Hamburg/Stockholm, March 9th, 2016 – This week marks the five-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake, followed by a tsunami and the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima’s nuclear power plants on March 11th, 2011. On this occasion, members of the World Future Council Foundation (WFC) and recipients of the Right Livelihood Award express their solidarity with the people in Japan and the many communities who still have not been able to return to their homes because of the environmental radiation levels near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
As Japan prepares for the anniversary, the huge environmental impact and economic damage of nuclear power is still not taken seriously by certain countries.
The Fukushima disaster is tragic proof that nuclear power plants are a huge risk for human health and the environment no matter where in the world they are located. However policymakers seem to not have learned from the disaster. Several countries such as India, Brazil, UK, United Emirates and South Africa are still envisaging new nuclear power plants – despite their huge risks, vast environmental damage, exorbitant costs and despite the availability of safe alternative energy sources.
“Nuclear power plants also generate nuclear waste which is dangerously radioactive for future generations,” says Right Livelihood Laureate Chico Whittaker, Co-founder of the World Social Forum. ‘We express our solidarity with Japanese civil society who are organizing an event in Tokyo on March 26, led by Nobel Prize winner Kenazaburo Oe, to oppose the re-starting of nuclear power plants in Japan.”
“It is disingenuous to re-brand nuclear power as a solution for climate change and an option to implement the Paris Agreement CO2 emissions,” says Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council. “To be very clear, nuclear power is too expensive and too dangerous. In addition, the time it takes to build nuclear powers plants is too long to be able to replace fossil fuels quickly enough to prevent further irrevocable climate change. The average construction time to build a nuclear power plant is at least 10 years, and the generation costs per KW/h are higher than for renewable energy technologies.”
A further concern comes from the fact that nuclear power plants use and create fissile materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons, and thus provide a proven pathway to nuclear weapons proliferation. The spread of nuclear power plants will not only make the world more dangerous, but will make more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world.