The Un-paving Paradise Project March 2014: ‘Nuclear reactors and what happens when it all goes wrong’

That’s the thing that often gets missed about ‘science’ – it is seen as a separate thing from politics, ethics or people, even. But it isn’t. The USSR government officials at the time of the Chernobyl disaster didn’t tell local people what was going on until some time after. They ‘didn’t want to create panic’ so they exposed thousands of people to radiation poisoning instead.
The Met office’s chief scientist, Dame Julia Slingo, recently said that ‘all the evidence suggests that [the recent extreme weather events are] link[ed] to climate change.’ Not only have many areas in the UK been severely flooded week after week, but one only has to look across the Atlantic at the Americas to see that they too have experienced extreme weather. Given imminent climate change and the crises it could yet bring (this is just the beginning), nuclear power may be a better option than fossil fuels, but as both Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown, politics/economics/people are not entirely rational and to use nuclear power safely you need to be able to guarantee that it will be managed rationally (for want of a better word). This is why I always sigh at the idea that ‘Science’ will come up with something to save us all from the effects of climate change. It is unlikely. We have opened Pandora’s box and now we have to wait and see what happens. At an individual level there is so much that we in the West can do, however. In my country, the UK, 80% of carbon emissions are from households, not government, not businesses. We have to wake up to our culpability, not wait for the fairy godmother ‘government’ to wave its magic wand. It won’t and it can’t.