To Nuke or no to Nuke – Say What?
by Gary Simons
To nuke, or not to nuke. What sort of a question is that!
So the South African nuclear deal as it was until now is unlawful, according to the judgment handed down by the Western Cape High Court at the end of April. Read more here
That means, effectively, that those for the nuclear deal would have to begin the process of procurement again. Herein lies the problem. Although this is an immediate, and very significant victory, spearheaded by the tenacious work of Earthlife Africa and SAFCEI, it does not mean that those pro-nuclear in government, and their allies who stand to benefit enormously from such a deal, are not already furiously drawing! No doubt so are the likes of Earthlife Africa and SAFCEI.
The question both are asking is, “how do we get nuclear permanently”. The difference is directional. For those pro-nuclear and getting sickeningly wealthy, the question is how they get nuclear power permanently in place. For those opposed, the question is, “how do we get nuclear permanently off our future agenda”.
Whether we like it or not, the winners of this one will be those that can get the majority of people understanding their particular perspective. Who will ‘educate’ the masses the best. Whose arguments will make most sense to the majority, and will those arguments inspire a passion among voters. For, if political parties and politicians know they will lose significant support from going pro-nuclear, they will be forced to rethink the agenda not just on nuclear power, but on renewable, planet-friendly alternatives for power generation and supply.
OK, so the skeptics amongst us think that those for nuclear power will eventually get their way. No doubt they’ll try, and try hard. However, we must take heart from the latest ruling on the nuclear deals. It has given us a window of time in which there is much education to be done on why we don’t need nuclear. My challenge is to those of us not directly involved in organizations such as EarthLife Africa and SAFCEI. We need momentum, and we need it fast. Here are a few suggestions to kick start your own journey of understanding and action.
- Get the facts and get them straight. One loses face when, for example, we argue that we don’t want nuclear because we might have a Chernobyl on our hands. Know your old nuclear technology from your new Pebble Bed Reactor technology. We need to argue about the dangers of the new, not the old, because it won’t be used. But frankly that’s not the only point we should be arguing. We need to argue from a different space. From a values space, from an economic space (for a new nuclear build would make us as a debtor for a very, very, long time to someone else), from a space which thinks long-term about the disposal of nuclear waste issues, and whether we actually need nuclear at all in the first place.
- In relation to the above, get in touch with reputable organizations working in this space. Ask them for info, and then, disseminate amongst your friends, colleagues, family, etc. We need to get the nation talking and understanding what’s at stake.
- Support these organizations with your time and money where possible. They work tirelessly and passionately for the anti-nuclear cause. And, often not just that, but for the cause of alternative renewable energy as well.
- Engage your ward councilors, political party representatives, on this issue. A large, active, anti-nuclear citizenry will have a significant impact on changing the direction of the debate. Hopefully to the point where it’s a no=-brainer as to which direction is sustainable for us, our children and our children’s children.
In conclusion a sobering thought, and, a future dream to bring into realisation.
“If I was asked to name the most important date in history and pre-history of the human race, I would answer without hesitation, 6th August 1945. The reason is simple. From the dawn of consciousness until the 6th August 1945, man had to live with the prospect of his death as an individual; since the day when the first atomic bomb outshone the sun over Hiroshima, mankind as a whole has had to live with the prospect of its extinction as a species.” Arthur Koestler; in “Janus – a Summing Up”; p1.
That prospect is still with us through today’s war machines and their wagging of nuclear missiles at each other. Can we dream of a future where that is no longer the case? Not just from a war perspective, but from a clean energy perspective. It’ll mean a shift in personal and political values for sure. A shift from an arms race, and monetary greed and power race, to the preservation of the human race. Answer the questions for yourself. Then, go forth and educate!