We the global citizens are at the time of making a decision. In 1945, due to atomic bombs, Japan lost 200,000 citizens and even today, tens of thousands are still suffering from the aftereffects of radiation. And now in Fukushima, due to the severe accident at the nuclear reactors and their spent fuel pools, a second radiation disaster is taking place. Needless to say, radiation contamination spreads beyond borders of nations and is transferred to future generations. For our sustainable future, we should take the radiation contamination issue as the most pressing global environmental problem. Now is the time for all the citizens in Japan and every nation to declare that we can not co-exist with nuclear technology, whether it is used for military or civil purposes.
The United Nations and the government of each nation are also at the time of making a decision. Accidents that should not have occurred did occur at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now in Fukushima. Under any circumstances, severe nuclear accidents should be avoided completely, and the phrase “unexpected circumstance” can not be used as an excuse. Nuclear energy is not an acceptable form of energy for human beings, as long as it produces radiation that harms people’s lives on this planet, especially lives of the young and future generation, the very fundamentals of any nation’s future. Moreover, another disaster could take place at any time anywhere as long as more than 400 commercial reactors are in operation all over the world. Particularly dangerous are the older ones and ones located near seismic zones. Accordingly, the United Nations and the state governments should immediately take bold initiatives to phase out nuclear energy and decommission reactors in the order of the danger that they pose to humanity, the environment and the economy.
Nuclear corporations are also at the time of making a decision. Nuclear energy apparently contradicts with corporate ethics and social responsibilities. Not only the massive release of radiation at the time of accidents, but also release under normal operation deteriorates the environment and people’s health. There are so many issues around this industry for which its legitimacy should be questioned, such as issues of unsolved nuclear waste, and radiation exposed workers. If manufacturing of asbestos was banned, uranium mining, nuclear fuel manufacturing, operation of nuclear reactors, reprocessing of spent fuel should be banned all the more strictly. Nuclear corporations should shift their central roles to the elimination and control of radioactive contamination and nuclear waste instead of further promoting nuclear energy.
Radiation agencies all over the world are also at the time of making decisions on their orientation of research activities. Until today, most of them have set up radiation protection standards based on the assumption to use nuclear energy as a state policy. However, these agencies should shift their main roles to protect the environment and people from radiation contamination. In order to do this, they should inform their citizens of the true risk of radiation exposure in understandable terms, especially the high-risk internal exposure, providing the current scientific facts without underestimating it. Also, they should issue adequate recommendations in a timely manner to protect the general public, especially the radiation-sensitive individuals such as infants and pregnant women.
No matter how different we are in social positions, who would not dare to care the lives of ourselves and the future generations and the environment? Nuclear energy has been threatening the environment of our planet and the life of every being. Taking the emergency situation of Fukushima as an opportunity to come back to this simple truth, here we call for the following things.
1. United Nations and the state governments should decide to phase out nuclear energy and decommission reactors in the order of their risks as early as possible.
2. Nuclear corporations should shift their central roles to eliminate and control radiation contamination and nuclear waste for their future corporate activities.
3. Radiation agencies should conduct radiation measurements extensively and carry out adequate precautionary measures such as people’s evacuation warning and restriction of food and water intake.
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