Friday, 4 March 2022

The nuclear option?

Back in the 1980s, back when our children were small, when the Cold War was still raging, I used to get genuinely nervous about the prospect of a nuclear attack. We watched “When the Wind Blows”, the film based on Raymond Briggs’ book (a rather different book from the various children’s stories about Father Christmas which we all enjoyed) and although we never went as far as actual planning for what to do on the event of a nuclear attack, we did worry about it. 

And suddenly it’s on the agenda again. 

On the radio news yesterday a pundit was saying that we shouldn’t expect things to go that far … but then, he went on, we didn’t really expect Putin to actually invade Ukraine. Basically anything could happen! Reassuring!

It’s not just the possibility of nuclear weapons though. Other weapons have been used near or against nuclear lower stations. This is from The London Economic:

“Ukraine’s leader has warned it will be the “end for Europe” if an explosion occurs due to Russian forces shelling the continent’s largest nuclear power plant.

In an emotional speech in the middle of the night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he feared an explosion at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant that would be “the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe”.

“Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops,” he said. “Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station.”

But most experts saw nothing to indicate an impending disaster.

The Ukrainian emergency service said the fire at the plant was out just before 7.30am (5.30am UK) and leading nuclear authorities were concerned — but not panicked — about damage to the facility.

The assault triggered phone calls between Mr Zelensky and US President Joe Biden and other world leaders. The US Department of Energy activated its nuclear incident response team as a precaution.

Zelensky told Europe to "wake up" to the threat of Putin and urged "anybody who knows the word Chernobyl" to help prevent another nuclear disaster on the continent

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the fire had not affected essential equipment and that Ukraine’s nuclear regulator reported no change in radiation levels. The American Nuclear Society concurred, saying that the latest radiation levels remained within natural background levels.”

Here’s a comment from Michael Rosen: “The Russians have captured the nuclear plant. We always said nuclear power stations were the safest form of producing clean energy, so all's well.”

We shall see.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone! 

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