It is estimated that there are around 400 nuclear power plants at the moment. Significant percentage of electricity is supplied from these plants. Hydroelectric plants alone are not enough to illuminate 7 billion people. Renewable energy technologies are at its infancy despite having support from emerging green revolution and rigorous research. Half of the world population have already migrated to bigger cities. Cities are transforming into mega-cities with the growing inhabitants. Power consumption in these mega-cities is rising dramatically. Both profit hungry corporates and states have been ‘racing against time’ hand in hand coining the term ‘time value of money’. Electricity produced by nuclear power plants is no more acceptable as a safer technology. More importantly, after experiencing reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents out of human error or breaching safety guideline, it is agreed that nuclear energy is not truly benefiting advancement of human civilization. On top of that, world’s worst nuclear disaster in Fukushima triggered by magnitude 9 earthquake and following tsunami with a death toll of around 25,000 finally alarmed the bell on March 11, 2011.
Fukushima reminds that it is humanly impossible to deal catastrophe of such a scale caused by natural disaster of such an extent. It’s not just the cost between $ 50 -$100 billion or more that Japan pays, the loss of life, livelihoods, households, and resources are irreversible; in fact, the entire population living around the power plant is wiped out. And the survivors, who still could not overcome the trauma, are forced out of the radiation zone. World has observed how a highly advanced, intelligent and technologically advanced species like Japanese struggled for months to cool melting reactors with a little success.
They need to wait unit 2021 for removal of nuclear fuel and demolition of the reactor will take decades. They need to wait until radiation level falls and force evacuation of 80,000 people.
United Nations nuclear safety team urges to watch the effects of prolonged radiation exposure on the public and nuclear workers at the crippled plant. They said that Japan underestimated tsunami threat. There is no scope for politicians to cover-up radio-active particles when the issue has become a global concern. Vegetables produced in the nuclear zone has a threat of contamination, it is difficult to convince people what is safe and what is contaminated in such a perplexing situation.
Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 was known as the deadliest catastrophe until 2011. 30 workers in the plant died within a week, thousands of people were evacuated from the affected areas near reactors, radionuclides were measurable in the northern hemisphere, 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children. And experts worried that such cases of cancer will continue for many years. Digest report of Chernobyl Forum made up of specialized agencies notes, “An estimated five million people currently live in areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine that are contaminated with radionuclides due to the accident; about 100000 of them live in areas classified in the past by government authorities as areas of strict control.”
National ambition for nuclear power seemingly appears as violation of human rights in many instances. While we are very much preoccupied by nuclear warheads and man-made disasters to ‘nuclear winter’, it has gone unnoticed that earthquakes as well as tsunamis could cause havoc by melting down reactors and consequent radioactive fall-out blown by wind. Thanks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her dramatic U-Turn and bold decision to shut down all nuclear plans in the country by 2021. That is called visionary and out of the box leadership to immediately shut down 8 oldest plants and eventually phase out the rest by next 10 years. While world leaders keep their eyes closed and keep their nuclear plants staying on despite tragedy in Fukushima, Germany closed 7 nuclear reactors immediately after that tragedy in March. 23% of power comes from nuclear plants and a couple of big companies influential in this sector, which means it was not easy to make such bold decision in a heavily industrialized nation. Mrs. Merkel said the country must “not let go the chance” to end its dependence on nuclear power. Off course, it’s a golden chance for humanity to progressively realize the phase of time in the human history to phase out nuclear reactors. While the business and economy is chasing profit on hourly basis and power consumptions have gone sky-high, more and more states and energy companies relying on “Pandora’s box” for electricity. Let us put an end of it, choose a modest lifestyle, and shut down 400 Pandora’s box.