Lab Cat

26 Apr 2006

Chernobyl 20 years on

Filed under: Personal — Tags: — Cat @ 12:00 pm

Twenty years ago, I was on an Easter walking trip on the Isle of Skye. A beautiful part of the British Isles. If you ever get the chance go and visit. I was lucky that I hadn't decided to go walking in Wales or the Lake District, where they had worse weather and were therefore more badly affected. It wasn't until after my trip that we found out what had happened as we were, except for essential weather reports, delibrately isolated from the news.

What am I talking about?

On April 26 1986, Chernobyl Reactor 4 blew its lid off. There are lots of reports about Chernobyl and its affects twenty years on, but one fact that is often overlooked is the fact that hill farmers in Britain still can't move their sheep without the sheep being tested for radioactivity and they can't sell their milk (link to Guardian article). There was more fall out in southern Scotland and Wales (link to BBC map) because there had been more rain there than in northern Scotland. How I remember it, is that news didn't reach Western Europe until days later, after Finland and Sweden complained about high radioactive fallout and demanded an explanation of the Soviet Union. I can't find any references to this in any of the twenty year on stories I found.

I'm not for or against nuclear power if we can be sure it is safe. One of the biggest concerns, as hopefully another Chernobyl won't happen, is storage of the waste and that the spent fuel rods can be used to make weapon grade material.

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