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Condemn Not Just North Korea; Deal with Global Nuclear Hypocrisy

WKOG Editor: One must note that while the international community is busy condemning both North Korea and Iran, the US corporation Westinghouse, in full collaboration & conspiratorial alliance with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, is going ahead with a massive nuclear power ‘park’ consisting of 6 units of 1000 MW – against a massive local resistance. Westinghouse continues to bulldoze popular resistance in order to thrust their dangerous reactors on millions of unwilling people, while Indian grassroots activists remain committed to stop the new reactors.

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Introduction written by grassroots activist Soumya Dutta:

“The following piece is by Dr S P Udaykumar, the inspirational leader of one of the largest ongoing peoples movement against a large and dangerous, untested Russian supplied NPP (2 X 1000 MW), where fuel-loading is about to be started – in the southern tip of India – in Kudankulam, Tamilnadu state.  Here, the Indian & TamilNadu governments unleashed a reign of terror in the latter part of 2012, with a large police force arresting and brutally beating hundreds of protesting villagers – including women and children. They charged over 6,000 protesters with sedition and stopped milk (for children) and water from entering the coastal villages (blockade lifted now). They also deliberately destroyed fisher people’s boats and outboard motors (and household possessions), prevented the sick and pregnant from seeking medical help outside the villages. Tens of thousands of villagers have been charged with various fabricated crime charges including waging war against the state.  And yet, the vibrant grassroots movement has not only continued to resist this naked aggression of State-Big capital nexus, but also continued to raise very pertinent questions on the larger questions of energy equity, democracy, corporatisation of governance etc. Udaykumar is also the co-convenor of PMANE and convenor of the National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM) in India, of which we are active members and organizers.

 

In light of the large-scale corporate-government push – in some countries like India, China, Philippines, ……..for large nuclear (fission) based energy programmes, taking the (un-substantiated) logic of nuclear energy being carbon-emission free (which it is not), and the  support it has received from a section of climate scientists (including genuinely good people like Hansen & Lovelock) and environmental journalists (like Monbiot), it is pertinent to look at the wide-spread hypocrisy around this issue. It has to be kept in mind, that for many countries, the energy & weapons programmes are complementary to each other, and globally, the nuclear industry is one of the most secretive, most exploitative (look at nuclear plant workers’ conditions – even in ‘advanced’ France, not to mention the horrible situations in India and China where casual workers are pushed to the most dangerous tasks), and surely after Chernobyl & Fukushima — one of the most dangerous for humanity (and even without ‘accidents’).

 

As we all understand, the nuclear weapons sector is the ‘crown jewel’ of the war industry (let’s stop calling this the “Defence industry”), which is responsible for over one-third of global emissions,  and thus – is something central to addressing the crisis of climate change. When we raise our voices in support of some ‘developing countries’, sing praises about their little (and often token) actions of a modest carbon-tax / energy efficiency/ self-righteous carbon-space demand etc, we must not forget that these same countries are some of the biggest drivers of the global war industry, just behind (and in league with) the big powers (again – we sing their praise for the little lollypops they dangle — Obama is ohh so nice as not to ignore appeals against K-XL, as if he is questioning the basic logic of industrial capitalism  or the military-industrial interests!). A fair number of ‘climate justice activists’ – caught in the scents emanating from the corridors of power – also seem to be contented with ‘tracking negotiations’, being part of their government and United Nations (UN) meetings being a self-fulfilling activity (as if the UN is a fountain head of justice), with the ordinary people in our own countries not being taken into the loop anyway. Hopefully, many have now understood this and are questioning.

Lanka News, India

February 13, 2013

by Dr S P Udaykumar

North Korea has just announced that it has conducted a successful third underground nuclear test, and the world powers are all condemning the act unanimously. According to their reasoning, North Korea, Iran and a few other “rogue” countries they do not like cannot and should not develop nuclear energy or produce nuclear weapons.

But they themselves can do both. The United States, Russia, Britain and France can arm themselves to their teeth with thousands of nuclear bombs and all kinds of treacherous missiles. And, of course, we have nothing to worry about it as they are all White and straight. China, India, Pakistan and Israel are all encouraged to build more nuclear power plants and produce more nuclear bombs as these activities fetch more nuclear deals, more nuclear business and more billions of dollars to the big brothers’ nuclear industries and other MNCs. As an added advantage, this nuclearization entrenches the imperial powers’ world hegemony and neutralizes the growing economic and military strength of the “emerging” regional powers.

The U.S. disarmament ambassador Laura Kennedy has said at a Geneva disarmament forum: “I find it just an incredible contrast that while millions of people are celebrating the Spring Festival, a time which should be a time to celebrate peace and prosperity, that North Korea celebrates it by a third nuclear weapons test.” This rule does not apply to the United States, however. They can invade any country anytime anyhow and do whatever they want whenever they want and wherever they want. If you wonder what moral authority and political legitimacy the United States government has to talk about nuclear armament and proliferation, you would be branded as a dangerous terrorist.

This rule does not apply to the United States, however. They can invade any country anytime anyhow and do whatever they want whenever they want and wherever they want. If you wonder what moral authority and political legitimacy the United States government has to talk about nuclear armament and proliferation, you would be branded as a dangerous terrorist.

The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the test as “a clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions”. This Secretary General himself has been accused of not convening the Security Council in the wake of the Sri Lankan genocide against the Tamils and actually assisting in the genocide and related war crimes. Just as the UN has become pro-governments and anti-people thanks to Ban Ki-moon and company, several UN agencies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have become redundant and useless for the international community.

The South Korean disarmament ambassador Kwon Haeryong has said that North Korea was the “only country which has demonstrated blatant disregard by conducting nuclear tests” since a 1996 global treaty banning them was negotiated at the disarmament forum. He has conveniently forgotten that India and Pakistan conducted tests in 1998. Is it because South Korea has signed a nuclear business deal with India?

Similarly, the Japanese officials have said that they would deploy military jets to survey the radiation levels following the North Korean test and consider imposing “unilateral sanctions” on Pyongyang. But they themselves would hide so much vital facts and information about Fukushima and other nuclear installations from their own citizens and the international community. It is strange that they are more worried about the North Korean radiation when they have enough nuclear skeletons in their electricity closets.

The nuclear proliferation and the missile programs around the world are getting out of hand and the global nuclear hypocrisy is endangering the Earth and life on it very badly. It is high time we, the peoples of the United Nations, convened an international conference of the citizens of the Earth, and decided to abandon Uranium mining, phase out nuclear power, intensify non-proliferation efforts and begin a serious initiative on abolishing nuclear weapons all together in a time-bound manner. There cannot and should not be different types of justice for small and weak countries and the bigger and powerful countries. Let us get rid of everything nuclear from the face of the Earth! Here and Now!

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

Idinthakarai 627 104

Tirunelveli District

Tamil Nadu, India

 

Notes:

[1] These waste pools must be cooled with hundreds of thousands of gallons of constantly circulating water, and many plants have inadequate or nonexistent backup cooling systems in case of power loss. In the U.S. and around the world, the waste pools are under-protected, over-filled, and vulnerable to earthquakes, storms, malfeasance, and human error. In 1997 the Brookhaven National Laboratory estimated that a calamity at just one of these waste pools in the U.S. could cause 138,000 American deaths (more than the number of Japanese who died in the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima), and contaminate 2,000 square miles of our land.

Currently, the waste pool in Reactor Unit 4 at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi plant is at risk for collapse. The building is unstable, and the cracked and leaking pool contains 262 tons of ultra-radioactive uranium/plutonium waste. For months, Fukushima has been experiencing numerous earthquakes from magnitude 4.1 to 6.2, sometimes several per day. If a magnitude 7 earthquake were to occur, causing the Unit 4 waste pool to rupture and drain, the resulting meltdown and fires could release ten times more airborne radioactive material than was released by the Chernobyl disaster. At that point humans could no longer enter or operate the facility, potentially leading to a chain reaction of meltdown events at Fukushima’s five other units, releasing 85 times as much radiation as the Chernobyl disaster.

The United States lies downwind of Fukushima, only a few days across the Pacific via the jet stream. The jet stream would carry radioactive material into the interior of the United States, eventually circling the globe and reaching the entire northern hemisphere within weeks or months. The amount of radiation released “would destroy the world environment and our civilization,” according to Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy.