Former Leaders During Nuclear Meltdowns Now Oppose Nuclear Power
Former Soviet Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, who led the then USSR during the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine; and Naoto Kan who was prime minister of Japan when the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began, both now travel the speakers’ circuit extolling the need to abolish nuclear power.
Kan, now 69, who resigned the premiership in August 2011, has become a ubiquitous and compelling voice for the global anti-nuclear movement. Gorbachev is equally on board but, due to age and infirmity (he turns 85 on March 2nd) is less often in evidence.
Kan made his case in January during a presentation at the UK’s House of Commons co-organized by Nuclear Free Local Authorities, Green Cross International (the group Gorbachev founded) and Nuclear Consulting Group. Gorbachev was scheduled but had to cancel.
Kan compared the potential worst-case devastation that could be caused by a nuclear power plant meltdown as tantamount only to “a great world war. Nothing else has the same impact.”
Eighty-Seven US Senators Blithely Voted for More Spending on Nuclear Energy
Renouncing nuclear, then, is the ultimate act of patriotism. Love of country (or “cournty” as the typo-loving Ted Cruz campaign would say) should mean making decisions that protect it, not letting it turn into a radioactive wasteland.
Which makes it so hard to understand why any US political leader on the Left or Right – but especially those Freedom Fries-loving, jingoistic wall-building, Make-America-Great-Again saber rattlers – would continue to support, promote and secure funds for an industry that could kill tens of thousands of people and exile even more.
The argument that it can’t or won’t happen in the US was undermined by Chernobyl, then obliterated by Fukushima.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a true independent currently running for president on the Democratic ticket, was on top of that reality early. In a March 2012 Senate hearing on Fukushima he reminded us that, “with nuclear power, 99.9% safe is not good enough.”Sanders had reason to be alarmed as the then still functioning but now closed Vermont Yankee reactor in his state is the same design as those at Fukushima.
Nevertheless, the Republican Party, and a shamefully large swath of Democrats as well, voted lockstep in the Senate on January 28 for the Nuclear Innovation Capabilities Act, an amendment shoe-horned into the massive Senate Energy Policy Modernization Act still under discussion.
Read more at Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan: “If You Love Your Country, Let Nuclear Go!”