant’s Foot’ due to its wrinkled, circular appearance. The fuel alone couldn’t have done this; the glassy effect was a major breakthrough. Samples were required for study, but the miniature robots sent to chip off pieces didn’t have sufficient strength to damage the Elephant’s Foot.
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
Captain Sergei Volodin was an Air Force helicopter pilot who often flew a specially equipped Mi-8 transport helicopter around Ukraine. The aircraft was fitted with a dosimeter that Captain Volodin had used in the past to test radiation levels around Chernobyl out of his own personal curiosity. Prior to the 26th it had never even flickered. On the night of the accident, he and his crew were on standby for the Emergency Rescue shift covering the wider Kiev area, making his the first aircraft to arrive on the scene. As he flew around Pripyat, an Army Major in the rear measured radiation from a personal dosimeter. Neither wore any protective clothing. Volodin’s equipment went haywire as he cycled through its measurement ranges: 10, 100, 250, 500 roentgens. All were off the scale. “Above 500, the equipment - and human beings - aren’t supposed to work,” he remembers. Just as he was seeing his own readings, the Major burst into the cockpit screaming, “You murderer! You’ve killed us all!” The air was emitting 1,500 roentgens-per-hour. “We’d taken such a high dose,” the pilot says, “he thought we were already dead.”161
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
Radiation levels inside the tunnel were around 1 roentgen per hour, but because the work was so cramped and demanding, the miners dug without any protective gear - not even their respirators, which became damp and useless within minutes. At the tunnel entrance, radiation reached highs of 300 roentgens-per-hour. The miners were never warned of the true extent of the danger, and every single one of them received a significant dose. Vladimir Amelkov, a miner who participated in the operation, said years later, “Someone had to go and do it. Us or someone else. We did our duty. Should we have done it? It’s too late to judge. I don’t regret anything.”211 The miners achieved their goal of digging a room beneath Unit 4, but the refrigeration machinery was never installed because the core began to cool on its own. Instead, the space was filled with heat resistant concrete. While no official studies have ever been published, it’s estimated that one-quarter of the miners - who were all between 20 and 30 - died before they reached the age of 40.212 “The miners died for nothing,” laments Veniamin Prianichnikov, chief of the plant’s training programmes. “Everything we did was a waste of time.213
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
10,000 roentgens per hour is enough radiation to kill you in one minute and was by far the highest level of radioactivity faced by any of the Liquidators. They nicknamed themselves Bio-Robots for the occasion. Nobody had ever worked in such conditions - before or since. “Obviously some people didn’t want to go,” recalls Alexander Fedotov, a former Bio-robot, “but they had to - they were reservists. They had to go. For me there was no question, I had to do my duty. Who was going to do it for me? Who was going to clear up this disaster and stop the spread of radioactivity all over the world? Somebody had to do it.”232 And so it was. Scientists calculated that people could work on the roof for up to 40 seconds at a time without receiving a fatal dose. During the day, terrified men from all walks of life dashed across the roof, hurled reactor graphite weighing up to 40 - 50kg over the precipice, and ran back inside. They wore hand-sewn, lead-plated suits that could only be used once (the lead absorbed too much radiation) as their only protection. At night, scouts - nicknamed Roof Cats - scampered over the ruined roof with dosimeters, mapping pockets of radiation so their daytime counterparts could avoid the most contaminated spots.233
Andrew Leatherbarrow (Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster)
A fatal dose of radiation is estimated at around 500 rem—roentgen equivalent man—or the amount absorbed by the average human body when exposed to a field of 500 roentgen per hour for sixty minutes. In some places on the roof of Unit Three, lumps of uranium fuel and graphite were emitting gamma and neutron radiation at a rate of 3,000 roentgen an hour. In others, levels may have reached more than 8,000 roentgen an hour: there, a man would absorb a lethal dose in less than four minutes.
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)
Sergeant Vlaskin called out the radiation readings from the new instruments, and Logachev scribbled them down on a map, hand-drawn on a sheet of parchment paper in ballpoint pen and colored marker: 1 roentgen an hour; then 2, then 3. They turned left, and the figures began to rise quickly: 10, 30, 50, 100. “Two hundred fifty roentgen an hour!” the sergeant shouted. His eyes widened. “Comrade Lieutenant—” he began, and pointed at the radiometer. Logachev looked down at the digital readout and felt his scalp prickle with terror: 2,080 roentgen an hour. 7 An impossible number. Logachev struggled to remain calm and remember the textbook; to conquer his fear. But his training failed him, and the lieutenant heard himself screaming in panic at the driver, petrified that the vehicle would stall. “Why are you going this way, you son of a bitch? Are you out of your fucking mind?” he yelled. “If this thing dies, we’ll all be corpses in fifteen minutes!
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)
Alex Roentgen stared at Jared, mildly incredulous. ::You actually need a reason to have an orgy?:: Jared began to respond, but Roentgen held up his hand. ::One, because we’ve been through the valley of the shadow of death and come through the other side. And there’s no better way to feel alive than this. And after the shit we’ve seen today, we need to get our minds off it right quick. Two, because as great as sex is, it’s even better when everyone you’re integrated with is doing it at the same time.::
John Scalzi (The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2))
According to the notions of that time, everybody expected wonders. But there are no wonders in techniques, and the quickness and effectiveness of any decision depended upon objective and subjective reasoning. The first of those reasons were the extensive damage and the highest radiation fields inside and around Unit 4. The doses of radiation in these fields could be measured by the thousands of roentgen per hour. No one could go into the ruins of the reactor, the inner rooms, to learn the location and condition of the almost two hundred tons of nuclear fuel that had been in the reactor. High radioactivity had been kept inside the reactor of Unit 4 during the two and a half years of its working time.
Alexander Borovoi (My Chernobyl: The Human Story of a Scientist and the nuclear power Plant Catastrophe)
At this time, our personal dosimeters—accumulators that registered doses of contamination a person got during his working time—were checked. Usually, these small badges were fastened to the outer part of our clothes, on our chests. Periodically, the dosimeters were examined in the laboratory, where they were burned in a special way, doses were measured, and then the badges were returned to their owners. With this procedure, the dosimeter “forgot” its previous history and was ready to register doses again. We fought against dosimeters constantly and secretly. The point was that a person having received a dose of 25 roentgen (25 R/h) should, according to the medical terms, leave Chernobyl immediately. With this, he got five months’ salary. Good money in this time. Why 25 R/h was the limit, it is difficult for me to say. I am not a specialist. I just remembered for myself that if you got more than 100 R/h, you got radiation sickness. When the authorities came to this decision, those working at the station became diametrically opposed to it. One pole—not very numerous—consisted of those who wanted to leave the Zone as soon as possible and with the five-month salary. These people, who aspired later to the reputation of Chernobyl heroes, usually tried to “forget” their accumulators and other types of dosimeters in dangerous, high-radiation places, and then would return secretly to get them. During the checking, the desired dose of 25 R/h was discovered; and if everything was done well and there was no evidence of swindle, the “hero” went back to his motherland with money and respect. There he started his struggle for privileges with more energy than a person who had actually gotten such a high dose could possibly have. The major part of the Kurchatovers—and it did them credit—took the opposite pole. People who did research in areas with doses of hundreds and thousands roentgen per hour tried to leave their dosimeters in safe places, or to shield the instruments so that they couldn't register that fatal 25 R/h. Then they could stay in Chernobyl. This was the secret war with our accumulators. The authorities knew everything about it, but did nothing. They needed specialists like air.
Alexander Borovoi (My Chernobyl: The Human Story of a Scientist and the nuclear power Plant Catastrophe)
Our dosimeters can't display more than 200 roentgens per hour,”[1] I am saying. “Maybe there are about 2000? How can we get out of this situation?” “By using your own senses!” "But a man doesn't feel radiation. Even in our books and in lectures, they say that radiation has no color, no smell, no taste.” “This is only in lectures. The lecturers have been staying in Moscow and can’t reach Chernobyl. High radiation fields have a smell. And if you smell this, don't display any heroism, but quickly—quickly—reel your fishing lines in and run away as quickly as you can.” "What is the smell?” “Ozone. The first precept: be afraid of the smell of ozone.
Alexander Borovoi (My Chernobyl: The Human Story of a Scientist and the nuclear power Plant Catastrophe)
The lecturers back in Moscow might tell you that radiation has no odor or taste, he explained, but they’ve never been to Chernobyl. Intense gamma fields of 100 roentgen an hour and above—on the threshold for inducing acute radiation syndrome—caused such extensive ionization of the air that it left a distinctive aroma, like that after a lightning storm; if you smell ozone, his colleague said, run.
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)