photo: Wangari Maathai, Kenya (2004) Photo credit: e pants via Flickr/ Creative Commons
by Daniel Kessler, Oakland, CA
On the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster, nine Nobel Peace laureates have written world leaders to tell them that nuclear energy is not the answer to our energy problems. Betty Williams, Ireland (1976), Mairead Maguire, Ireland (1976), Wangari Maathai, Kenya (2004), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (1984) and others say that nuclear energy is too dangerous and that the world needs to prioritize renewable energy.
"On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine--and more than two months after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan--we the undersigned Nobel Peace Laureates ask you to invest in a safer and more peaceful future by committing to renewable energy sources. It is time to recognize that nuclear power is not a clean, safe or affordable source of energy.
We are deeply disturbed that the lives of people in Japan are being endangered by nuclear radiation in the air, in the water and in the food as a result of the breakdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant. We firmly believe that if the world phases out its current use of nuclear power, future generations of people everywhere--and the Japanese people who have already suffered too much--will live in greater peace and security."
No, President Obama, former winner of the Prize, did not sign on. He is still a staunch advocate for nuclear power despite the fact that no new plant has been built in the US for over 4 decades and that UBS recently estimated that new nuclear power will have a capital cost of $5,000 per kilowatt generated.
The full list of signatories is:
...Betty Williams, Ireland (1976)
...Mairead Maguire, Ireland (1976)
...Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemala (1992)
...Jody Williams, USA (1997)
...Shirin Ebadi, Iran (2003)
...Wangari Maathai, Kenya (2004)
...Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa (1984)
...Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentina (1980)
...President Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor (1996)
The full letter can be read here.