As Ukraine prepares to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster next month, its legacy remains as divisive as ever, however. Opponents of nuclear power insist that Chernobyl proved once and for all that the technology is unsafe. They argue that no more nuclear power stations should be built – ever.Share
"Chernobyl was a warning for the future," said Valery Makarenko, the first Soviet TV reporter on the scene. "It was not just a banal disaster, it was a message that nuclear power is not safe. It is time to think, consider alternatives, and bring the industry under tight international control. Otherwise, humankind will destroy itself." Proponents of nuclear energy, however, claim the fallout from Chernobyl was actually not as bad as first thought and pin the blame on shoddy Soviet management practices. Safety standards are much higher now, they point out, and nuclear power is cheap and clean compared to fossil fuels.
As evidence that the effects of radiation are not as bad as critics contend, they cite how wildlife has staged a remarkable comeback in the area around Chernobyl. Audits in the past have shown that the 18-mile exclusion area or "dead zone" around the plant is now home to 66 different species of mammals, including wild boar, wolves, deer, beavers, foxes, lynx and thousands of elk. (Read entire article.)