Singapore not ready to embrace nuclear energy — lessons from Chernobyl and Fukushima

At the launch of Liquidator: The Chernobyl Story on 28 February 2019 (Thursday) at Bookhaven, National University of Singapore (NUS), author Dr. Sergei Belyakov provided food for thought on the future of nuclear energy in his lecture “Chernobyl and Fukushima: Lessons to Remember”.

 In comparing and contrasting the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents, Dr Belyakov highlighted the features that led to the accidents being an inevitability. These include: a) site choice b) construction specifics c) human factors and d) explosion causes and accident progression. While ostensibly caused by overheated fuel cassettes due to a lack of efficient cooling mechanisms, the Fukushima explosion can be attributed to earthquake and tsunami.

Professor Lui Pao Chuen (Chairman of the Singapore Nuclear Research and Safety Initiative (SNRSI)), who was the guest-of-honour at the launch, shared that key to adopting nuclear energy is adequate knowledge in order to make sound decisions, which can be guided by research. The event was also attended by Professor Chung Keng Yeow, Director of the SNRSI, as well as Emeritus Professors at the Department of Physics, Bernard Tan and Lim Hock.

This book sums up the author’s recollections about his nuclear jumper stint. It is written not as a traditional memoir, but as an alloy of personal views and feelings, templated over the information about the Chernobyl disaster from the official sources of those days. Complete with illustrations, it will give readers a chilling sense of the magnitude of the event that brought down the almighty Soviet Union.

Liquidator: The Chernobyl Story will be sold at major bookstores including Kinokuniya and Times the Bookstore, and retails at S$48 (hardcover) and S$28 (paperback).