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‘Nuclear safety’ does not exist

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Tue Sep 17, 2013

Editor: The promotion of nuclear energy as a safe form of energy comes from a one-sided view on the issue. The argument that nuclear energy should be expanded, because of the sheer productivity of it, looks at the issue only from an economic perspective and neglects the potential consequences to human health and the environment. If a poll were to be conducted, most persons across the globe would certainly not want a nuclear plant next to their home. However, nuclear plants, regardless of where they are located will certainly impact nearby natural habitats and human settlements, whether through direct impact on human health or impacts on livelihoods and food security. A perfect example is the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan.{{more}}

According to Greenpeace’s (2012) Lessons from Fukushima report, although the Great East Japan Earthquake and following tsunami triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, the key causes of this disaster were a failure to acknowledge real reactor risks, a failure to establish and enforce appropriate nuclear safety standards and a failure to protect the public and the environment. The report asks how is it possible that despite all assurances, a major nuclear accident on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 happened again and in one of the world’s most industrially advanced countries. The report also states that the Fukushima nuclear disaster marks the end of the “nuclear safety” paradigm. The report states that after what we have seen at Fukushima, we can conclude that “nuclear safety” does not exist in reality; only nuclear risks, inherent in every reactor and these risks are unpredictable. It was noted in the report that at any time, an unforeseen combination of technological failures, human errors or natural disasters at any one of the

world’s reactors could lead to a reactor quickly getting out of control.

Shamal Connell

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