The debate over the potential dangers of nuclear energy continues following the Chernobyl disaster.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred on 26 April 1986. The question of nuclear safety became international news and public anxiety over the potential dangers reached peak levels.
In May 1986 Evgeny Velikhov Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences declared that danger from Chernobyl was now over. 'Morning Ireland' spoke to David Fishlock, Science Correspondent with the Financial Times about the Russian claims.
The radiological information coming from Russia is still very limited indeed.
A poll conducted in the UK in May 1986 concluded that over 70% of respondents believed that a Chernobyl type disaster could happen in Britain. However, Fishlock comments that such as disaster is unlikely in Britain as it does not have the type of reactor present in Chernobyl. Furthermore, he says that China is the only place he is aware of outside Russia that may have a similar reactor to the one found in Chernobyl. In the early days of nuclear development China and Russia had collaborated in the Chinese Nuclear Weapons Programme and as such it is possible that the Russians provided China with a version of the same reactor found in Chernobyl.
The reactor does not conform to general ideas and standards of... safety design required in the West. That does not mean it's inherently unsafe. It simply means that it's different.
According to Fishlock the reactor would have to be radically redesigned to conform with British standards.
A 'Morning Ireland' report broadcast on 12 May 1986.