“I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Baghavad Gita, on witnessing the first atomic bomb test, 1945
As I write this – on the afternoon of March 16 in the United States – the situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant No. 1 is, tragically, looking increasingly grim. Radiation levels are increasing, mass evacuations in the area surrounding Fukushima are underway; and experts are speculating –with trepidation, but understandable caution – about how far the radiation will spread, both within Japan and to other parts of the planet.
My heart goes out to the people of Japan who are of course suffering under the double blow of the effects of the earthquake and tsunami, as well as the threat from the Fukushima reactors.
They are dealing stoically and with great dignity with conditions that are severely challenging. And I want to pay special tribute to the incredibly brave band of TEPCO workers who are fighting to bring the situation at the plant under control. Their efforts are heroic, their courage beyond measure.
The world is now paying - and will pay however severe Fukushima turns out to be – a grave price for the nuclear industry’s hubris and the arrogance and greed that fueled their drive to build more and more reactors. What’s more, having bamboozled gullible politicians, the media, and much of the public into believing that it is a “clean and green” solution to the problem of global warming, the nuclear industry has operated facilities improperly, with little or no regard for safety regulations, and they have often done this with the connivance of government authorities.
Nuclear power is not the answer to global warming; it is not clean, it is not green; it is not safe; and it is not renewable. It is instead “a destroyer of worlds.” It is time the global community repudiated it – however economically painful in the short term that taking such a step would be. There is no other choice for the sake of future generations.