Nuclear power threatens everything that all living plants and creatures have struggled for since the miracle of life began, writes Craig Sams.
I had a chat with a Belarusian cabbie while in Tallinn Estonia to give a speech at a marketing conference. He had lived in Estonia for 25 years.
“Why’d you move to Estonia?”
“I worked in the MInistry of Commerce and so had access to confidential government papers. When I saw how bad the radiation contamination from Chernobyl really was I took my family and got the hell out.”
“Are your kids healthy?”
“Yes, thank you, no thyroid cancer or other problems.”
The nuclear industry will never tell you the truth. There were frozen Welsh lambs that were condemned for being too radioactive that had been frozen before Chernobyl blew up. It came from the Windscale (Sellafield) fire in 1957. We’d been eating radionucleides since the 50s in lamb and dairy products and nobody told us. It’s still there. Welsh hill sheep have to come down to less radioactive valley pastures for their final months of grazing to get their radioactivity below the maximum limit.
Imagine if you had some disease where you continuously excreted a toxic substance that would kill any living being. You then collected it and injected it into your mum. That’s what we’re doing to our mother – Earth – so that we can advertise chewing gum all night in London’s Piccadilly Circus.
The electricity that was billed as ‘too cheap to meter’ has turned out to be costing us the Earth. Fukushima isn’t over yet – a huge area of Japan will be uninhabitable for tens of thousands of years. If it had been Dungeness then all of Kent and Sussex would have had to be evacuated. The French have already banned eating or selling fish from the river Rhone because of radioactivity from a nuclear power station near Lyons. Now it’s leaking into the Mediterranean.
Sellafield disposed of 250 tonnes of Plutonium-239 onto the floor of the Irish Sea. Now it’s moving its way up the food chain through microorganisms from shellfish to fish. It’s turning up in farmed salmon. It has a half life of 24,000 years. That means in 24,000 years it will ‘only’ be equivalent to 125 tonnes. In other words, it’s there forever.
Every year we create another 12,000 tonnes of HLW – High Level Waste – stuff that is toxic forever.
What can we do? If I ruled the world (not such a bad idea) I’d:
• Earmark five prer cent of global GDP for energy security. Real energy security.
• Tax fossil fuels at their real cost of £140 tonne of CO2 emitted, starting with the US, where six per cent of the world’s population use 30 per cent of the world’s energy.
• Insulate, insulate, insulate – it saves in air conditioning as well as heating.
• Solar, wind, tidal, geothermal – just spend the money.
• Never burn wood – turn it into biochar and sequester it in the soil.
• Close every nuclear power station and ship the waste to Russia. Then pay the Russians to build 20,000 of their 25 tonne payload rockets. It costs $4000 a kilogram to chuck this deadly crap into space, so the 500,000 tonnes of High Level Waste we now have on the planet would cost a mere $2 trillion to get rid of permanently. What a bargain! The IMF estimates the financial crash cost us $12 trillion and we’re still alive.
Let’s do it now, before the waste is irretrievably buried in underground storage. Sorry if there’s life out there in space, but it’s us or them.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is as evil as nuclear power. Nothing else threatens everything that all living plants and creatures have struggled for since the miracle of life began on this planet. It was always just an excuse to build atom bombs.
If you had the choice: double your electricity bill or die a horrible lingering death watching the skin peel off the faces of your children – what would you choose?
By Craig Sams
Organic food pioneer and polemicist
Craig Sams is Britain’s best known natural food pioneer. He is the founder of Green & Blacks, a former Soil Association chairman and the author of The Little Food Book.