What's going on at Enerhodar?
UPDATE 28 AUGUST 2022
Wind and metereological analyses from yesterday morning (27 August 2022) shows the central Ukrainian easterly winds blowing northwest from Enerhodar, that is to say potentially in the direction of Kyiv.
The state of the Enerhodar nuclear fire in the gravel pit at the site's southern perimeter remains unknown.
Obviously residents of Kyiv should pay close attention to the unfolding situation, including the carrying of Geiger counters, the taking of nuclear accident precautionary measures (see below advice for Nikolaev and Kherson) and to have evacuation plans at the ready.
From an analysis of the satellite imagery available it appears that the fire at the Enerhodar site has a diameter of approximately 25 metres, which would suggest quite a large fire if it remains ablaze without being quenched. However it is difficult from the satellite imagery we have seen to be accurate about the figure of 25m, which is an estimate.
Note: photo above for illustrative purposes only. We are not aware of any ground-level images of the fire at Enerhodar.
In its morning edition on 28 August 2022, the Guardian newspaper in London conveyed that both sides in the Ukrainian war are concerned about radiation leaks. They affixed the following arphoto to their article, which still shows a persistent heavy smokey fire in the southern part of the site, although the date of the aerial photo is not clear.
Link to the article:
We have made enquiries of the journalist stated as being the author of the article as to the provenance of the accompanying photograph; at the current tim e she has not provided this information. We suspect the photograph was provided by a Ukrainian government source (the journalist is in Kyiv) and they are not telling us of its date. This in itself is concerning. We need an accurate detailed and contemporary plan of the site to assess type and nature of the risk. Without it we fear cover-up (for a variety of possible reasons) of current danger to population.
UPDATE 21:00 EET 26 AUGUST 2022
We have heard reports iodine tablets have been distributed to the entire population of Enerhodar. This is confirmatory evidence that a major nuclear fire is underway, as iodine tablets block the take up of radioactive iodine (a by-product of a uranium fire) into the thyroid gland.
This is fairly strong corroboration of the nature of the ongoing fire at Enerhodar. It is a nuclear fire of uranium fuel rods that were being decommissioned when they caught fire.
When the electricity to Enerhodar was cut for several hours yesterday and early this morning by virtue of the severance of the Enerhodar Dniper Powerline Cable (see below), the backup diesel generator continued to power the reactors but not the fuel rods decommissioning site. Hence the fire on the latter.
We understand that plans are underway for the civilian evacuation of Nikolaev, amongst other cities; Nikolaev sits on the route of the nuclear wind from Enerhodar. So does Kherson; Russian authorities ought to evacuate Russian occupied Kherson, for the same reason.
The prevailing easterlies (that is to say, winds going in a western direction) at Enerhodar are an approximate mean of 11 knots, or 20kph. So we are looking at the nuclear winds taking 12 hours to Kherson, and 15 hours to Nikolaev. In other words, the nuclear winds have already arrived.
Advice to residents of Kherson and Nikolaev, and the surrounding areas.
Stay indoors. Avoid use of air conditioners. Acquire a Geiger counter if possible. Carry it everywhere and always keep it on. (Hang it from your belt). Keep replacement batteries with you as they do consume battery power. Evacuate immediately if your Geiger counter reading exceeds 1.5 micro-Sieverts per hour at any moment.(Background radiation is typically 0.04 micro-Sieverts per hour on a Geiger counter; you will notice that you are entering danger levels because the Geiger counter will start screaming at you.) 100,000 micro-Sieverts will substantially increase your risk of cancer. 200,000 micro-Sieverts is likely fatal radiation sickness. Consider living in your basement, if you have one.Drink bottled water only. Avoid the public water supplies, so that includes avoiding bathing, showering, washing, brushing one's teeth etcetera. Be prepared to move on a moment's notice if radioactivity levels get too high. Eat pre-packaged foods, not fresh foods. Obtain nutritional balance using vitamin pills. Acquire potassium iodide pills and take them to prevent thyroid cancer. Prioritise the under-40's when distributing iodine tablets, as thyroid cancer is rarer in older people. Beware that overdoses of potassium iodide tablets are toxic and may be fatal, so be careful and try not to take them for more than a few days When venturing outdoors (which you should not be), cover all skin and the entirety of the face. Breathe through a cloth. Keep all windows closed. It may be wise to maintain these measures for a period of 7 to 14 days.
Listen to the news and read information on the worldwide web, but treat all information with caution to ensure it is objective, unbiased and properly researched or based on evidence. Be cautious of government propaganda coming from any direction but do heed a call to evacuate immediately.
Here is a link to US Government official advice on what to do if you find yourself within the zone of a radioactive emergency:
We are trying to obtain Geiger counter readings for Kherson and Nikolaev. If anyone has any, please contact us. If we receive any reliable reports, we will publish them here.
Here are two pre-fire satellite images of the location of the fire taken from Google Maps. (The reference to an Enerhodar ATM cash dispenser is not relevant.)
It appears prima facie that the method used for decommissioning of nuclear fuel rods is to throw them in a gravel sandpit presumably with access to pumped water (the watercourses are visible, as are the different sorts of concrete or gravel they are to be covered in, held in large 'sandboxes' to the east). Presumably this process went wrong when there was a loss of powerand either the water or the concrete / gravel could not be continuously pumped.
So now there is reactor grade enriched uranium fissioning in large holes in the ground, pumping out radioactive and toxic nuclear filth that will be blowing west / southwest on current wind trends.
Because we cannot get near to the site, we are reliant upon further satellite imagery to help us understand what is going on.
UPDATE 05:45 EET 26 AUGUST 2022
We suspect - and we put it no higher than that - that the object on fire at Enerhodar is a (possibly ad hoc) storage place for decommissioned uranium fuel rods used in Enerhodar's four out of six reactors that Russia says she has 'turned off' (see below). That is to say, the things on fire are 2-5 per cent enriched Uranium-235 fuel rods.
When you decommission a light water cooled nuclear reactor, you take the fissioning Uranium fuel rods, one at a time, or bit by bit, to a place away from the extremely high temperatures of the reactor core. And you wait for them to stop fissioning.
While you wait, you pump water around them to prevent them from overheating and setting on fire. And if the electricity fails to the water pumps - for example because the Enerhodar Dnipr Powerline Crossing has been severed (as it was yesterday - see below) then the warehouse or other storage place where you have been keeping them will catch on fire, just like a miniature reactor fire but without the concrete dome to restrain it. And that fire will spew out all manner of toxic and radioactive chemicals. And it is extremely difficult to put such a fire out; it requires tipping vast amounts of concrete onto the site from the air.
This, we suspect, is the prolonged fire currently underway at Enerhodar of which aerial photos appear below. Anyway there is a nuclear wind heading west / southwest from Enerhodar. People in Kherson and Nikolaev ought to be considering moving. It may well end up in their water supplies. This applies also to all persons in between. Nuclear winds do not respect political or military boundaries.
UPDATE 04::30 EET 26 AUGUST 2022
We have been told that Enerhodar has now been connected to the Russian national electricity grid. However this is not corroborated and we do not know whether it is true.
Ukrainian President Zelenskiy has made an announcement that disaster has been averted; but his account is rather different. See here:
We have no idea what the truth of the matter is.
Here is an updated map of the major fire at Enerhodar. Its source purports to be Copernicus Sentinel, a European satellite that inter alia photographs fires, although we do not know who superimposed the descriptions over the photo. It might have been a BBC journalist (see bottom right of the photo), but there are no BBC journalists anywhere near the site.
We do not know what is meant by 'radioactive waste storage'. That might be the location of the materiel to construct thermonuclear weapons, but we are speculating. We don't know who annotated this plan or for what purpose.
We do not know what is on fire but given that it has been on fire for several hours without being extinguished it is presumably something very hot, unpleasant and nuclear / radioactive.
Until the fire is extinguished and we have confirmations that all six reactors are stable (operating normally - two of them - or turned off - the other four), there remain grave grounds for concern.
UPDATE (#2) 25 AUGUST 2022
There is some sort of serious fire at the Enerhodar site, following a total severing of the Ukrainian national grid domestic power lines to the water pumps that cool the six reactor cores at Enerhodar - this severance being a result of military wartime activity. In other words, the Enerhodar Dnipr Power Crossing has been severed. The net result of this is that all six water cooled reactors will fairly soon melt down and we will have six parallel reactor fires each of which is as bad as Chernobyl.
Here is a photo of the fire:
It appears from the photo not to be a reactor fire, but it could become one very soon if Enerhodar is not reconnected to the massive amounts of electricity it needs in order to keep functioning. We don't actually know what is on fire but notice wind direction: easterlies, as described in the article body below.
Here is a Kyiv-based media article about the subject:
To paraphrase the satirical British magazine Viz, renowned for its dark humour, that has a section containing absurdist advice for unusual people in difficult situations:
WINDSOCK MANUFACTURERS. Avoid the need for pesky poles and cotton socks. Just use low orbit commercial/spy satellites to photograph major fires at the nearest sextupular water cooled nuclear reactor site, to establish wind direction.
Of course humour may be useful to keep us all calm but this situation is very serious, and notwithstanding the jokes used typically by British people to defuse the stress of a difficult situation, both Ukraine and Europe are on the precipice of appalling nuclear catastrophe. This article is deadly serious. Because once there are six parallel reactor fires, the world's largest thermonuclear explosion is likely to follow by reason of the presence on site of enormous quantities of weapons grade materiel used in the construction of thermonuclear bombs.
The Russians are trying to connect Enerhodar to their national grid, to keep the six reactors cool and to prevent a massive sextupular reactor fire and consequent detonation of the weapons grade uranium and plutonium stockpiles, and the world's largest thermonuclear explosion (see below).
Whoever these people are trying to connect Enerhodar to the Russian national grid, it is presumably extremely difficult and dangerous work and they are heroes. Let us pray for them and praise them, and wish for success in their work.
We are aware of the tentative Russian plan to fire a hypersonic cruise missile with a tactical nuclear warhead at Enerhodar, either from a Mig-35 taking off from an airfield in the Kaliningrad oblast or from a Russian destroyer in the Black Sea. The purpose of this is presumably to incinerate all six nuclear reactors within the blast radius. (Everything in the blast radius of a thermonuclear bomb is incinerated; nothing is left.) This would presumably prevent the long-distance nuclear winds associated with reactor fires.
The. Russian plan for a tactical thermonuclear warhead to eliminate Enerhodar presumably rests upon the assumption that the weapons grade nuclear materiel has already been removed from the site by Russia, using vessels and/or railways. Had they done this already, that would be a relief.
A nuclear physicist has also told us that in his opinion thermonuclear bombs are 'cleaner' then either atomic bombs (e.g. the two uranium-based devices dropped on Japan in 1945) and than reactor fires, because they incinerate everything within the blast radius (literally everything) and that includes toxic and radioactive rare heavy metal isotopes that are used to catalyse thermonuclear bombs and that are generated by light water nuclear reactors during both their regular operations and when they are on fire. Hence thermonuclear warheads, on this hypothesis, incinerate the components of a 'nuclear wind'. However we are aware of no corroboration or empirical support for this hypothesis, even if it might seem logical.
Anyway, let us hope that the Russian plan for use of a tactical thermonuclear warhead to close Enerhodar does not become necessary and there is some less extreme way of preventing Enerhodar from exploding into six parallel reactor fires.
UPDATE 25 AUGUST 2022
We wish to make it clear that contrary to some reports that the quantity of weapons grade nuclear fissile materiel at Enerhodar are 40kg uranium and 30kg plutonium, themselves enough to make a very large thermonuclear bomb, the actual sums are 40,000kg uranium (i.e. 40 metric tonnes) and 30,000kg plutonium (30 metric tonnes).
These together amount to more than three times the size of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear explosion ever, detonated by the Soviets in the Arctic; and more than 1,000 times the size of a regular thermonuclear bomb. We are looking at complete devastation, the world's most lethal nuclear explosion ever, potentially killing millions of people instantaneously.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE DATED 24 AUGUST 2022 FOLLOWS
In recent days and weeks, there has been a flurry of media articles about the risk of a nuclear explosion or meltdown in Enerhodar. We have been following these events in an article we have updated periodically called Enerhodar Tales. We commend the reader to read that in full before continuing with this article.
Here is an example article you may have been reading about the crisis:
You have probably read about the crisis at Enerhodar in the newspapers, albeit under the moniker 'Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant'. This is a misnomer. The site is actually some 60km southwest of the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia. Zaporizhzhia is in 'free Ukrainian' hands but it is right on the front line that is drawn by a network of embedded trenches a few kilometres south of the city. The actual location of the nuclear power plants - and there are six of them in a row, each one identical with the Chernobyl design (and each one individually as powerful as Chernobyl), so-called light water-cooled nuclear reactors (they are all of a distinctive and identical Soviet design in which the fissioning Uranium rods are horizontal as opposed to vertical elsewhere) is at a designated site at Enerhodar, a specially built city to house them all, together with a coal based power plant, all on a massive site on the south bank of the Kakhovka Reservoir.
Enerhodar was one of the very first cities to be captured by Russian forces upon the commencement of the war in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, falling just a few days later. It has remained in Russian control ever since, with no foreigners admitted to the city. Certain accounts have emerged from the city about events therein since; but they are not reliable. Here is one of the more detailed ones:
The way a light water-cooled nuclear reactor works is something any interested person should read about for themselves but here is the basic idea. You enrich naturally occuring mined Uranium to Uranium-235 (an isotope of naturally occurring Uranium, this isotope having an unstable nucleus) to a level of 2 to 5 per cent. (It is not obviously important for current purposes how you do this; in Ukraine's case she bought the low-enrichment Uranium rods to fuel Enerhodar's power stations from Russia because all Soviet era water cooled nuclear reactors are designed in much the same way and Russia has ample Uranium enrichment facilities, which are basically centrifuges.) Then you dip sufficiently many of the Uranium rods to achieve critical mass for a fission reaction in some very hot place. Fission begins once the so-called critical mass is exceeded. Once the fission reaction has commenced, you pump water in pipes around the uranium rods at the centre of the fission detonation, which reach a temperature of up to 150 million degrees Celsius. The water boils, or becomes so hot that it reaches some plasma state, that it becomes high pressure steam that is forced through pipes and drives turbines to produce electricity.
If you think this sounds crazy, so do we. Nevertheless there are apparently 442 such reactors around the world doing this 24/7.
The reason this is crazy is because there are lots of things could go wrong. One is that the pipes could crack. Another is tectonic movements under the reactor. A third is that there is a sudden water shortage. A fourth is a breach of the reactor casing (a massive concrete dome covering this precarious arrangement). A fifth is that the electricity supply to the water pumps that cool the reactor may fail. Any of these critical eventualities might be the result of manmade or natural causes. At the time of writing the fifth such eventuality is in the midst of taking place as fighting around the site knocks out power lines:
If any of these things happen in sufficient measure or for enough time, then the uranium rods' fission reaction gets ever hotter because the massive amounts of water needed to keep it cool are not being supplied; eventually the temperature gets high enough to melt the entire structure including the concrete lining (concrete vaporises at about 100 Celsius); and uranium rods undergoing 150 million degree celsius fission reactions are exposed to the outer world, into which they spew highly toxic and radioactive by-products of the fission reaction into the air, creating a massive health alarm for human beings and indeed all life. This will generally include an 'exclusion zone' within so many kilometres of the reactor, where long half-life radioactive and toxic fission by-products land and are deemed to contaminate the landscape for a government-prescribed period depending on the radioactive half-life of the deposits; and a so-called 'nuclear wind', which is the product of natural air movements within which highly radioactive and/or toxic fission by-products are suspended much as are water droplets. This may result in the injury or deaths of large numbers of people over a substantial area, depending upon the power of the unchained fission reaction, the strength and direction of the wind, and the likelihood of the nuclear wind components infecting water supplies. The latter is generally high, because so much reliably available water is required to keep a water cooled nuclear reactor running that these sorts of reactor are invariably constructed next to massive bodies of water, such as the Kakhovka Reservoir in central Ukraine. So the nuclear fall out goes wherever the polluted water from the nuclear wind takes it. And that is typically to a riparian human settlement.
We call the events described in the paragraph above 'reactor fires'. There have been four reactor fires in the history of light water cooled nuclear reactors:
(a) Windscale (now renamed Sellafield), England, 1957, period of reactor fire 3 days, declared exclusion zone 0, nuclear wind area 500 km2.
(b) Three Mile Island, Middletown, Pennsylvania, United States, 1979, period of reactor fire never revealed, exclusion zone 32 km, nuclear wind area never calculated but as time went on estimates of loss of life were increased by a multiple of 1000+.
(c) Chernobyl, Ukraine, 1986, period of reactor fire 8 days, exclusion zone 30km to the present day, nuclear wind area 100,000 km2.
(d) Fukushima, Japan, 2012, period of reactor fire five days, exclusion zone 20km, nuclear wind area never comprehensively calculated but in the order of hundreds of thousands of square kilometres.
These events are difficult to compare, not least by reason of measuring and mitigation technology advances between each event. Arguably the Fukushima nuclear wind area was greater because the technologies and statistical methods for measuring the health consequences of radioactive particles in nuclear windows have become more accurate.
In general there are two ways of extinguishing a reactor fire: dismantling the uranium rods until they fall below the critical mass; and covering the reactor fire zone with ever more concrete in the hope that eventually the outer perimeter temperature is less than that of the the vaporisation temperature of concrete.
Light water cooled nuclear reactors are difficult to turn off quickly in the event of an accident. That is because the fission reaction underway cannot just be stopped through the flick of a switch; to stop it requires the gradual dismantling of the Uranium fuel rods, all the time while maintaining the high pressure water supply to the reactor that serves as a coolant and prevents the reactor fire from getting even worse.
Another issue at the Enerhodar site is that the International Atomic Energy Agency, in 2021, on an Enerhodar site inspection, discovered the presence on site of the following stockpiles:
(a) 40,000 metric tonnes of highly enriched uranium, in the amount of 80 per cent plus, not suitable for use in light water cooled nuclear reactors but instead whose only use is in the creation of thermonuclear bombs; and
(b) 30,000 metric tonnes of weapons grade plutonium, again whose only purpose is in the construction of thermonuclear bombs.
See e.g. (note that the sources are all of Ukrainian, Russian and international):
In fact as the articles reveal, the Director General of the IAEA, at the annual Davos summit of the World Economic Forum in January 2022, repeated these conclusions.
A thermonuclear bomb, that uses a series of exponentially more powerful fission reactions to trigger the temperatures needed for fusion of deuterium (an easily obtainable isotope of hydrogen), releasing vast amounts of destructive energy, requires perhaps 25kg of highly enriched uranium and 4kg of plutonium. Therefore the quantities of highly enriched uranium and plutonium found at Enerhodar by the IAEA are sufficient to create thousands of thermonuclear bombs, potentially making Ukraine one of the largest proliferators of nuclear weapons in the world.
Given that these two substances have no other plausible use and can each only be created by intentional complex processes of manufacture, the natural inference must be that Ukraine has been undertaking a covert nuclear proliferation programme. This would be contrary to Ukraine's obligations under international law but the only inference consistent with the evidence.
Ukraine has accused the IAEA of deceit and asserts that the alleged stockpiles do not exist. We and everybody else find this denial implausible.
Russia has been silent on the matter. We suspect that Russia supplied the massive quantities of highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium to Enerhodar herself, before 2021 when the Russian military build-up to invade Ukraine commenced. We do not believe that the only other country in the world capable of manufacturng these quantities of materiel for an enormous thermonuclear weapons programme, namely the United States of America, undertook these supplies for delivery to Enerhodar. It would have involved the use of Russian riversea vessels up the Dnipr River from Kherson on the Black Sea coast to carry these radioactive and highly toxic cargoes. We do not believe that at any relevant time the United States would have had the capacity or inclination to do this. Hence we conclude that the Russians did it, in order to nuclearise Ukraine; and the Ukrainians went along with it.
Only by examining these stockpiles might one establish how old the shipments are - that is to say, in what era of Russia-Ukraine cooperation this may have taken place, and in particular which Ukrainian Presidential administration(s) may have been responsible for it.
In early March 2022 videos emerged of what appeared to be (bored?) Russian troops firing Kornet shoulder launched supersonic high explosive tactical ballistic missiles into the concrete domes covering the Enerhodar reactors; and white plumes of iridescent flame coming out as a result.
Russia has been using Enerhodar as a base for artillery and ballistic missiles, as she herself admits, to strike Ukrainian Armed Forces positions near Enerhodar:
Ukraine has accused Russia of flying ballistic missiles over Enerhodar, with what she suggests is a concomitant risk of ballistic missiles striking the facilities at Enerhodar by accident. (This seems unlikely, as contemporary ballistic missiles include what is known as 'inertial guidance mechanisms', that is to say computers that navigate the mobile missile by reference to the territory the missile overflies using a combination of inbuilt maps and constantly updated satellite and other imagery such as cameras affixed on the missile, rendering contemporary ballistic missiles highly accurate.)
Russia says she has now closed 4/6 of the light water cooled nuclear reactors at Enerhodar, as well as the single coal-powered reactor there; and she is now threatening to close down the Enerhodar plant entirely.
This actually sounds quite sensible. If shells and ballistic missiles are overflying and striking a site containing six light water cooled nuclear reactors in a row, plus 40,000kg of highly enriched weapons grade Uranium and 30,000kg of weapons grade Plutonium (consider that Plutonium, the most toxic substance in the world, is not naturally formed and is only created by mankind), then it is probably a good idea that all the reactors in the middle of the warzone are turned off; and all the weapons-grade Uranium and Plutonium are covered in concrete such that that they are permanently disabled, pending the outcome of the war in the middle of which these items are central.
Recall that it requires approximately 25kg of highly enriched uranium and 4kg of plutonium to make a thermonuclear bomb. In other words there is enough materiel at Enerhodar to create no fewer than 1,600 thermonuclear bombs, and hence a detonation in central Enerhodar could start reactor fires catalysing explosions equivalent to 1,600 thermonuclear bombs. This would be a big bang and, with a large nuclear wind, a lot of people would die. What we can with certainty say is that it would be the world's worst nuclear disaster.
The PALADINS have been denied access to Enerhodar by the Ukrainians. We have asked questions of the IAEA but we have received no reply: regrettably, for an international organisation responsible for publi awareness of international nuclear safety whose Director General has already given a statement in Davos, a public forum. Allegedly Russia has confirmed IAEA access to the site very soon:
We urge the Russian Federation to keep to her commitments.
Whatever the circumstances are in which Ukraine has or had a covert nuclear programme at Enerhodar, the massive quantities of nuclear materiel that were collected at Enerhodar in the course of that programme need to be secured immediately. RECOMMENDATION: we strongly recommend that the Russian Federation remove the weapons grade materiel from the Enerhodar site immediately, to somewhere deep within Russia and a long way from warzone activity. This would be a huge job, because there is so much of it. Nevertheless it is essential as the first step towards securing the Enerhodar site.
The following are two images of the explosion from the Tsar Bomba, the world's biggest ever nuclear device. It was 27,000kg. In Enerhodar we have 70,000kg. However it is not likely to be a linear scale. The Tsar Bomba's total destruction blast radius was estimated at 35km from the epicentre, although nobody really knows. The fact that it was detonated at altitude is a material difference from a possible detonation at Enerhodar.
We at The PALADINS are trying to work out exactly what would happen if Enerhodar were hit with a direct strike: how big the nuclear blast radius would be; how large the exclusion zone; and how large the nuclear wind. At the time of writing these words (24 August 2022) we do not know. Nevertheless we have our finest minds working on it. We will report as soon as we have some calculations.
PROVISIONAL ESTIMATE 25 AUGUST 2022: 300km blast radius if Enerhodar goes up. Hence the cities of Zaporizhzhiya and Dnipropetrovsk would be totally destroyed (meaning that their entire populations would be wiped out within a few seconds or up to a minute) Kherson might also be totally annihilated, adding another 300,000+ onto the total immediate death toll. Hydrogen fusion, when it occurs, takes place very quickly. A 'back of the envelope' rough estimate of those dying immediately might be substantially above 2,000,000 (one million) people. Radiation sickness would surely kill many more as the result of a nuclear wind the current parameters of which we are unable (yet) to calculate.
The following is a link to a graphic of what might be the affected area if Enerhodar explodes; but we cannot verify it. It is from a website called www.outrider.org. it contains no mathematical calculations, for which reason amongst others it is unsatisfactory. Also, very unsatisfactorily, the epicentre is not Enerhodar but some point north of Enerhodar. We do not know why this is.
The following website, assuming a 100 megatonne surface detonated blast with its epicentre at Enohodar, estimates the number of dead within 24 hours at 8,000,000 (eight million). We suspect this is an over-estimate but we are studying the figure. We make no warranties about this website and we are analysing its methodology as a matter of urgency. It is not obvious to us that 100 megatonnes (the theoretical Tsara Bomba intended explosion) is the right figure to use in this instance. It may be more or it may be less. We are also not sure that measuring theoretical megatonne equivalents of TNT is either the appropriate method to calculate relevant damage radiuses or deaths; nor are we sure that it is possible to measure a megatonne equivalent at all in the event that Enerhodar goes up. 100MT is just a theoretical figure, intended by the Tsara Bomba scientists (but probably not actually achieved). In short, we have doubts about the viability of the entire 'megatonne' approach to calculating the devastation caused by thermonuclear explosions.
At the time of writing (24 August 2022), the prevailing winds at Enerhodar are easterlies - winds coming from the east. This is (very) important for determining who will die and/or otherwise be affected with radiation sickness and the other consequences of a nuclear wind. In other words, some of the cities that would likely suffer from a nuclear wind would likely include Kherson, Nikolaev and Odessa, followed by Istanbul.
One of the questions we are working on (and neither we nor anybody else knows the answer because nobody has actually dropped a thermonuclear bomb on a population centre) is whether the nuclear wind from a thermonuclear bomb is worse or less bad than that from a reactor fire. We are thinking about whether there is a rational, evidence-based way of answering this question in advance.
At this point the reader may be inclined to view the depressingly excellent 1984 movie 'Threads' about a nuclear bomb being dropped on the English city of Sheffield. Note: the following link, which we found using a Google search, may not work in all jurisdictions; you may need a VPN to view it but we do not recommend that. We are simply informing you of the result we found on a lawful Google search contained in the internationally renowned website YouTube. We have no idea whether looking at this link using a VPN would be lawful in your jurisdiction and you should take independent legal advice from local counsel before seeking to watch the movie in this way.
YouTube may take this link down in due course. But they shouldn't. At this time, 'Threads' is a movie of general public international importance. Lore has it that watching this movie made US President Ronald Reagan throw up, and was a key in causing the United States to step back from initiating nuclear war during the First Cold War arms race in the 1980's.
We are working on more accurate figures and diagrams for an Enerhodar explosion than those contained above. As and when we may have them (and we may not be able to say anything more accurate than we have so far), we will publish them here.
However, we wish to emphasise that what we are looking at here is a massive thermonuclear bomb, potentially some three times larger than the Tsara Bomba, exploding at the epicentre of six adjacent reactor fires. Nobody can be certain what will happen then. All we can be sure of is that it'll be no good.
UPDATE 25 August 2022:
Effects of Tsar Bomba (closest comparison to Enerhodar):
Year: October 1961
Epicentre: Sukhoy Nos, Severny Island
Detonation mass: 27,000kg (contrast Enerhodar: 70,000kg)
Height of mushroom cloud: 65km
Diameter of mushroom cloud: 70-95km
Detonation height: 4.2km (Enerhodar: zero) - at Enerhodar the thermonuclear detonation would presumably take place at sea level, because the nuclear materiels are stored in warehouses adjacent to the reservoir). Note that there is a debate between nuclear physicists and/or their commentators as to whether a an-height detonation 'burst' is more or less damaging than a ground-based thermonuclear detonation. We have found assertions on both sides of that fence. At the current time we have no idea which side is right. Some think that the 'nuclear winds' side effect of the Tsar Bomba would have been far higher than they were had the Tsar Bomba been detonated at ground level, because it would have thrown into the air vast amounts of nuclear-contaminated filth. We don't know.
Visibility: in excess of 1,000km (inc. Norway, Greenland and Alaska)
Soviet calculated yield: 50-58MT (method for their calculations unknown by us) (intended yield: 100MT)
Thermal pulse (witness wearing special goggles survived): 270km
Broken windows: 900km
Fireball radius: 3.5km
Total destruction radius: 58km
Radius of immediate death, absent coverage in nuclear shelter: 240km
Nota bene: the above figures are contested between US and Soviet (Russian) sources and we have cited those we consider more likely to be accurate in each case.
The bomb was dropped on a slow parachute using a 30-minute timer. The crew of the Tupolev T-95 bomber were told that they only had a 50 per cent chance of survival. (They made it.)
The clouds beneath the aircraft and in the distance were lit up by the powerful flash. The sea of light spread under the hatch and even clouds began to glow and became transparent. At that moment, our aircraft emerged from between two cloud layers and down below in the gap a huge bright orange ball was emerging. The ball was powerful and arrogant like Jupiter. Slowly and silently it crept upwards... Having broken through the thick layer of clouds it kept growing. It seemed to suck the whole Earth into it. The spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural.
Mein Führer! I can walk!