A letter of support for worldwide movement to a
Public Referendum on a nuclear moratorium.
Planetary Union (União Planetária), Brasília, April 6th 2011.
At a moment in human history when radioactive rain is spreading fallout from the Fukushima disaster around many countries of the Northern Hemisphere of Planet Earth, the need for a worldwide mobilization of civil society arises. Traces of radioactive caesium have been found in fish and radioactive iodine is showing up in drinking water and milk in Japan, the United States, from California to Massachusetts, and parts of Europe. The promise of pure water, air and soil to future generations must be maintained together with an equal potential for prosperity among the nations of the planet. The global economic system faces a crucial challenge as humanity finds itself at a bifurcation point because of its reliance on non renewable sources of energy - the finite sources of energy that will eventually run out.
A revolution in human consciousness that can bring peace and unity to civilization must be started with an energy revolution through long term focus on sustainability of mankind, a process to be achieved by facing out non renewable energy in favor of efficient renewable energy sources. The problem of nuclear energy and its essence is the destructive force of splitting of the atom.
As we witness, the unraveling global disaster from the effects of nuclear fallout spreading from Fukushima, we conclude that even in highly industrialized countries, such as Japan, nuclear reactors are vulnerable to catastrophes in spite of safety measures. The byproducts of the operation of nuclear reactors are not only used in peace but for the production of nuclear weapons. The myth of the “peaceful atom” is belied by the easy modification of nuclear energy infrastructure to create the material required for a nuclear bomb. The safety and security of radioactive materials increases the threat of the usage of nuclear energy. Transparent safety audits and security measures of power plants are widely disregarded by the owners of the plants. The very serious issue of transportation and permanent storage of nuclear waste is an ecological disaster by itself for the decay of radioactive materials is a centennial process and the radioactive waste remains dangerous for hundreds of years. The currently propose standards for managing high radioactive waste are still inadequate for protecting public health since quality assurance procedures are underestimated.
In the light of the events surrounding the Fukushima disaster many scientific communities, governments and distinguished public figures have sounded their voice for rethinking of national energy strategies. I believe that the public needs to have a voice in reviewing the nuclear power policies and give my all hearted support for global campaign and raising the consciousness about the alternatives to nuclear power and other new renewable energy sources. I support the global political action, initiated by the Planetary Union in Brasilia, on national levels throughout the world, for a global referendum with the question: “ZERO NUCLEAR - YES OR NO?” to be held on August 6th 2011, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Several nations have sounded support for a nuclear moratorium. The Indian Institute of Science supports a global review of nuclear power policy and a moratorium on planning and construction of new nuclear reactors. Pushed by the Japanese tragedy, Germany has already closed ten of its oldest nuclear reactors, and the Secretary of State for the Environment and Nuclear Safety of the German government has announced that Germany will shut down all of its nuclear power station by 2020. In 2010 Germany produced 17 GW of solar power and will increase solar energy output to 66 GW by 2030. All of Japan’s nuclear reactors produce 47.5 GW of power. Spain has announced that as of March 2011, wind becomes the primary source of energy. Wind power generation currently amounts to 21 % of Spain’s total output, nuclear power 19 %, hydro power 17.3 % and solar power 2.6 %.
In January of 2011 Greenpeace issued a report titled “Battle of the grids” stating a comprehensive plan to phase out 90 % of coal and nuclear plants by 2030, trough efficient electricity supply with 68 % renewable energy sources. Currently, there are 439 nuclear reactors in operation, and the new construction of 158 more is planned along with 326 in planning.
The global campaign “ZERO NUCLEAR - YES OR NO?” should mobilize the civil society towards raising of consciousness of peaceful interaction of humans and nature through education about new developments in technologies of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar concentrated, solar photovoltaic, hydro, biomass, geothermal and ocean power.
The phasing out of nuclear energy is a global peace process. Humanity finds itself at a turning point in history for a world without nuclear reactors is a world without nuclear weapons, and a world without the fear of thermonuclear war.
Senador Cristovam Buarque (PDT-DF)
Senado Federal - Praça dos Três Poderes - Ala Teotônio Vilela - Gab. 10
Brasilia, DF, Brasil 70165-900