I watched “Chernobyl Legacy”, a photo essay, on Slate last week and was so disturbed that it took a few days before I could deal with it enough to even send the link to my usual list. Posted on the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, everyone should watch it; everyone should think about the direction our world is headed. Do we want to live and raise our children in a world where this is a continually increasing possibility for all of us? It doesn’t have to be this way. We can and must change the direction.
In Chernobyl where government and industrial corruption were the root causes of the poor construction, maintenance and operation of the nuclear plant that had the accident, the people will live with this for thousands of years. The length of time for which we have a recorded (written) history of our existence on the Earth would be only the first chapter in the book. We are all facing the possibility of this happening in our very own back yards. The next time it happens, however, may again be the result of a plant malfunction, it may come as a terrorist attack or it may be some government’s decision to use a tactical nuclear strike. In our world today either of the last two will probably result in retaliatory action which would also be nuclear in nature. Can you see it in your mind? Can you see how quickly we can destroy the world? One man’s decision can kill, maim and forever taint this world (as far as we in our current form are concerned).
There’s nothing I can do, you say, I certainly don’t have any nuclear weapons and wouldn’t use them if I did. True, but do you elect people who do and would? Think about it! What kind of people are you voting for? They have records and stated opinions as well as policy, check them out! We have a president in the United States right now that does have access to nuclear weapons and has put people in positions of power who will use them! There are people in the world who don’t care how many people they kill in their attempt to impose one ideology over another. If we create more nuclear venues on which terrorists can wreak havoc in unsecure environments we are simply inching closer and closer to the fire. I realize that engineering and technology have progressed significantly since the Chernobyl incident. Is quality control in every part of the world at all phases of nuclear energy development at a high enough level to prevent another accident? What will your children and grandchildren look like? Will they be able to run, play, think and grow as you envision them or will they look like the children in the photo essay? Are we willing to take that chance? We are the only ones who can make this decision and deal with this problem. There are many questions that we must ask in the process.