Pakistan Peace Coalition warns a modest natural disaster impacting country's nuclear plants could eliminate entire cities and life systems
The Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) reiterates its stand on the dangers of nuclear technology in the backdrop of the recent catastrophe in Japan, which has highlighted the potential hazards of nuclear power in a dramatic way. The description of nuclear power as reliable, secure, and a source of unbeatable energy has turned out to be a myth. Japan unmasks nuclear energy for what it is: an irresponsible, expensive and unnecessary high-risk technology.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 the PPC stressed that the post-earthquake and tsunami nuclear disaster in Japan is a strong wake-up call for the enthusiasts of nuclear power all over the world, and especially for those in the developing countries who are completely sold out to the charms of nuclear technology.
Japan is among most advanced countries, which manufacture and export nuclear power reactors, its tragedy illustrates how easily things can get out of hand, leading to catastrophic accidents.
Severe nuclear explosions have now happened in the most technologically advanced countries -- USA, Soviet Union, and now Japan -- showing that even the most robustly built nuclear power plants are susceptible to completely unforeseen elements, including human errors.
Japan’s tragedy must be honoured genuinely. Countries like Pakistan should meet their energy needs from the abundantly available renewable resources rather than fall for flashy but life-threatening technologies of mass destruction. Economists need to rethink their obsession with high energy-high growth - in the blink of an eye all social progress is eliminated.
Pakistan’s own nuclear power plants are situated in risky geographical locations. The aged Karachi nuclear power plant on the coast is as much susceptible to the catastrophic effects of a tsunami from the Arabian Sea as the Japanese reactors were, with much more serious consequences than in Japan because of the proximity of dense population. It’s not just that the poor of Karachi will be wiped out, but the entire city will be contaminated from the coastal winds blowing inland. Hyderabad and Thatta will not be spared either.
The two reactors in Chashma are known to be sitting on top of a number of criss-crossing tectonic plates. An earthquake of modest intensity originating from its vicinity can easily lead to several subsystems of the reactors failing to work, leading to catastrophic consequences. It has been estimated that a Chernobyl-like accident at the two reactors will adversely impact human health, food chain and water tables over a vast inhabited area of Punjab, extending to other provinces and even to neighbouring countries. All crops, livestock and even fisheries will be poisoned for hundreds of years.
We demand the dismantling of all nuclear reactors everywhere. International donors do no favour in extending aid for nuclear energy either. Grateful as Pakistan is to Chinese aid, we believe that additional reactors must not be built.
Armed forces of India and Pakistan have become a threat to all South Asia with their nuclear weapons. Dismantling reactors is a necessary step to eliminating threats of mass destruction.
PPC believes that if predatory elites reduce over-consumption of energy and development maximise labour use, there is no hurdle to affordable, ecologically sustainable, solar energy for life and livelihoods of the peoples of South Asia.