Wigner release?


Amazing how some days a bunch of information will come together to inspire you to write up something.

This evening a small but significant news item caught my attention. The current deadlock on a government coalition is having a series of consequences: one of them is the fact that Belgians living near nuclear power plants are at present faced with the fact that the expiration date on their iodine pills is only a month away. Due to the fact that we do not have a government, the authorities cannot order new batches at present leaving them effectively unprotected until June of 2008.

My thoughts immediately turned to the polder village of Doel, approx. 10 km from where we live. The photo below was taken by my SO and is a perfect example of how industry (in this case the port of Antwerp) has encroached on agricultural life.

For some reason, the polder villages tend to exercise a huge draw on us. Many of them have disappeared, such as Wilmarsdonk. The steeple of its unhallowed church bears the only testimony to the village's existence, but is now surrounded by containers and the port. Lillo-Fort is another. A little haven of peace and quiet, in the middle of the port, with a small marina, a number of pubs, and the dockers who come to eat there on their breaks. And finally Doel, the last man standing, if you will. Four hundred years ago Doel was reclaimed from the river Scheldt. Today, its inhabitants have left, its pubs are closed but for the mill and people are fighting to keep it alive. Houses are being squatted, windows have been thrown in... A dock has been built nearby and another is in the works. We go there often for Sunday walks along the sea wall, and for a drink at the mill in the photo if only to show our support.

Across the North Sea is our other nuclear destination: Dungeness.

This is Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage, with the Dungeness power plant looming in the background. And what a treasure trove this place is: it is one of the stations along the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch light railway, the 'Listening Ears' or acoustic mirrors in Denge as featured in Coast are nearby and of course the highly valuable nature reserve, in this large expanse of shingle.

Finally, this evening I settled down to some work with the TV buzzing in the background. Gradually I realized that I was watching/listening to a documentary on the Windscale fire, which resulted during a Wigner energy release procedure... It was considered the world's worst nuclear accident, until Chernobyl of course. The site is better known today as Sellafield, a subject of controversy due to the nuclear material processed there.

So what a nuclear day it was.

* I know I probably should follow this up with a remark on nuclear energy but today I simply wanted to focus on the other-worldliness of these places, which I think is what attracts us in the first place.

0 messages:

Lula bites Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino