The Nuclear Legacy

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and harrowing though it is, it is worth looking again at the Independent's photo essay on the aftermath from last year. These are a just a few of the shots from it:





I certainly don't want to be sensationalist, nor do I want to overstate the dangers of nuclear power. My position has always been that the risks are low, provided that we spend very large sums of money on strict safety regimes.

Nevertheless, even with a such safety regimes, the risk can never be zero. We have to consider not just the level of risk of an accident, but the seriousness of the consequences if one happens. For example, if I walk on top of a two foot high wall around a flower bed in the local park on a clear, calm day, it's very unlikely that I'll fall off, and the worst that could happen if I did is that I would sprain an ankle. If I walk on top of an equally wide parapet wall at the top of a ten story building overlooking that park, the risk of me falling is exactly the same, but the consequences of falling are very much more serious. I might do the first, only a fool would do the second.


As Wales can easily produce all the energy we need from renewable sources, it is foolish for us to spend huge sums of money on nuclear, not least because we will have to keep spending it for hundreds of years after any nuclear power station has stopped producing electricity. Nor can we rely on the companies concerned to pay for the clean up afterwards; companies can go bust ... especially when they are no longer making money because no more electricity is being produced. Our children, our grandchildren and generations to come will then be left to pay for the problem of any nuclear power station we allow to be built in Wales.

There's a political dimension to this story, which I'll save for later. But as this article in today's Western Mail reminds us, our farming industry is still suffering the consequences of Chernobyl. And as this story only last week from Belgium illustrates, the radioactive cloud might well have claimed several victims of cancer even there.

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Anonymous said...

interesting, accessible article on THORIUM reactors HERE.

When we gain control over our own energy policy, I think we should be offering incentives for companies that want to develop this technology.

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