From Chernobyl to Zaporizhzhia

Image: Ralf1969

The threat of nuclear war hangs over us. But nuclear power presents its own dangers at a time of war.


Boris Johnson’s fi nal act as prime minister was to call for Britain to “go nuclear and go large” as people faced rocketing energy bills.

Read: Learning the lessons of Ukraine

Johnson also joined other NATO leaders in arming Ukraine against Russia’s immoral invasion. So, were UK-funded weapons shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine?


This raises a wider question: should the threat of confl ict be a factor in assessing the risk of going nuclear? Nuclear power stations are seen by some environmentalists as a necessary alternative to conventional, fossil fuel energy.

A ground war at Sizewell C seems unimaginable. But did any Soviet planner designing Zaporizhzhia in the 1970s imagine not one but two former Soviet states shelling its power lines within their own lifetime?

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.

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The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate now.