Open Letter to Evo Morales about nuclear energy

Re-posting from Breaking the Nuclear Chain (en) and Julio Lumbreras (es)…

Dear Evo Morales,

First of all we would like to emphasize that those who sign this letter consider themselves to be friends of the Bolivian people. We applaud what your government has done over the years for the welfare of the people of Bolivia, for the recovery of control over your natural resources as well as for social justice and the redistribution of wealth. We also support the strong stance you and your government have taken on the protection of the environment, with the institution of the Day of Mother Earth and the acts against the exploitation of food resources for purposes other than the nourishment of the people. Moreover, we have been fighting for years, in our countries and internationally, against military and civilian nuclear energy.

In this light, as friends, we have been surprised by the announcement of your government’s plans to start the process of building a nuclear plant in Bolivia.

We believe this to be a move in the wrong direction and we wish to explain why in the following few points. We also hope that this debate can be continued with the participation of the entire Bolivian society. We therefore welcome positions different from ours and are always available to participate in an open discussion with further contributions.

1) That for nuclear energy is a choice without return, and no visible end! No one knows precisely what it costs to dismantle a nuclear power plant, but it is likely to be comparable to the cost of constructing one; no durable solution for the disposal of radioactive wastes has yet been found. These wastes constitute a heavy legacy that is expensive to store and remains deadly for thousands of years.

2) The idea of acquiring autonomy and independence by the use of nuclear energy is illusory and false: uranium is a finite resource (the most optimistic forecasts count with its depletion in about a century) and supplies of nuclear fuel are held by a handful of rich countries.

3) The costs of a nuclear programme are much higher than those of any other form of energy production; the budgeted cost for nuclear power reactor is around US$8-10 billion and building times are unpredictable. Besides there are huge costs involved in adjusting the connected infrastructure – industrial, technical, medical, etc. – and in training the staff only to make them extremely specialised and in this sector only.

4) The safety of a nuclear plant is a myth, fuelled by industry supporters and industrialists, but clearly denied by the facts: the last half-century shows that we must expect an extremely serious accident every few years. The consequences of a major nuclear accident are worse than those of any other accident. The legacy of the Fukushima accident alone will last for decades to burden Japan and the world!

5) Nuclear energy is a vulnerable target to terrorist attacks and leads to a militarization of the surrounding territory.

6) For all these reasons, the production of energy by nuclear means is in steep decline all around the world and is likely to continue that way; it is reasonable to expect that the construction of new nuclear power plants and their total number will decrease in the future.

7) Nuclear power on planet Earth represents the quintessential “anti-nature” form of energy production. Nature uses nuclear reactions in the creation of new worlds in stars. That however is fusion, not fission; on Earth its use is purely episodic and marginal.

8) There is a tight bond between civil and military nuclear energy production. The materials and basic techniques are the same, with plutonium – the ‘explosive’ material ideal for nuclear power generation as well as nuclear weapons – resulting as a by-product during the chain reaction.

We believe these arguments to be sufficient to dissuade any government from investing a nation’s resources and scientific potential in the nuclear industry, and we wish to see the Bolivian people take a more constructive way forward, prioritizing those renewable forms of energies of which your country is richly endowed. Such a choice and development path would generate infinitely more energy on a sustainable basis, thus bringing more welfare, autonomy and jobs than any nuclear project.

We are ready to provide the scientific details of our statements to your government and we warmly embrace you with love and esteem.

Anna Polo, Mundo sin Guerras y sin Violencia, Italia

Olivier Turquet, editor jefe de Pressenza Italia

Angelo Baracca, Profesor de Fisica, Universidad de Florencia, Italia

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Premio Nobel por La Paz, Irlanda

Tony Robinson, vocero internacional de Mundo sin Guerras y sin Violencia

Dr. Carlos Vassaux, USA

Dr. Jouni Ylinen, Finlandia

Ira Helfand, MD, USA, co-Presidente International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, receptor del Premio Nobel por La Paz en 1985

Claudio Giangiacomo, abogado, Italia

Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria

Roberto Renzetti, Profesor de Fisica, Facultad de Ingeniería Mecánica de Roma Tre y escritor, Italia

People for Nuclear Disarmament, Australia

Human Survival Project, Australia

Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Fundadora de Oxford Research Group y de Peace

Direct, Miembro del World Future Council, Reino Unido

Giorgio Parisi, Profesor de Fisica, Universidad de Roma I, La Sapienza, Italia

Romi Elnagar, autor de “Fukushima: Meltdown on the Ring of Fire” in

Green Horizon, USA

Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000, USA

Dr. Anthony Gronowicz, Partido Verde, USA

Salvatore Fanara, USA

Jane Milliken, USA

Rachel Clark, USA

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinador de Global Network Against Weapons &

Nuclear Power in Space, USA

Pauline Tangiora, Miembro del World Future Council y di Earth Council, Nueva Zelanda

Dr. Gerson Lesser, USA

Debbie Peters, USA

Prof. Francesco Bottaccioli, Fundador y Presidente de la Sociedad Italiana de Psiconeuroendocrinoimmunologia. Dirección y Profesorado Máster en “PNEI y la ciencia de la atención integrada” de la Universidad de L’Aquila, Italia

Roberto Romizi, presidente de Médicos por el Medio Ambiente – ISDE Italia

Tahia Devisscher, Reino Unido

Yukari Saito y Gerard Blaylock, Fundadores del Centro de Documentación “Semillas bajo la nieve” Pisa, Italia

Prof. Jürgen Renn, Director del Instituto Max Planck Institute para la Historia de la Ciencia, Berlín, Alemania

Dr. Celestino Panizza, Presidente ISDE Brescia, Italia

Paola Manduca, ISDE, Italia

Paul Larudee, Free Palestine Movement, USA

Giuseppe Masera, ISDE, Italia

Giuseppe Miserotti, ISDE Emilia-Romagna, Italia

Pedro Portugal Mollinedo, director del periodico Pukara, Bolivia

Pol D’Huyvetter, Mayors for Peace, Brasil

Giorgio Ferrari, Italia

Paolo De Santis, Profesor de Fisica, Universidad de Roma 3 – Alternativa, Italia

Luisa Memore, presidente ISDE Torino, Italia

Giuseppe Vitiello, Profesor de Fisica Teoretica, Universidad de Salerno, Italia

Antonio M. Calabrò, Ingeniero investigador aeroespacial, Italia

Marco Caldiroli, Luigi Mara, Chiara Rodeghiero, Fulvio Aurora,

Maurizio Marchi, Patrizia Gentilini, Antonio Valassina, Medicina Democratica, Italia

Kate Hudson, Secretaria General de Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Reino Unido

Patrick Boylan, NoWar-Roma, Italia

Pax Christi Metro New York, USA

Nelson Arias Ávila, fisico, PhD, Colombia

Takao Takahara, Profesor de politica internacional y estudios sobre la paz, Facultad de Estudios Internacionales, Universidad Meiji Gakuin, Japón

Gabriella Filippazzo, ISDE Palermo, Italia

Lee Hsiujung, Vice Secretario General de Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, Taiwan

Julio Lumbreras Astorga, fundador de Los Verdes de México y organizador del colectivo “Sal del Círculo” Ecologistas Humanistas, Cochabamba-Bolivia.

Dr. Gastón Cornejo Bascopé, Médico y Ex-Senador del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia

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