Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The toxic tourist attraction.
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.

"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.)

1 comment:

Christina said...

Chernobyl was a horrible accident (even I, as a nuclear power supporter, would hesitate to say the after effects were "not that bad.") But yes, the Soviets and their mismanagement of the nuclear plant are largely to blame for how bad things got. The plant lacked basic safety measures, like a containment structure around the reactor, that were standard in plants in the West. The plant was also being operated under conditions that were way outside normal safe parameters, and it was a type of reactor that was particularly unstable under those conditions.

I have seen many pictures that "urban explorers" have taken of Pripyat, the abandoned town next to the plant - eerie, but fascinating to me. It's sad to see the homes and the possessions abandoned at a moment's notice. Turning it into a tourist attraction for the masses seems so disrespectful to those who suffered from the accident.