To date, Chernobyl still stands as the world’s worst civilian nuclear accident. But the unfolding disaster in Fukushima, Japan, demonstrates that no amount of technological sophistication or safety culture can prepare any country or its people for the inherent dangers of nuclear energy.
Yesterday, I was among those Greenpeace activists in black cloaks and masks who took the message to the doorsteps of the Department of Energy, in a grim procession highlighting 25 of the world’s worst nuclear disasters that occurred between Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011). When all has been said and done, there is a human cost to nukes, especially in the incidence of a nuclear disaster. The Chernobyl disaster is a grim reminder of the tragic cost of nukes on the lives of people – a cost that they are paying until today.
I remember the account of one of our campaigners about the chief proponent for the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Congressman Mark Cojuangco, who made a comment that only 60 people died in the Chernobyl catastrophe -- a comment that caught the ire of a shocked nun who questioned the value that the chief BNPP proponent puts on life.
“’Only 60’ people died!??!” she said in shock.
Only 60 people who have been someone's parent, child, sibling, friend or lover, rendered lifeless by their exposure to extreme levels radiation.
Ultimately, nuclear power is not just about technology or economics, but about the kind of future we want for ourselves and for our children. The story of Anya is just one of the many stories of lives that have been radically altered by exposure to the inherent dangers brought about by an industry that has consistently demonstrated that safety and nuclear power is a contradiction in terms.