Have you ever wondered what has become of the area surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear disaster?
- The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel
- The damaged reactor is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter which was erected quickly (by October 1986) to allow continuing operation of the other reactors at the plant
- In the early 1990s, some $400 million was spent on improvements to the remaining reactors at Chernobyl, considerably enhancing their safety.
- New safe confinement is due to be completed in 2017. It is being built next to the reactor and will be moved into place on rails.
- In the last two decades there has been some resettlement of the areas evacuated in 1986 and subsequently.
- Since 1989, over 1000 nuclear engineers from the former Soviet Union have visited Western nuclear power plants and there have been many reciprocal visits.
- See official World Nuclear record for more information. It is the source for the bullet points above.
- Burying Chernobyl – Can the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986 be made safe without risking the health of those involved in the task? Listen via BBC iPlayer.
Catherine Tate is a very popular comedian. Chances are you have seen her on TV. In this video clip, Lauren, one of Catherine’s characters, takes her bad attitude into her French Exam. Another of her characters then appears in Albert Square for a Children in Need Eastenders Special.
She is actually quite well adjusted in real life, which goes to show what a good actor she is. See an interview in her dressing room, or maybe just a bit of it. Here are a few pictures of her, too. Some aspies may like doing performance art.
Kevin & Perry
Have you seen Harry Enfield’s teenage pair Kevin and Perry? Teenage characteristics are exaggerated for comic effect.
In one sketch Kevin’s parents try giving him a taste of his own medicine, in Reverse psychology, but it backfires badly. Another sketch features Kevin’s school Parents’ evening. Kevin’s attitude to his teachers could be both interesting and entertaining.
Pink Floyd’s song Shine on you crazy diamond was a tribute to former band member Syd Barrett. It starts quietly and showcases the band’s keyboard and guitar work. Click play button to hear it.
Barrett wandered into the studio while the band was recording Wish You Were Here, the album that features this piece. He had drastically changed his appearance, and the band members did not recognise him for some time. When they eventually did, Roger Waters was so distressed he was reduced to tears. Perhaps you could say that with this escapade he lived up to the line in the song, “You outstayed your welcome with random precision”. Click Information to find out more about this piece.
Here is an introduction to Syd Barrett’s contribution to the early years of Pink Floyd, including some of his best songs.
Is Formula 1 going green?
Under the 2014 rules there is a fuel limit. Cars are using hybrid technology, which helps them to work within that fuel limit. An electric motor helps to slow the car when braking, which generates electricity to be stored in a battery and re-used when accelerating. This makes the cars more responsive when accelerating and saves fuel. Less fuel means less weight, which saves more fuel.
The Red Bull team has won the past 4 years’ Constructor’s Championship titles, but this year Mercedes is leading. Here is a video explaining the secret of their success. Don’t worry if you do not understand everything very well. It is not all that easy to follow.
The wedding of the year!
After nearly ten years together, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally tied the knot on the 23rd August 2014 at their French country house. It has been reported that Brad and Ange used the opportunity of their wedding to raise some serious cash for good causes.
Brad and Angelina knew there would be tremendous interest in their wedding pictures, and decided to donate the money to their charitable foundation. The couple have done this numerous times in the past. The pair previously sold the first photographs of their 6-year-old twins for $14million back in 2008, and donated every penny of that too.
They really are just the perfect couple, aren’t they? Her gown was made by Atelier Versace and bore more than a passing resemblance to a classic Disney princess gown. The satin gown featured a ruched top and corseted bodice over a full skirt but it was her veil that stole the show. It’s little surprise that the Jolie-Pitt kids played a huge part in their parents’ big day but mum Ange went one step further by letting them design her veil.
Update: Fast forward
Do you know much about Eurostar? It is a high speed train that takes passengers from London to Paris and from London to Brussels, in Belgium. It goes along a new line called High Speed 1 from central London to the Chanel Tunnel. When the Chanel Tunnel opened Eurostar had to use the old line to Waterloo station. It was much slower and more congested than the dedicated high speed line linking Paris to the tunnel.
A Eurostar train set a new British speed record of 208.0 mph on the first section of High Speed 1 shortly before it opened on 30 July 2003.
The second and final phase was opened in 2007. It allows trains to travel at speeds of 186 mph. The combined effect of both phases was to cut Eurostar journey times by 40 minutes. It is now possible to travel from London to Paris by train in 2 hours 15 minutes.
It now carries more passengers to Paris and Brussels than all airlines put together. It does this with about 90% less carbon dioxide emissions than the airlines.