Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Anniversary

2011 mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26, 1986, a series of explosions destroyed Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 station and several hundred staff and firefighters tackled a blaze that burned for 10 days and sent a plume of radiation around the world in the worst-ever civil nuclear disaster. 

More than 50 reactor and emergency workers were killed at the time. Assessing the larger impact on human health remains a difficult task, with estimates of related deaths from cancer ranging from 4,000 to over 200,000. The government of Ukraine indicated early this year that it will lift restrictions on tourism around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, formally opening the scene to visitors. It's expected, meanwhile, that a 20,000-ton steel case called the New Safe Confinement (NSC), designed as a permanent containment structure for the whole plant, will be completed in 2013.

Nowadays, Nuclear Power Plant is known as sophisticated and complex energy systems ever designed. However, any complex system, no matter how well it is designed and engineered, cannot be deemed failure-proof. There are trades to be made between safety, economic and technical properties of different reactor designs for particular applications. Since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, many involved now consider informed consent and morality should be primary considerations.

For me, it is time that we in Malaysia to embrace nuclear energy as a cornerstone of the carbon-free revolution the world needs to address climate change and long-term energy security in a world beyond fossil fuels. Advanced nuclear power that provides the technological key to unlocking awesome potential of these energy metals for the benefit humankind and for the ultimate sustainability of our global society.

Bring in the nuke now...

Repairs are carried out on the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine on October 1st, 1986, following a major explosion in April 1986 which, according to official statistics, affected 3,235,984 Ukrainians and sent radioactive clouds all over Europe. (ZUFAROV/AFP/Getty Images) 

A military helicopter sprays a decontaminating substance over the region surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power station a few days after its No. 4 reactor's blast, the worst nuclear accident of the 20th century. (STF/AFP/Getty Images) 

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