Japanese Disaster Sparks UK Nuclear Fears
Released on: August 24, 2011, 2:41 pm
The controversial debate concerning the UK’s dependence on
nuclear power has been reignited. In the aftermath of Fukushima, many
UK citizens have grown doubtful of the safety of nuclear power.
Certain branches of the public have called for a re-evaluation of the UK’s safety
measures in the event of a nuclear disaster. Some people are even beginning to take
matters into their own hands by investing in nuclear bunkers. Online companies, like
Tool-net, have noted an increase in the number of portable generators sold as people
prepare for potential power cuts.
Some experts claim that the concerns are unwarranted, because the United Kingdom is
not susceptible to severe earthquakes. The worst earthquake ever recorded in UK
history only measured 5.75 on the Richter scale. This is comparatively mild when
placed next to the 9.0 rating afforded to Japan’s disaster in March.
Approximately 15% of the United Kingdom’s electricity is supplied by 19 nuclear
reactors in various locations. Nuclear meltdown at any of these reactors would leave
thousands of UK citizens without electricity. This fear, when coupled with risk of
radiation poisoning, has left many wondering whether the UK’s reliance on nuclear
power is a good idea.
UK nuclear history has been marred by three accidents. In 2005, 20 tonnes of Uranium
leaked from a cracked pipe at the Thorp nuclear processing plant. Although no
radiation reached the environment, the British Nuclear Group was fined £500 000 for
a breach of safety regulations.
This recent case illustrated that design errors pose as great a risk as natural
disasters. Even if the UK is safe from devastating earthquakes, there is no
guarantee that plants have been designed perfectly.
Many members of the public refuse to remain complacent and have chosen to protect
themselves from the danger of nuclear fallout. Small portable generators, like the Clarke IG1000, can already be found in
nuclear bunkers throughout Europe. The Cold War may have ended, but the fear of
radiation remains as real as ever.
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