Joint Statement on the Japanese Nuclear Disaster
Hamburg, Stockholm, 29 March 2011
We extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Japan who have experienced a devastating earthquake and tsunami followed by severe damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. We commend the brave individuals who are risking their lives to prevent the escape of massive amounts of radiation from the damaged nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi.
The disaster in Japan has demonstrated once again the limits of human capability to keep dangerous technologies free from accidents with catastrophic results. Natural disasters combined with human error have proven a potent force for undermining even the best laid plans. Reliance on human perfection reflects a hubris that has led to other major failures of dangerous technologies in the past, and will do so in the future. What has occurred as a result of the confluence of natural disaster and human error in Japan could also be triggered purposefully by means of terrorism or acts of war.
In addition to accidental or purposeful destruction, nuclear power plants pose other threats to humanity and to the human future. The large amounts of radioactive wastes that are created by nuclear power generation will remain highly toxic for many times longer than human civilization has existed, and there is currently no long-term solution to dealing with the threats these radioactive wastes pose to the environment and human health. Further, nuclear power plants, with their large societal subsidies, have diverted financial and human resources from the development of safe and reliable forms of renewable energy.
Nuclear power programs use and create fissile materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons, and thus provide a proven pathway to nuclear weapons proliferation. Several countries have already used civilian nuclear programs to provide the fissile materials to make nuclear weapons. Other countries, particularly those with plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities, could easily follow suit if they decided to do so. The spread of nuclear power plants will not only make the world more dangerous, but will make more difficult, if not impossible, the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world.
Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges. There is no solution of problems by creating more problems. Nuclear power doesn’t add up economically, environmentally or socially. Of all the energy options, nuclear is the most capital intensive to establish, decommissioning is prohibitively expensive and the financial burden continues long after the plant is closed.
The tragedy in Japan has raised global awareness of the extreme dangers that can result from nuclear power generation. Grave as these dangers are, however, they are not as great as those arising from the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons – weapons that have the capacity to destroy civilization and end most life on the planet.
The conclusion we draw from the nuclear power plant accident in Japan is that the human community, acting for itself and as trustees for future generations, must exercise a far higher level of care globally in dealing with technologies capable of causing mass annihilation, and should phase out, abolish and replace such technologies with alternatives that do not threaten present and future generations. This applies to nuclear weapons as well as to nuclear power reactors.
Dr. h.c. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Member of the World Future Council, Founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) and China Africa Bridge, Nigeria
Dr. Martín Almada, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2002, Founder of the Fundación Celestina Perez de Almada, Paraguay
Marianne Andersson, Member of the Board and the Jury of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, former Member of the Swedish Parliament
Dr. h.c. Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, Member of the World Future Council and National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Canada
Dr. h.c. Maude Barlow, Member of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2005, First Senior Advisor to the UN on water issues and Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
Dipal Chandra Barua, Member of the World Future Council, Co-founder of the Grameen Bank, Former Managing Director of the Grameen Shakti, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2007, Founder and Chairman of the Bright Green Energy Foundation, Bangladesh
Nnimmo Bassey, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2010, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, Nigeria
Dr. Tony Clarke, Right Livelihood Laureate 2005, Founder and Director of the Polaris Institute, Canada
Dr. h.c. Riane Eisler, Member of the World Future Council and President of the Centre for Partnership Studies, USA
Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Member of the World Future Council, Founder of the Oxford Research Group and Peace Direct, Director of Programmes for the World Peace Partnership, UK
Prof. Dr. h.c. Anwar Fazal, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1982, Director of the Right Livelihood College, Malaysia
Dr. h.c. Irene Fernandez, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2005, Director of Tenaganita, Malaysia
Dr. Juan E. Garcés, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1999, lawyer, former personal adviser to Salvador Allende and former adviser to the Director General of UNESCO, Spain
Prof. Dr. Martin A. Green, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2002, Executive Research Director of the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence, School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia
Monika Griefahn, Co-Chair and Jury Member of the Right Livelihood Award, Member of the Board of Advisors of the World Future Council, Co-Founder of Greenpeace Germany, former Member of the German Parliament and former Minister of Environmental Affairs in Lower Saxony
Cyd Ho, Member of the World Future Council and Member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council
SM Mohamed Idris, Founder and President of Sahabat Alam Malaysia,
Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1988, Founder and President of the Consumers’ Association of Penang
Dr. Ashok Khosla, Member of the World Future Council, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Chairman of the Centre for Development Alternatives and Co-President of the Club of Rome, India
Dr. h.c. Dom Erwin Kräutler, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2010, Bishop of Xingu, President of the Indigenous Missionary Council of the Catholic Church in Brazil
Dr. David Krieger, Member of the World Future Council and Co-Founder and President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, USA
Dr. med. Katarina Kruhonja, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1998, Founder and Director of the Centre for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights, Croatia
Dr. Ida Kuklina, Member of the Union of Soldiers Mothers Committees of Russia Coordination Council, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1996, Member of the Council of RF President for Development Civic Society and Human Rights
Prof. Dr. Alexander Likhotal, Member of the World Future Council and President of Green Cross International, Russia
Dr. Rama Mani, Member of the World Future Council, Senior Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford, and Director of the Global Project Responsibility to Protect: Southern Cultural Perspectives, France
Prof. Dr. h.c. Manfred Max-Neef, Member of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1983, Director of the Economics Institute, Universidad Austral de Chile
Prof. Dr. Wangari Maathai, Member of the World Future Council, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1984 and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2004, Founder of the Green Belt Movement, Kenya
Ledum Mitee, President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1994, Nigeria
Prof. Dr. Raúl A. Montenegro, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2004, Professor at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina, and President of the Environment Defense Foundation FUNAM
Dr. h.c. Frances Moore Lappé, Member of the World Future Council, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1987 and Founder of the Small Planet Institute, USA
Helena Norberg-Hodge, Director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture and Initiator of Ladakh Ecological Development Group, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1986, UK
Dr. Katiana Orluc, Member of the World Future Council, Historian, Middle East expert and Visiting Professor at Harvard University, Austria
Juan Pablo Orrego, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1998, President of the Grupo de Acción por el Biobío (GABB), Chile
Nicanor Perlas, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2003, Co-Founder and President of the Center for Alternative Development Initiatives, Philippines
Dr. Vithal Rajan, Member of the World Future Council and of the Jury of the Right Livelihood Award, Vice-President of Oxfam India and Chairman of the Confederation of Voluntary Associations, India
Dr. h.c. Fernando Rendón, Gabriel Jaime Franco and Gloria Chvatal of the International Poetry Festival of Medellín, Right Livelihood Award 2006, Colombia
Joao Pedro Stedile, President of Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1991, Brazil
Prof. Dr. h.c. Vandana Shiva, Member of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1993, Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology and the NAVDANYA network, India
Prof. Dr. h.c. David Suzuki, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2010 and Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada
Prof. Dr. Hannumappa R. Sudarshan, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1994, Karuna Trust & Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK), India
Pauline Tangiora, Member of the World Future Council and Maori elder of the Rongomaiwahine Tribe, New Zealand
John F. Charlewood Turner, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1988, UK
Alice Tepper Marlin, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1990 and President of Social Accountability International, USA
Vesna Teršelič, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1998, Founder of Anti-War Campaign of Croatia and Director of DOCUMENTA, Croatia
Shrikrishna Upadhyay, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2010 and Chairman of SAPPROS, Nepal
Alyn Ware, Member of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2009, Founder and international coordinator of the Network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), New Zealand
Prof. em. Dr. h.c. Christopher G. Weeramantry, Member of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2007, former Judge and Vice-President of the International Court of Justice; Founder, Trustee and Chairman of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) and President of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), Sri Lanka
Francisco Whitaker Ferreira, Member of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2006, Co-Founder of the World Social Forum, Brazil
Alla Yaroshinskaya, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1992, Journalist and former Adviser to the Russian President, former Member of Russian delegations to the United Nations for negotiating an extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2001, UK
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