Australian news, and some related international items

We must never forget the risks nuclear stations pose to us all in conflict situations

The Herald, Isobel Lindsay, 19 Aug 22, CURRENTLY there are two different discourses going on in relation to nuclear power with no cross-over (“If Russia turns up the heat, could a nuclear winter follow?”, The Herald, August 17).

There is a cosy consensus among UK politicians and commentators that we should have more nuclear power stations and that this is supposed to be environmentally friendly. This message is, of course, actively promoted by commercial interests. Never mind the huge cost of both the build and the decommissioning, the legacy of radioactive waste we are leaving for future generations, the impact of rising water levels and drought on these plants and the long build time.

But the other discourse playing out is the huge vulnerability of nuclear power plants in conflict situations. Both Russia and Ukraine are playing “dare you” in relation to the Zaporizhzhia power plant. The Russians are using it as a base that is too dangerous to attack and Ukraine has been having a few shots at it to frighten the Russians and the rest of Europe in order to get more help. If the worst happens, it is the wind that will determine who suffers most, not state boundaries.

The threat is not just from war situations. While we have careful security measures, risk is always there. In 2017 a member of a far-right apocalyptic group in the US was arrested with weapons on his way to a nuclear power plant. One of those killed in the January 2021 storming of the US Capitol was an employee of a nuclear plant. In 2014 an insider at a Belgium reactor sabotaged one of the plant’s turbines, leading to months of shut-down. There are plants on earthquake and tsunami vulnerable areas.

We are not short of low-risk methods for the radical reduction in carbon emissions. We need to challenge those who are promoting high-risk choices,


August 21, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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