Sunday 3 June 2012

The long arm of Chernobyl

It’s a long way from Chernobyl to Wales, but until this weekend there were still restrictions on movement of sheep from more than 300 Welsh farms as a result of fall-out from the nuclear disaster 26 years ago.

After the explosion, radioactive particles became lodged in upland peat, and passed to sheep grazing the land, so they had to be tested before they could be sold.

At first, nearly 10,000 British farms were affected.   Over the years this came down to 327 in Wales and a further eight in England, and now these final restrictions have been removed.

At Chernobyl itself, work has begun on a huge new metal shelter to cover the stricken reactor.   After the disaster on April 26, 1986, a concrete ‘sarcophagus’ was hastily erected, but for years it has been crumbling, allowing radiation to leak out.  According to some estimates, the disaster cost of up to 200,000 lives.

 (See also my blogs of April 4, 2009, March 14, 2011 and April 29, 2012)

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