Monday, August 8, 2011
Nuclear Reactors Pose Extinction Level Dangers And Must be Abandoned Now.
R. Ashok Kumar
draft for presentation to the members of parliament
8 August 2011
The nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan on 11 March 2011 is exposing the world to radionuclides and heavy ionising radiation many million times that due to the atomic bombs that were exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. This exposure will last centuries. It will likely cause millions of excess infant mortalities in India alone in the years to come and millions of excess cancers in the world and many other diseases. After a massive 9 MM magnitude earthquake that occurred near the nuclear plant and tsunami, cores of three nuclear reactors-1 ,2,3 completely melted within a few hours after the earthquake after cooling systems were damaged and a meltthrough from the containment into the ground is feared. Reactors 1,3 and the spent fuel pool stored in Reactor No 4 building caught fire. The explosion of the reactor 3 caused radionuclides- the fission products to go into the atmosphere and into the jet stream exposing the world to harmful effects of radiation for many generations. Now the fuel rods stored in the reactor buildings may be the cause of measurements of radiation of more than 10 Sieverts(which cause death in a few hours to those exposed) which have been registered with the meters going off scale at this level in the plant. Applying the precautionary principle, we the undersigned request the members of parliament to prevail upon the government to abandon nuclear power forever. The reasoning for this is extremely serious - life is being threatened with extinction level events like this because of the severity of the cumulative effects of our modern consumptive ways of living- polluting the soil air and water by extraction and burning of minerals and fuels, by requiring enormous amounts of water through dams and converting fertile soil into sheds for satisfying our destructive needs. This great earthquake - which is a man made one will not be alone. Shortly, but before next June, another one is expected in the same region- the Pacific Ring of Fire which may also lead to vast and additional dangers. And more and more and so on. This is because the dangerous infrastructure we have created-nuclear reactors and dams will react with one another to continue to cause havocs. The nuclear reactors will require additional coal plants to be set up to manufacture materials so they can be constructed and this requires additional water and that means in cascade more and more dams. The enormous forces so generated have increased the frequency with which such disasters are occurring until the whole cumulative effect is a series of extinction level events. Added to this is the fact that a nuclear reactor programme anywhere is an enormous consumer of energy- so huge that in a gluttonous growth phase for additional power and water - no energy will be available for society other than that for the nuclear industry itself. And because of the slow and costly nature of the process, to make any substantial dent in meeting the needs of the economy during this phase, will likely last for generations! We must turn our backs to this kind of blind and self destructive progress now. There are many ways in which continuing in this path can be seen to be suicidal.
You may get an insight into the urgency of our plea when you notice that what Mahatma Gandhi practiced as a message, is more relevant now than ever before:
India is blessed by spiritual and physical energy. Therefore there should be production by the masses, rather than mass production of unnecessary and superfluous things. Looking at the power of human beings alone, we observe that a billion hands and legs means 100000 Megawatts(MW) of power! At 50% load factor this means 50000 MW! And note that we can return our wastes to the fields from where we got our food in a way that is acceptable to nature. The extremely dangerous nuclear power nowhere stands even a remote chance by comparison. By proper energy substitution and change of our felt needs we can do wonders without the curse of nuclear energy. As we are seeing before our very eyes, the most advanced nuclearised nation- Japan- is now in tatters and tears and they are backtracking from this devil as far as they themselves are concerned. Germany is backing off from nuclear reactors. Our parliamentarians can use this golden opportunity to turn from this destruction of life itself. And embrace what we are best endowed with- the sun’s rays- through its myriad life systems- forests, pedal power, vapour absorption air conditioning, capstan operated mechanical advantaged lifts, maintaining a proper balance between where we work and where we live and manufacturing goods when we want where we want! The transport can be better with buses, trains, trams and ships. Our coastline is vast. We can harness shipping for goods transport and save energy by up to 70 percent compared to individual road transport. Forests and groundwaters can replace many dams.
Let us not put our money in nuclear energy which is killing us. By doing so, we will become extinct.