But We Didn’t Mean That To Happen!


It’s thirty years since Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear plant blew up, spreading its poisonous radiation over much of the western hemisphere. One unintended consequence of that disaster is that the site now attracts the morbid fascination of tourists from all over the world.

Much of the dangerous radioactive material is still inside Reactor 4, including (it’s thought) the body of one man never found after the explosion. The town of Chernobyl was home to 60,000 people. Now, thirty years on, it’s a ghost town.

Much was hushed-up in the aftermath of the disaster. In Britain, radiation from the Russian plant was found in the grass growing on Welsh mountains. For a while, Welsh lamb was off the menu for many, to the consternation of Welsh sheep farmers.

Everywhere, including in Russia, folks were told not to worry, it had been contained, there were no health concerns. Today, children in the region around the disaster area have grown up. They are having children themselves. Many are deformed, with missing limbs. At least one was born with two heads. In western countries childhood thyroid cancer is rare; in Belarus, as many as fifty percent of children develop the disease. Many die at a young age.[1]

We live in a dangerous world. It seems the “Law of Unintended Consequences” is at play all the time. There was a time when lead was considered a wonder metal: it prevented car engines from ‘knocking’; it helped paint to adhere to surfaces. It was decades before the dangers of lead, or asbestos, or many other ‘wonder’ products of the industrial, and later ‘technological’ eras, made themselves known, with the resultant suffering that no-one had envisaged.

The internal combustion engine, a wonder of the 19th and 20th centuries, transformed the lives of virtually every human being on the planet. The cost is only now being gradually realized through global climate change.

It seems that almost everything we do as a species to make our lives better has a long-term detrimental effect on ourselves, and/or the environment and the species that share this planet with us.

Global warming demands we stop using fossil fuels for energy. The ‘natural’ alternatives of wind, wave, and solar power, will never be able to meet our requirements quickly enough to make significant difference. The only energy source we have, capable of supplying sufficient for our needs, is nuclear.

Even the greenest of conservationists have come to realize this fact. Nuclear power is the only alternative available. Does this mean we risk another ‘Chernobyl’, on an even greater scale?

“No!” cry the ‘experts. “We’ve come a long way technologically since 1986. Nuclear power is now completely safe.”

Of course, that was before Fukushima.

We don’t hear much about Fukushima. One of the deadliest problems with radiation is its invisible, silent, invasion of the body tissues. No-one knows it’s there, or what it’s doing, until the cancer is diagnosed, or the deformed child is born.

Governments are silent on Fukushima, just as they were with Chernobyl. When questioned, assurances are quick to be vocalized. No danger! Nothing to worry about. It’s all under control.

We have to build more nuclear power stations to stand any chance of averting the worst effects of climate change. It would be ironic, if by so doing we destroyed ourselves and much of the planet by radiation poisoning from our own creations, rather than the sun doing it for us.

That old “Law of Unintended Consequences” can sometimes be a real bummer.

[1] “Chernobyl’s legacy 30 years on” BBC, April 26th 2016

5 Replies to “But We Didn’t Mean That To Happen!”

  1. I recently came across some old archives of “Sparrow Chat” from the time the blog was hosted on Blogger. They date back to September 2005. I thought they’d all been destroyed when it moved to WordPress. Here’s a post from April 2006, the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. (The original link to the BBC webpage referenced is still available HERE).:

    “I’ve noticed that NBC News is frequently two days behind the BBC with their international headlines. Last night there was a segment on the anniversary of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, twenty years ago. The BBC featured it last week, and focused on the latest report from Greenpeace estimating the final death toll to be around 93,000. This figure is way higher than the 4,000 suggested by the UN/IAEA.
    The use of nuclear power for energy is rapidly spreading around the globe. Cheap, sustainable, but most definitely not environmentally friendly – despite the politicians’ rhetoric on the subject. If you believe them, ask the people of Chernobyl for their opinion.
    According to nuclear ‘experts’ the power stations built today are safe; nothing can go wrong, the technology has every eventuality covered.
    We have a choice: we can be fools and believe them, or, we can have the wisdom to say, “Enough is enough.”
    There are 103 nuclear power stations operating in America and plans to build 12 -15 more by 2015. An accident in any one could prove just as disastrous as that at Chernobyl twenty years ago. Add in the high risk of terrorist attack, and it becomes a question, not of ‘if’, but ‘when’ a nuclear disaster will occur in this country.
    Are Americans going to act now to prevent these lunatic nuclear policies from escalating, or will they be like the NBC News – and hold back until its too late?”


    And then, of course, came Fukushima.

  2. As radioactive materials have been pouring into Pacific Ocean for years Fukushima must be a global threat. I wonder why the world can be silent over Japanese government.

  3. I too have wondered why the silence on Fukushima, RJA and when I bring it up in conversation I feel I’m wearing my tin hat. Others rely so much on MSM and assure me if there is a concern they would all know about it.



  4. Masa – if there’s one thing governments fear it’s mass panic. Often silence is their way of combating that. I worry far more about the ‘silent’ issues than those that are headlined.

    WWW – Ha! I find it hard to believe anyone can still find credibility in MSM. Tools of governments and Big Business. Even the BBC is affected.

  5. I suspecct Japan has been a member of an “international nuclear arms industry” group. Fukushima has a strong relationship with AREVA in France.

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