Reaction to our earlier piece praising the actually rather brilliant response of the Fukushima reactors and their operators in the quake’s wake has shown that hoary myths and legends surrounding Chernobyl persist, and that one will still, even after all this time, generally be pilloried for suggesting that Chernobyl – far and away the worst nuclear incident ever which didn’t involve an atomic bomb – was genuinely not that serious.
We here at the Reg attended the launch of this rather excellent recent book, Flat Earth News, in which veteran Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies dared to include the Chernobyl myths of thousands dead (actually the established figure is 56) alongside other great, baseless modern scares like the Millennium Bug.
Davies said that nothing else he has ever done in his life earned him as much flak as that.
I think most people are unfamiliar with the story of what actually happened at Chernobyl in 1985, beyond “There was a meltdown”. Basically, pretty much every possible fuckup happened one after another (from reactor design, to reactor management, to employee supervision, to safety procedures (there weren’t any, quite seriously) to after the fact disaster recovery. This of course had little to do with problems with nuclear power and quite a bit to do with problems of the Soviet Union. Not that I need to tell you this.
But I do need to pass it on.