Douglas: anti-nuclear campaigner. Photo: Humphrey Carter.

“I can't visit my grandfather's birth-place because it lies down-wind from Chernobyl, scene of the nuclear disaster, in the 1980s. “The whole area is still devastated.” This was one of the reasons why Michael Douglas has picked-up the mantle of nuclear disarmament, which this week took him to the heart of Westminister for a discussion with MPs and a meeting with Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, in his capacity as a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations. Two reasons made Michael Douglas decide that something needed to be done to stop the growth in nuclear arsenals. One was the fact that he would never be able to go and see his grandfather's birthplace and the other was his hit film, China Syndrome.” “I was researching my family tree, especially on my father's side when I discovered that my grandfather had been born close to Chernobyl. It's an area which I will never be able to visit.” When Douglas and Jane Fonda made China Syndrome, which is based on an accident at a nuclear plant, some sections of Hollywood objected to the story-line. “We were charged with acting very, very irresponsibly. But just three weeks after the launch of the film, the accident at Three Mile Island nuclear plant took place. In China Syndrome we got computers to map out what would happen in the case of a nuclear accident and much of this occured at the Three Mile plant.”