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Why I am against nuclear energy?

April 19, 2011

For a while now I have thought about this topic and wondered if I should write something or not. Finally I decided that I have to write something, because I think this is a way too important of a topic and also because of the terrible things that are  just happening in Japan. Surely a short blog like this would never be enough to cover all arguments or all the science that is involved in this topic, so I’ll skip the scientific part, but I encourage you to read about to form your own opinion. Ask, if you need some literature to start with. Also I have to say, just to avoid misunderstandings that I’m not just against nuclear power (or nuclear weapons) just because of the things that happened in Fukushima, but I hope that after this terrible accident and also in condolence to the many victims, more people will understand how dangerous this technology is and that we have to look for alternatives before it is too late.

So here are the reasons, why I think nuclear energy is not a safe technology:

1. As a Christian I believe that God created the world and gave us humans the responsibility to take care of it. Undoubtedly the most important thing it a life of a Christian is to live it Christ-centered, but for me this also implies that we as Christians should be very careful in how we treat our environment and thus the creation of God. Also for me loving your neighbor as yourself includes all coming generations. By using nuclear power I see a clear conflict with these two points. First nuclear power produces nuclear waste which will contaminate the environment for thousands of years. Until today we haven’t found a way to deal with it nor a safe storage solution. Ultimately I think it is not responsible to leave this waste to the coming generations with the hope that they will find a solution, because we can’t be sure that they ever will find one. The second point is that nuclear power is a technology which is so complex that we haven’t fully understood every small piece of it nor is there a chance to try out safety procedures (more to this point under 2.)   I think it is pure pride which makes us believe that we can control nuclear fission and greed to make as much money as possible with it. We shouldn’t deny that if something goes wrong (and the more we use this technology the more likely it will be that something will go wrong) the results of a Super-GAU (and of nuclear weapons) will cause a lot of suffering, pain and death. Also it will leave huge areas inhabitable for thousands of years and will cause radiation effects, which will effect following generations even when we’re long gone.

These 2 points are the two main ones among several others which led me to the conclusion that as a Christian I can’t speak for the use of nuclear energy as long as there are other ways to produce enough energy for all of us. We’re not there yet, but in only a few years from now we will have the technology to turn off all nuclear power plants worldwide and I believe this should be our goal.

2. As a Game Designer I’m usually involved in the development of complex rule systems and simulation. Surely none of them are as complex as the ones involved in creating nuclear energy or fission, but my daily work taught me some facts which also led to my conclusion to speak against the use of nuclear energy. The most important fact that I learned was that a simulation can only be as good as I understood the system and that it is rarely possible to fully understand a problem and its solution before a first try-out. There always something we haven’t thought about. Unfortunately nuclear energy is not a technology which can be easily tested, because if something goes wrong, we’ve a major problem. So we have to rely on some small scale experiments and theory, which in my mind both doesn’t cover well the complex mechanics and physics involved in nuclear fission. Also a nuclear power plant can’t be shut down easily within minutes. It takes months, even years before the fission fuel is in a relative safe condition after it has been used in a reactor. Almost all major accidents so far happened because something went wrong with the safety procedures or measurements. So as long as we do not have a technology which can completely contain nuclear fission products (and shield all radiation from the environment) even in a situation of a core meltdown, we shouldn’t use this technology, because we can’t control it. Doesn’t it sound stupid to sit on an armed nuclear bomb and hope that nothing will happen?

There are many more facts and arguments which can be discussed, but as I said a blog post isn’t enough to cover all the details and to avoid misunderstandings. Still I hope that this post gave you a little insight why I’m against nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. I also hope that you’ll start to support the movements around the globe, which fight for a nuclear free world and that it helps you to understand why so many people in Germany demonstrate against nuclear power. Please feel free to comment or to ask if you have any questions. I’ll try to answer them as best I can.

I also wrote a story according this topic and you can download either an English version or a German version. Just click on the appropriate link to watch it on issu or click on download to download it.

(First Draft Warning: The following texts have not been edited and are only rough first draft versions)

Midnightsun – English Version

Mitternachtssonne – German Version

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