Pattaya Daily News

20 March 2006 :: 13:03:34 pm 26950

Chernobyl Legacy Still Haunts Britain After 20 Years

UK Government Wants To Renew Nuclear Energy Programme The Chernobyl disaster,after two decades, is still casting its shadow of radiation over 375 farms in parts of rural Britain. The UK Department of Health has admitted that more than 200,000 sheep are grazing on land still contaminated by fallout from the explosion at the Ukrainian nuclear plant.
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  The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is intent on a pursuing a nuclear renovation and expansion policy, claiming that nuclear energy would allow the UK to achieve twin objectives of cutting C02 emissions and reducing dependency on imported natural gas supplies.

   However, there are strong arguments against such expansion actually cited by the Government‘s own advisory board on sustainable development. This identified five major disadvantages to any planned renewal of Britain‘s nuclear power programme, including the threat of terrorist attack and the danger of radiation exposure., Greenpeace‘s senior adviser on nuclear energy, Jean McSorley, declared “Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident the world has ever seen but it is by no means the worst that could happen. The Chernobyl disaster turned public opinion in Britain against civil nuclear power overnight.
Wales sustained most of the contamination from Chernobyl especially between Bangor and Bala, much of it in the Snowdonia National park. There is also a large triangle of contaminated land in Cumbria, south of Buttermere – though the number of farms affected is smaller than in Wales.

   Most of Britain‘s nuclear power stations no longer produce electricity, or are nearing the end of their active life. On 23rd March, leading specialists will hold a conference in London on the long term impact of Chernobyl. At the end of the month, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will issue a revised figure for the cost of cleaning up the sites of disused publicly owned nuclear plants.

   David Ellwood has 700 sheep on his farm in Ulpha, near Broughton-in-Furness in the Lake District. “I remember the Chernobyl disaster 20 years ago. At shearing time in July, they monitor everything. I would be worried if more power stations were built. We were 1,500 miles from Chernobyl and still feel the effects,” Mr Ellwood declared.

   Edwin Noble and his family, who run a 2,500- acre farm close to Mount Snowden, live under emergency restrictions that they were told would apply for 30 days, but which are likely to continue for years. Edwin Noble, 45, sheep farmer stated ‘I had no idea it could affect us so far away‘. Mr Noble took charge of the family farm twenty years ago. The rain left huge deposits of radio-cesium in the peaty soil, which is no direct threat to humans, but works itself into the grass, contaminating his sheep.

   If his meat fails the monitoring tests, it cannot be sold. This can be ameliorated by moving the sheep or lambs off the contaminated land, but this entails renting grazing land 20 miles away. Not surprisingly, the experience has made Mr Noble very opposed to nuclear power.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Announcement News

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