- Category: Opinions/Interviews
- Published on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 10:29
- Written by Daily Sun
- Hits: 1447
The earthquake and tsunami which recently tore through Japan, killing an estimated 10,000 people and destroying property valued at billions of Japanese Yen, have elicited worldwide concern over the magnitude of the humanitarian tragedy, and the grave danger of radiation leaks from exploded nuclear plants.
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake is one of a series of natural disasters around the world, which include the devastating quake in Haiti and the hurricane in America , that left grave destructions in their wake. Some parts of the world, sadly, are situated in areas with serious seismic activities, and there is very little that can be done at this time, science wise, to prevent such natural disasters. The best the world can do is to improve warning equipment and response to alerts on impending quakes, to reduce devastation. The earthquake in Japan has again brought up the issue of man versus nature.
The truth is that man cannot ride roughshod over nature and expect equilibrium. Seismic activities that appear to be gathering momentum in recent years may not be unrelated to human activities such as construction of gargantuan mega structures, reclaiming of oceans and the ubiquitous global warming. Earthquakes are natural occurrences but we cannot totally exculpate abuse of nature. The construction of mega nuclear plants in some countries is one clear example of man fiddling with nature.
The development in Japan has clearly shown that activists involved in the campaign against nuclear power may, indeed, have a point. What the incident has taught the world is that no matter the safety measures that are put in place to protect nuclear plants, no one can predict the effect of natural disasters on the facilities. An earthquake can unleash tragedy of immeasurable proportion on the world through radiation from damaged plants.
Unfortunately, radiation lasts for thousands of years. Sites and environs of damaged nuclear plants will remain dangerous for years, unless technology provides new ways of neutralizing effects of radiation. Radiation leakage may not be limited to any country, as it could be dispersed through the air and ground water. Its effects may be seen in form of deformities in babies that will be born to people exposed to it, many years from now.
The evidence that earthquakes can compromise safety of nuclear reactor plants even in technologically advanced countries which have taken all necessary precautions should teach the world to tread safely in the quest for nuclear power. All the effects of the leaking radiation in Japan may not even have been made public. Countries that are therefore strongly enamoured of nuclear technology, including Nigeria, which was once reported to be considering use of nuclear energy as a source of electricity, should have a re-think and go for safer technologies to achieve whatever they require. The world should not consider the use of nuclear energy for anything at all. Let scientists re-appraise the value of the technology which is a known mass killer. Nigeria, in particular, is far from being ready to use nuclear power for anything.
We commiserate with the Japanese, especially those who lost loved ones and property during this most distressing occurrence. We sympathise with, and encourage the government, to forge ahead with efforts to manage the distressing situation. Let the world strive to live in harmony with nature. Although nuclear energy is touted as a cheap source of power, the fact that it is prone to human error, and now, natural disasters, does not recommend it for seamless use. Consequences of radiation from nuclear plants are just too grave. There should be worldwide effort to wind down nuclear activities, if, indeed, world leaders care about the future of the earth.
We urge all countries to demonstrate sympathy by generously contributing to efforts to ameliorate the difficult situation in Japan. This is a really humbling experience for the country and for humanity. All hands should be on deck to bring succour to the affected areas. We have all seen the effect of an earthquake on nuclear reactors. Let world leaders learn a lesson from this incident. There should be greater care and concern over investment in nuclear technology.