The crippling of a number of nuclear facilities in Japan as a result of the mega-earthquake and subsequent tsunami should be an eye-opener for those who still advocate the use of nuclear energy.
Carmel Cacopardo AD Spokesman on Sustainable Development and Local Government stated that on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, (which occurred on the 26th April 1986) the myths on the safety of nuclear energy have been shattered once and for all.
As a result of the Japanese nuclear crisis and in particular after various explosions in the Fukushima nuclear power station various European governments have decided to revise their use of nuclear energy. In Germany as a result of the continuous campaigning of the Greens German Chancellor Angel Merkel has decided to re-examine plans to extend the life of Germany’s 17 existing nuclear power stations and announced the temporary closure of its two oldest ones. Switzerland has likewise announced putting on hold plans its plans for new nuclear power stations whilst Austrian Minister for the Environment has called for checks on the safety of nuclear facilities.
In the light of the above Carmel Cacopardo added that “it is very fortunate that the agreement between Nicolas Sarkozy on behalf of the French Republic and Colonel Gaddafi on the supply by France to Libya of nuclear technology to be used for the desalinisation of water along Libya’s Mediterranean coast has not to date materialised. In the ongoing civil war in Libya access to and misuse of nuclear material would be an added worry.”
Prof. Arnold Cassola, AD Spokesperson on EU and International Affairs, stated; “The Maltese Government should take note of the statement of Italian Minister Romani who has affirmed that, despite the catastrophe in Japan, Italy will not go back on its nuclear programme. The Maltese Government should take the necessary steps at EU level to ensure that the Berlusconi government through its construction of a nuclear facility in Sicily does not put the safety of all the people living in the central Mediterranean region at risk.” .”
Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: ‘The Japanese tragedy confirms that we are living in a global society of man-made risks, as is the case with nuclear energy. Such energy might solve short and medium term problems related to demand for energy, but is ultimately unsustainable because of the dangers it presents, and because global supply of uranium – its basic raw material, is limited., while the long term storage of the highly radioactive nuclear waste remains a major source of concern . Global subsidies towards nuclear energy should be progressively diverted towards clean alternative energy such as solar and wind energy. Such energy has unlimited supply, is totally safe and does not contribute towards climate change’.