In the year since the Fukushima nuclear accident, many nuclear-powered countries have failed to react with the urgency needed to reverse dependence on atomic energy in favor of safer, renewable forms of power, says Green Cross International.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake and 13-meter-high tsunami struck Japan’s northeast coast, causing thousands of deaths and untold damage. Complicating this disaster was the meltdown of the nuclear power reactors at Fukushima, releasing dangerous radiation downwind around the globe.
Alexander Likhotal, Green Cross International president, says “the Fukushima catastrophe illustrated just how dangerous and costly nuclear power is. While the horrible 1986 Chernobyl disaster was dismissed by some nuclear power advocates as an example of old, obsolete Soviet technology, Fukushima’s emergency showed even more modern plants, with protective containment, can suffer critical meltdowns, causing enormous damage to public health and the environment.”
“Green Cross urges all countries now to establish much stricter and enforceable international standards for both safety and security, to be monitored by an international body such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and to move away from nuclear power towards solar, geothermal, hydro, wind, and other less costly and safer, sustainable energy generating technologies,” Mr Likhotal says.
Dr. Paul Walker, head of the Green Cross Environmental Security and Sustainability (ESS) Programme, adds that “Japan has now shut down 53 of 55 commercial nuclear power plants in the country, clearly indicating the growing public concern over the dangers of nuclear power. Although the risk of such historic catastrophes may seem low, the level of damage, as we’ve seen in both Chernobyl and Fukushima, is just unacceptable and unaffordable for any country.”
To mark next month’s 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown, Green Cross will lead a delegation of lawmakers from Switzerland and several other countries to the affected site to inspect the organization’s social and health activities in communities still affected by the fallout.
Green Cross International, founded by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993 to foster a global value shift towards a sustainable and secure future, marks this first anniversary with a call for improved international safety and security standards for all nuclear power plants globally, and for a commitment by all governments and civil society for further development and deployment of sustainable, safe, and renewable energy, and higher energy efficiency standards.