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Who Can We Trust on Nuclear Power?

The 26th of April marked the 25th anniversary of the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, the worst nuclear accident in history. Never has this commemoration seemed more relevant as, a quarter of a century later, a new generation is being confronted with the frightening pitfalls of the nuclear energy industry. Despite massive public concern, […]

In the Shadow of the Reactors

It is 6 p.m. on a mild Easter Monday in downtown Vienna. I slowly but steadily stroll up to Stephansplatz from Rotenturmstraße, watching children with their grandparents slurping some ice cream. I take a spoonful of the frozen treat while the sun warms my skin, and I decide that spring has finally come. All of […]

Vienna and Chernobyl

This account of the repercussions of Chernobyl  in Vienna was originally published in The Advertiser in Australia, in 1986 and is re-printed here by permission of the author. “What is this radiation stuff all about?” my eight-year-old son asked as he dashed through the door after school. He was annoyed, and implied that Mum and […]

Gambling With (Our Only) Planet

The consequences of the Japanese earthquake – especially the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant – resonate grimly for observers of the American financial crash that precipitated the Great Recession. Both events provide stark lessons about risks, and about how badly markets and societies can manage them. Of course, in one sense, there […]

The Meaning of Chernobyl

It began as a grey and muddy spring day, like so many others in my homeland. It ended in dread and mourning. Of course, none of us knew the precise moment when catastrophe struck at Chernobyl 25 years ago. Back then, we lived under a system that denied ordinary people any right whatsoever to know […]

Nuclear Power: Safe No More

The huge scale of the disaster that has struck in Japan since the earthquake on Mar. 11 almost defies comprehension. The numbers are constantly being nudged upwards but at the time of writing, the latest count of the dead and missing has reached 25,000 and ten times that number have been left without shelter in […]

Down Wind From Chernobyl

On Saturday, Apr. 25, 1986 at 23:00 near a small town in the Ukraine, a reactor in a nuclear energy station was put through a test.  It was a test that had been successfully undertaken previously – with negative results – and it was, for safety reasons, being tested again.  Plans had been made to […]

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