Placed online in French: 11 March 2014
On 11 March 2011, the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Fukushima region caused thousands of deaths, and triggered an immense nuclear catastrophe that made the region uninhabitable, displacing hundreds of thousands of Japanese people. That catastrophe is still going on. Every day tonnes of radioactive water pour into the Pacific Ocean. The contamination is reaching California and making some seafood unfit to eat. Slowly but surely the catastrophe is taking global proportions.
And yet it could have been avoided. It was predictable, and we can prove that. In 2003, that is 8 years earlier, a Japanese activist (now deceased) Satomi Oba, who directed the NGO Plutonium Action Hiroshima, issued a warning that was immediately translated and published by ACDN on its website: JAPAN: THE NEED TO EXIT FROM NUCLEAR MADNESS. “From the seismic point of view,” she wrote, “it is incredible that over 50 reactors are scattered across the Japanese archipelago, while these islands are riddled with numerous active seismic faults.” Nobody listened to her or to the experts she quoted. Yet they were right.
Today we, as French citizens radically opposed to nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons, are issuing a similar warning to the French authorities. In March 20011 Japan had 54 nuclear reactors in service; 13 months later it had none. In March 2014 France has 58 in service, and every passing day increases the probability of a major accident or catastrophe like Chernobyl, Fukushima, or worse. Similarly, if France still refuses to act for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the day will come when they will destroy us.
So is France going to wait for a catastrophe before deciding to shut down its 58 power-generating reactors? Closing them as soon as possible, with determined and methodical planning, is an imperative for survival. An alternative energy programme must urgently be conceived and implemented. A vast mobilization is needed from the government and the people. The phasing-out of nuclear technology, both civilian and military, must be treated as a great national cause, a paramount cause. When you are in mortal danger, you don’t stint on the means needed to escape.
And what is true of nuclear power-plants is even truer of weapons, since nuclear bombs are extraordinarily expensive, morally criminal, militarily ineffective, and they contribute to global insecurity.... without producing a single kilowatt-hour.