WILPF statement on Japan's nuclear crisis

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) grieves for the loss of life and devastation in Japan. WILPF women from all over the world express support and solidarity to our WILPF sisters and the people of Japan. We are deeply concerned for those missing, wounded and traumatized people who face risk of disease and aftershocks.

As radiation releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility have daily increased, so too has our profound concern for future generations. Radiation is long lasting and has inter-generational effects, as the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki know only too well. It is a terrible tragedy that the very nation that sustained and survived an attack with nuclear weapons is today sustaining radiation exposure and contamination. Recently a statement was made by a group of Hibakusha—A-Bomb Survivors from Japan who have been appointed by the Japanese Prime Minister as “Special Communicators”. They asserted that radiation, whatever its source, is a major threat to humanity and the environment and called for phasing out all sources of radiation—from uranium mining, nuclear reactors, nuclear accidents, nuclear weapons development and testing, and nuclear waste—and for investment in renewable, clean energy for a sustainable future. WILPF endorses this call.

Because it has always been the most expensive and most dangerous way to boil water to turn a turbine, because the potential for catastrophe inherent in nuclear energy has always been apparent, WILPF has always opposed nuclear energy. The devastating situation in Japan should not have been necessary to wake people and governments up to the truth about radiation and the truth about the dangers inherent in nuclear energy.

We must also face the economic truth. Nuclear power is not cheap. The nuclear industry has received enormous government subsidies—paid for by the taxpayer—for underwriting of construction, liability caps and insurance for clean up and health costs. By providing massive direct and indirect public funding, the nuclear industry has taken what could have been invested in renewable and clean energy. The value of uranium stocks has plummeted by more than 1.5 billion USD in response to Fukushima. Anti-nuclear rallies have erupted in Germany and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to inspect the country’s reactors and hold a special nuclear summit with other European leaders. In the United States, senators have called for a moratorium on the construction and licensing of new nuclear power facilities. The EU energy chief Günther Oettinger has said that Europe should consider whether it can meet its energy needs without nuclear power. In fact the whole world must meet its energy needs without nuclear.

WILPF urges all governments to cease plans to construct new nuclear power reactors; to stop mining uranium; to phase-out nuclear power in their energy mixes; and to refrain from promoting nuclear power as a means to combat climate change. Governments should accelerate and enlarge their support for the development of renewable and non-carbon emitting sources of energy and for energy conservation. They should join the International Renewable Energy Agency to work towards a rapid transition to the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy worldwide.

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