If you read the news at all, you’ve likely seem many stories about the 20th anniversary (somehow doesn’t seem like the right word) since the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union (now territory of Ukraine). I’d urge everyone to follow this link to an excellent photo essay at PixelPress on the subject, or more specifically on the human impact that continues today. Some of the pictures really did make me cry. It mentions in passing other less publicised accidents, and neclear testing done by the military. All leave a human and environmental trail of destruction that could take up to a millenium to clear.
This touches close to home for me. 15 minutes drive from where I live is a nuclear power station, the only one built in the former Yugoslavia. Sure, some locals have spoken out against it, but for the most part there is a resignation to having it around. It is touted as being built to the highest standards, bla bla. But I think we are kidding ourselves into thinking that such an accident can’t happen again, at any nuclear facility. And the issue of waste, what do we do … dig a big whole, cover it over and forget about it. With the current global energy crisis and efforts to wean ourselves off fossils and oil, nuclear is coming back into fashion. That’s worrying. Surely with all our collective knowedge we can come up with better. Wind and Solar power are a good start, but we need to be researching other clean alternatives.
I lived in Dublin most of my life. Ireland is a nuclear free state, and proudly wears that fact on its sleeve. But even there, the issue is unavoidable, as the east coast is directly down wind from Sellafield (a large waste leakage happened as recently as 2005) and other plants in Britain and France. It’s a small world after all. Everywhere is down wind from somewhere. Why should you care? Why shouldn’t you?