IT is the chillingly realistic true-life drama gripping audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. But Chernobyl, the HBO and Sky Atlantic hit series on the 1986 meltdown, has also got viewers thinking. The show – which ended its five-episode run last night – has reignited a debate that has, until recently, been overshadowed by concerns on global warning. Suddenly, says Edinburgh-based campaigner and consultant Peter Roche, people are talking about nuclear energy again, and not just as a carbon-neutral power source to help combat the climate emergency. That, he reckons, is good. Mr Roche has been riveted by Chernobyl, the TV show. “I am surprised how popular it is,” he said. “A whole new generation of people are learning about the hazards of nuclear accidents.” It released radiation in a plume that fell across Europe. Everybody in Scotland, The Herald reported in 1989, was irradiated. People who ate game, we revealed, got 10 times the average dose. But for campaigners like Mr Roche – back in 1986 a member of Scram, a group which united around opposition to East Lothian’s Torness nuclear power plant – it became an object lesson. But could Scotland or the UK suffer a Chernobyl? Mr Roche fears so. “That we don’t have this kind of reactor in the UK was always the get-out clause of the British industry,” he said. “But that does not mean we cannot have another kind of accident.” Mr Roche recently warned that Hunterston could cause a Chernobyl. He was speaking after The Ferret, a Scottish investigative journalism team, revealed operator EDF had found 350 graphite cracks. That delayed plans to restart two reactors which were undergoing maintenance.
Herald 5th June 2019 read more »