Nuclear power: blessing or curse?
As of February 2, 2012, there were 435 nuclear plants across the globe. In 2017 our Belarus plans to join "the nuclear power club", uniting 31 countries where nuclear power plants operate. Ironically, just 31 years ago the dreadful nuclear disaster of Tchernobyl took place incredibly close to our border...
Tchernobyl disaster on 26 April 1986 marked itself as one of the most severe nuclear accidents in the world - as a result, appreciable part of the territory of our country was heavily contaminated with radioactive elements. With 135 000 people evacuated, several dozens died immediately and hundreds of thousands exposed to excessive radiation doses, disaster had also lead to a surge of cancer cases and associated mortality among population, soil contamination and a number of other side-effects.
Our leaders seem to have forgotten the lessons of the past. They set up plans to build a new nuclear plant - now in the perfectly green and clean area near Lithuania. Government reached an agreement with the Russian Federation to fund (by providing $9B loan) and actually build the power plant. Russia will also supply nuclear fuel for station to run.
Goes without saying that nuclear plant project caused great debate within society and in media. There were protests also, but it seems that Belarusians have finally tolerated the idea of potential nuclear bomb round the corner (as they tolerated a big bunch lot of unpleasant "presents" from the politicians).
The thing is controversial by nature. Yes, nuclear energy is really cheap, but it might be also really expensive in terms of ecology. It provides Belarus with a number of means to diversify its energy sources (now heavily dependant on Russia), but if examined closely nuclear power plant seems to even tighten embrace of our "big brother" (that's how is Russia sometimes called in Belarus). Why? Simple: we get workforce to build and support power plant, money to build it and nuclear fuel from Russia... Why don`t just continue pumping oil and burning coal?
Project of nuclear power station in Belarus leaves more question marks, than positive exclamations. Despite all the advantages, there are drawbacks that must not be overlooked - consequences may be fatal.