Chernobyl – 20th anniversary

The BBC have created a pretty good site drawing together a number of references to the disaster at Chernobyl. There's really little more to add, other than to reflect on the sad state of the world around this event.
Twenty years on, despite the fact that the lack of resolution at the site means the original sarcophagus is riddled with holes and might now collapse (spreading clouds of contaminated material into the air and around the world), the Russians appear to be be being largely left to deal with the situation on their own. A new sarcophagus costing around 1 billion euros is coming, but is still 2-3 years away, and they still need a fortune to deal with the true source of the problem buried under it, not to mention the contamination remaining in the surrounding area, which still has a half-life measured in hundreds of years. Plutonium in the core is decaying into Americium, even more deadly to people.

If one good thing came out of Chernobyl, it would be the design manual – the definitive instruction book on how NOT to build nuclear plant.

It's also depressing to see the two opposing sides squaring up against each other. The likes of Greenpeace wailing about the numbers affected being suppressed, and really being in the hundreds of thousands, while the authorities claim they managed the disaster and only a few thousand were ultimately affected. Grow up all of you, stop playing politics and DEAL with the situation. Play long enough though, and everyone will die, and it won't matter anyway.

On closing, perhaps you might want to reflect on just where you were in the days and weeks following Chernobyl. Indoors? Outdoors? Outdoors in the rain?

I was outdoors, in the rain (hey, this is Scotland!) at a steam fair in New Lanark. I did wonder why we went, but missing seldom seen events like that was the exception. My concerns turned out to well founded, as the news of the fallout was eventually released, and the maps showed its progress. Still, I'm still standing.

More depressing is how good life was back then, even if didn't seem to be particularly notable. Most things that pleased me then are gone now, and I'd go back like a shot. Even things that looked bad then weren't really, and daily, I deeply miss all the people I've lost over the years.


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