April 25, 2005

Voices from Chernobyl

As so many in the U.K. and elsewhere are clamoring for nuclear power, the Guardian has published excerpts from Voices from Chernobyl, by Svetlana Alexievich (click on the title of this post). The stories are truly haunting. Even when working normally, a nuclear reactor is contaminating the air and water and producing an unresolvable waste problem. People point to the example of France, where 80% of their electricity is produced -- apparently safely -- by nuclear fission. Yet the extremely dangerous waste has yet to be dealt with, as it continues to accumulate at each of the 58 reactors. The ultimate plan is simply to bury it, as the Chernobyl "liquidators" did. Where, of course, is a big problem. And as France's nuclear plants age, many are questioning the huge expense of just maintaining them, let alone upgrading or building more.

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