Playing Russian Roulette On More Than One Count


Britain’s nuclear safety regulator has been accused of turning a blind eye to dozens of serious mistakes at power plants and military bases.

I initially came across the information given below on Sky News’ Press Review, as part of Monday’s coverage of what that mainstream media outlet considers stories of the day; usually entertainment/celebrity icons dominate the fare, and Monday was no exception, as the nuclear-related abominations were dismissed with token discussion, and no hint of deep concern.

Today, though, I was hard put to find any reference anywhere on the subject, and I had to really work at securing even Sky News’ original light dialogue. Did someone send out the word to bury the issue, make it difficult to access the dynamics briefly touched upon?

To cite a few examples that should concern everyone, a torpedo was inadvertently fired by a Navy warship at the nuclear submarine dock in Plymouth, and three road accidents involving vehicles carrying radioactive material were among the events dismissed as posing no danger.

Analysis by the UK’s The Times shows that while the number of safety incidents formally declared by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has been stable for a decade, the rate of faults recorded by the watchdog has doubled since 2010 to more than one a day.

Between 2012 and 2015 the ONR gave 973 “anomalies” an International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) score of zero or left them unrated, meaning they are not reliable, not doing their job… wholly unprincipled, not serving Public Health as they should. Oh my goodness, it should be easy to see how unacceptable all this is, and how utterly important it is for concerned citizens to act on this dynamic post haste. Which means also, of course, that the scandal must not be allowed to be buried; mainstream outlets must be held accountable, forced to change their ways, as agencies become more responsible.

The Big Picture worry, however, is that what’s going on in the UK has its counterparts elsewhere. Everywhere, I should say.

While we ache over the passing of George Michael, lament immeasurably over the death of Carrie Fisher, and disagree heartily about how much of a spotlight David Bowie should receive at the Oscars and other realms in reviews of 2016 obituaries, we ignore our horrid environmental momentum, which is making beloved creatures like the cheetah likely to become extinct very soon, along with all of Mother Earth’s lovely creatures. One of which is humankind… presently playing real Russian Roulette on more than one count.

Richard Martin Oxman is an educator living in Santa Cruz County in California. He can be reached at [email protected].


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