Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If Chernobyl happened in the UK

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the world's worst accident. Some of the Low Carbon Kid's colleagues in the Keep Wales Nuclear Free group have been modelling what would happen if a similar incident occured in the UK.

The model assumes it happens at Wylfa, Wales' only nuclear plant on Anglesey. The map below links to a bigger version.

Chernobyl fallout applied to Wylfa

Other maps:

Chernobyl-like accident at Oldbury

Chernobyl-like accident at Hinkley Point

We are not saying it's likely to happen, but it's not outside the bounds of possibility as this article explains.

Quite apart from accidental disaster, in light of 9/11 we also need to be aware that nuclear reactors are potential terrorist targets and that they are not designed to withstand impacts from passenger jets like those that demolished the Twin Towers.

We are currently waiting for the Government's decision on whether to build a new generation of nuclear power stations following its current energy review.

The Keep Wales Nuclear Free campaign received full-page coverage in the Western Mail on April 22. The Western Mail article is here.

Thanks to David Baines and Ian Taylor.

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Eric McErlain said...

Talk about the height of irresponsibility on your part. The reactor at Chernobyl wasn't anything like the reactors in the West, and it's more than a bit specious to suggest otherwise.

Click here for more.

David T said...

The authors are not suggesting the reactor or the circumstances of an accident might be the same. As the linked article makes clear the cause of an explosion could be of any type, including terrorist attack, to which any type of reactor is vulnerable. To say "it could never happen here" is itself "the height of irresponsibility", surely?

Henry said...

The James Lovelocks et al of this world believe in something called 'technofix'. Problems are solved and disasters averted by the appliance of cool scientific rationality. One problem they haven’t yet been able to fix is that of the regrettably inconsistent, irrational, unpredictable, irresponsible... I could go on... human being. Was the Chernobyl disaster, whatever its design type, simply caused by technical failure? I think not. Those most unreliable components of the system – humans - fiddling around with stuff they shouldn’t have been. Wake up technocrats and scientists, we live in a world led by Putin, Bin Laden and Bush, not Aristotle and Galileo! The blight of nuclear disasters is so extensive, in both time and space, that new build can only be justified by the most extreme (naïve?) of psychological and political optimists.