The interfaith community of California has issued a resolution against our federal government permitting the building of any new land-based nuclear power plants. So has Quaker EarthLight Witness (QEW), the national Quaker environmental organization. Have interfaith groups in other parts of the country spoken out? If so, how?—Anthony Manousos.
Date: April 16, 2011
The following statement is endorsed by Orange County Interfaith Coalition on the Environmental, Environmental Ministries of Southern California, California Council of Churches and the Southern California Ecumenical Council.
The Bible is clear that we are not to pollute our neighborhoods, the planet and humanity. We are to be good stewards of all Creation (Genesis 2:15, Isaiah 24: 5-13, 17-20, Hosea 4:1-6, Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 22:36-40, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5).
Many steps in the nuclear power production process that includes mining, milling, fuel fabrication, and building of land-based nuclear power plants, the generation of nuclear power and their radioactive and plutonium byproducts have been shown to pollute and be unhealthy for God’s Good Creation.
TheU.S.based nuclear power industry cannot purchase any insurance on the open market to insure their nuclear facilities from the disastrous effects of radioactive pollution. The U.S. Government must underwrite the industry’s liability. This federal insurance coverage could not begin to pay for the costly major nuclear power disaster.
The recent nuclear power accident inJapansadly points out that no land-based nuclear power structure can withstand the unexpected forces of nature, let alone engineering design mistakes, overlooked maintenance and safety issues, and/or human/computer operator error.
Most currently operating land-based nuclear power plants are located on/near earthquake fault lines or in the potential path of future tsunamis, tornados, and/or hurricanes. Current facilities have not been designed to with stand unanticipated natural catastrophes. Appropriately retrofitting and fully insuring for damages of these nuclear power facilities would be too costly to undertake.
It is our resolve that:
Southern CaliforniaEcumenical Council along with other congregationsà of faith opposes the building of any new land-based nuclear power facilities.
We urge the closing of currently operating land-based nuclear powerà plants.
We ask that copies of this resolution be sent to other congregations ofà faith across theUnited States, to the California Public Utilities Commission, to members of the U.S. Congress, and to the President of theUnited States.
The Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) also issued a statement regarding nuclear power that is powerful and eloquent:
QEW Minute on Nuclear Fission, in Response to the Disaster in Japan, April 9, 2011
We are horrified and saddened by the staggering physical, human, and environmental damage that has been suffered byJapanfollowing recent major earthquakes and a major tsunami. We are deeply concerned about ongoing radioactive releases—-with potentially severe global impact—-from six heavily damaged nuclear fission reactors.
The damage has exposed the vulnerability of many older plants likeJapan’sFukushimaDai-ichi nuclear complex to disruption of vital cooling systems and breaching of containment structures. We join others in calling for the orderly shutdown of all nuclear plants of any age that, due to design flaws, careless site selection, and inadequate means for preventing and responding to such emergencies, pose unacceptable risks to the public, to the non-human environment, and to future generations. We also oppose relicensing of facilities that are nearing the end of the period for which they were designed to operate safely.
We oppose as well the construction of new nuclear power plants, both inJapanand around the globe, for a host of practical and economic reasons that are commonly brought up in debates about fission-powered generation and the nuclear waste-disposal dilemma and which have been well documented in independent publications and web sites.
We call attention to a number of scientific studies that dispute the claim that fission-powered plants are “carbon-free” and therefore can play a significant role in controlling climate change, as well as the claim that radioactive releases during routine activities of the nuclear industry do not pose significant health or environmental risks.
We also respond to the nuclear crisis inJapanin terms of the values that we find to be essential to a peaceful, just, and ecologically sustainable world. Fission-powered electricity, along with industrial agriculture and genetic engineering, emerge from a narrow, human-centered technological worldview rather than a proper understanding of ecological principles. These profit-driven enterprises are relics of Cold War-era thinking, which favors large-scale, centrally controlled systems. These tend to concentrate power and wealth at the expense of democratic values, community well-being, economic justice, ecological balance, and personal freedom.
Proponents of nuclear fission and other advanced technological systems typically cite pressures to keep up with ever-expanding consumption and population growth. They do not acknowledge that on a finite planet, growth inevitably comes to an end, often tragically, and that the current economic model is based on endless growth. They tend to underestimate human fallibility and the limitations inherent in the laws of nature, including the law of unintended consequences.
We encourage governments and nonprofit organizations to give priority to public education about the greenhouse gas emissions and radiation hazards associated with the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
We urge Friends to reduce their personal consumption of electricity that comes from nuclear fission and fossil fuels and to obtain the electricity that they do use from truly renewable sources as much as possible.
We urge all concerned citizens, including Friends around the world, to work individually and collectively with legislators and lobbying groups to encourage the development of appropriately scaled renewable energy systems and to eliminate subsidies for nuclear fission, coal, oil, natural gas, and other industries that are environmentally disruptive and ecologically unsustainable.