26 April 2006


BerlinBear avatarIt's twenty years today since the Chernobyl disaster, the world's worst civil nuclear accident. My, how time flies. I remember the news reports and the concern, even in far-flung New Zealand, as if it were, well, less than twenty years ago.

As you would expect, the world's media are full of retrospectives, commentaries and reports about Chernobyl. Here are a few interesting ones:

The BBC website today devotes an entire "In depth" section to Chernobyl, including an interesting On this day retrospective and a number of Where are they now?-type victims' stories. I also found the Q&A section on Chernobyl very informative.

The English website of the German current affairs magazing Der Spiegel also has interesting coverage. The media roundup column "The World from Berlin" offers a concise and handy run-down on what the German newspapers are saying about Chernobyl today, while Lessons Forgotten looks at Ukrainian plans to go nuclear once more and build 14 new nuclear reactors. Finally, "Accident or Catastrophe" appealed to my linguistic geekiness, in examining the different terms used in different countries to describe what went on at Chernobyl.

Deutsche Welle's English website also dedicates an entire DW-World Special section to Chernobyl, which includes informative Flash presentations of the chronology of the disaster and the nuclear fallout from it. Included in that section is an opinion piece entitled Chernobyl: an Insidious Legacy, which considers the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, in particular the political fallout from it.

Of course, there are literally thousands of other articles out there covering this subject today, but those are a selection of the pieces I found the most interesting and informative. If you've got any others to recommend, please feel free to post a link in the comments.

An anniversary like this one, especially against the backdrop of recent developments in Iran, obviously gives one pause to consider nuclear power, its pros and cons, its dangers and benefits. This is a topic I've given a lot of thought to, especially in recent years. Which is not to say that I have reached what I would consider a definitive stance on the issue.

In fact, my opinion on nuclear power has evolved considerably over the course of the past few years, from one of absolute and vehement opposition, to one of considerable concern but nevertheless the recognition that in some circumstances it may be a necessary evil, and even the lesser or two (or more) evils. In short, I would have to say I've developed into a bit of a nuclear agnostic. But that is a topic for another post, or a series of posts. Perhaps one day not too far hence I'll get around to it. No promises though.

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