Sunday, December 11, 2005


BBC NEWS | UK | Massive explosions hit fuel depot

I don't need to tell UK readers the latest news. The fuel explosion at 6am this morning has dominated the agenda for the last eight hours and one might be forgiven there is no other news at all. As far as the BBC is concerned - this isn't. Like the hurricane of a couple of decades back, I managed to sleep through the initial event, but by all reports it was heard in Northern France and Holland.

Watching the images, it is fascinating. There is something rather grand about witnessing this - surreal too in that looking westward we see a beautiful sunny winter's day whilst looking to the east we see a nightmare of pollution. Sitting here in leafy Kensington, there is little evidence of the fallout, but just a few miles eastward the London Docklands are covered in the smog.

Exactly how something of this magnitude could happen will be the subject of many questions. The fires will apparantly be burning for days and if tonight's rains come as predicted, the pollution in the air will be washed down to earth and infect everything. It will not however be enough to extinquish the fires. Just why such a huge amount of volatile material was kept in such close proximity is disturbing to say the least.

If such an event concerning our handling of fossil fuels can happen, it bodes poorly for an energy industry who now have their eyes on the nuclear option. If this is the kind of care afforded to the safety of our infrastructure, can Britain one day be expected to experience another Chenobryl? As I watch all this unfold and the fumes spread, I thank my lucky stars that, this time at least, it is not a radioactive spill. If it were, I would not be here to write this.


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