Tuesday, September 11, 2012

While the massive & spreading protests at & around Kudankulam are being downplayed in the national media, and the Police are breaking into the locked homes of the protesters, destroying their few possessions, we could reflect on an earlier nuclear event, and its lasting impact 25 years on:

Today, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sits inside a fenced area known as the Exclusion Zone. Radioactive remnants of the failed reactor linger inside the so-called sarcophagus, a 24-story concrete and steel encasement hastily erected after the accident. Leaky and structurally unsound, it now threatens to collapse, shaking loose enough radiation to cause a second disaster of similar magnitude. Work has started on a new encasement, which will slide over the existing sarcophagus to seal in the remaining nuclear fuel - at an estimated cost of 2 billion dollars.
Less than 2 miles away from the reactor, the evacuated town of Pripyat, once inhabited by 50,000 plant workers, is a chilling ghost town still littered with the remnants of its hasty abandonment. Within the Exclusion Zone, in dozens of abandoned villages collapsed houses are disappearing under overgrowth. Ignoring radiation levels, some 400 elderly people have returned to their homes.
From the first day, officials downplayed the damages of the catastrophe and the politics of misinformation continues: A UN report estimates that 4,000 people will eventually succumb to cancer-related illnesses as the result of the accident. But major environmental organizations have accused the report of whitewashing Chernobyl's impact and state that more than 100,000 people have already died as a consequence of the disaster.
In the desperate search for alternative energy sources, it is important that we remember the Chernobyl accident as a possible outcome of nuclear power.
from The Huffington Post website

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