The Kyshtym Disaster Is The Nuclear Accident You Haven't Heard Of

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The Kyshtym Disaster Is The Nuclear Accident You Haven't Heard Of

You've heard of Chernobyl, and you've even heard of Fukushima. But the next biggest nuclear disaster probably won't ring any bells for you, and that's because it was largely kept secret. The Kyshtym disaster of 1957 was the third largest nuclear accident, but not even those affected knew it had happened. Heck, it didn't even happen in Kyshtym—the name was something of a cover-up. The disaster occurred in the secret, then-Soviet region called Chelyabinsk (it was renamed Ozyorsk in the early 1990s). According to the Soviets, the secret site of the accident didn't even exist.

Need To Know How Bad A Disaster Is? Check The Waffle House Index.

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Need To Know How Bad A Disaster Is? Check The Waffle House Index.

After a natural disaster, the United States Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA) jumps into action to deliver supplies to affected communities. But with all the chaos, it's not always clear what those communities need. For a helpful benchmark of how things are on the ground, FEMA director W. Craig Fugate came up with the Waffle House Index. It's a three-color rating that uses green to denote that the local Waffle House restaurant is fully open, yellow for if it's just serving a limited menu (suggesting that it can't get the supplies it needs), and red for closed (a very rare occurrence for the 24-hour chain).

These Are Some Of The Weirdest Man-Made Disasters

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These Are Some Of The Weirdest Man-Made Disasters

You've heard of hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, and earthquakes, but you've likely never heard of some bizarre man-made events that ended up disastrous. For example, the London Beer Flood. In 1816, a huge vat of beer ruptured, causing a domino effect of others to blow as well. In total, there were 390,000 gallons of beer sloshing through the streets of London. A wave reportedly 15 feet high demolished buildings and flooded homes. At least eight people reportedly drowned. A more popular strange disaster is the Great Molasses Flood, during which a 25-foot wall of molasses crashed through downtown Boston in 1919.

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from Dark5

Key Facts to Know

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    In 1814, about 390,000 gallons of beer flooded into London streets during what is now known as the London Beer Flood. 0:09

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    In 1919, a 25-foot wall of molasses crashed through Boston during what it now known as the Great Molasses Flood. 1:17

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    During the Great London Death Fog of 1952, an estimated 4,000 people died from pus-filled lungs due to poisonous smog. 4:17

The Tragic Story Of The Challenger Disaster

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The Tragic Story Of The Challenger Disaster

On the night before the Challenger explosion, multiple engineers from Morton Thiokol recommended that the launch be delayed. Their concerns centered around the unusually cold weather forecast, as frigid temperatures could interfere with the O-ring seals in the shuttle's rocket boosters. Engineer Roger Boisjoly led the presentation of their concerns. But NASA pushed back, frustrated by the prospect of postponing the launch and downplaying the team's reservations. Eventually, Morton Thiokol managers decided to give NASA the okay to launch, a decision that proved fatal for all seven members of Challenger's crew. This story is particularly heartbreaking given that Boisjoly had expressed similar concerns six months earlier, and submitted a memo warning that "a catastrophe of the highest order" would occur if temperatures were too low during the launch.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The space shuttle Columbia was the first of its kind, attached to an external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters, the joints of which were sealed with O-rings. 2:52

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    The night before the Challenger disaster, engineers from Morton Thiokol recommended that NASA delay the launch until the temperature was more favorable. 7:57

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    The Columbia crew was told that NASA had no safety concerns about the shuttle, despite engineers repeatedly expressing reservations. 16:03

Chernobyl's "Elephant's Foot" Will Kill You If You Look At It

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Chernobyl's "Elephant's Foot" Will Kill You If You Look At It

Like a real-life Medusa, the "elephant's foot" at Chernobyl can kill you just by looking at it. Located in the basement beneath the failed nuclear reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the elephant's foot is a molten, still-hot, lava-like mass of highly radioactive material. The mass measures two meters in diameter, but weighs hundreds of tons. Six months after the disaster, scientists determined that just 300 seconds of exposure to the molten blob would be fatal. Even today, around 30 years after the incident, direct exposure would kill you within an hour. The foot continually generates heat and is still melting into the base of the power plant.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 occurred after a system test on the fourth nuclear reactor. 0:02

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    Six months after the Chernobyl, scientists claimed you would die after standing next to the "elephant's foot" for 300 seconds. 1:36

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    Even today, you would die after standing next to Chernobyl's "elephant's foot" for about an hour. 1:59