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by Rutagengwa Claude Shema

Regional Coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)


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Assistance, Bi-lateral Cooperation and Humanitarian Interventions


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Nuclear weapons and world safety

-By Dr.Claude Shema-Rutagengwa
GLPN(Great Lakes Peace Network)


The First World War and WWII inspired a number of countries to think about the maximum possible military power to be able to launch battles, defeat and conquer the possible enemy. In doing so, so many countries went far in trying different means, including nuclear weapons.

The nuclear weapons impact assessments made by different nuclear weapons makers focussed mainly on the positive results of the nuclear weapons against the enemy, but unfortunately din’t talk to the public about the danger those weapons hold. In another world, those experts never explaind what could happen in case those “monsters” were used inappropriately or when they would be disturbed by natural catastrophes like earthquakes or any other accident.

The history of any kind of bomb shows that the bomb can explode any time with or without human intention. So, then what would happen in case a nuclear bomb would explode in that way? How many bombs will explode in country in terms of spontaneous explosions? What impact this can cause to the bombs’ owners? And what wold the scenario be in case the so called “enemies of our country” with the same bombs will react and respond by using the same power? The answer is very simple: “the end of the world”.

Earthquake, fire and nuclear leak in Japan *

(18 July 2007)

Black smoke rises from a burning electrical transformer near one of  the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear reactors.
Black smoke rises from a burning electrical transformer near one of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear reactors.

Kashiwazaki, Japan — At 10:13 am on July 16, 2007, A 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the world's largest nuclear plant, causing a transformer fire. Since then, revelations have been coming out about spills and leaks at the plant. Initially, plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said there was no leak of radioactivity.

Then it said there was a small leak of radioactively contaminated water.  Then the size of the leak turned out to be much larger than originally reported, and the water was 50 percent more radioactive than they had first said.  Then it came out that hundreds of nuclear waste barrels had fallen over, with the lids coming off dozens of them.  Oh, and it was further revealed that cobalt-60 and chromium-51 were released into the atmosphere from an exhaust stack.



It's hard to call the residents of Kashiwazaki lucky.  Hundreds were injured by the quake, at least nine have died, and thousands are in emergency shelters.  But, if any of the four working reactors had lost power to their coolant system, it could have gone much worse. 
Then Citizens' Nuclear Information Center said that even after automatic shutdown, the fuel in the reactor core is still extremely hot, so it is necessary to maintain a continual flow of coolant. If it is not maintained, the fuel could melt, leading to the release of highly radioactive material into the environment. Under some circumstances, it could also result in an explosion.

Despite the potential seriousness of this fire, TEPCO failed to announce whether the transformer continued to operate, or whether the emergency generator started up.

According to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, TEPCO admitted its disaster response measures did not function successfully, and that there were only four workers available to extinguish the fire, which burned for almost two hours.  

What do we do then?
The ground vibrations were more severe than the nuclear plant was designed to withstand, and there are some indications that a previously undiscovered fault line runs under the plant.  Japan is one of the world's most earthquake prone countries, and also one of the most reliant on nuclear power. Not a good combination.

The delay in reporting leaks and spills also comes as no surprise to industry watchers, but it does seem that Japan's government may finally be losing patience with an industry rocked by scandal for the past decade.  

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters, "They raised the alert too late. I have sent stern instructions that such alerts must be raised seriously and swiftly." He continued, "Those involved should reflect on their actions."

"Nuclear power can only operate with the people's trust," Abe told reporters. The litany below shows that the betrayal of peoples trust is standing operating procedure for Japan's nuclear industry.

Nuclear power is never safe, but it can be made less safe through a potent combination of lies, cover-ups and geological fault lines.

A lot to reflect on

The Japanese nuclear industry, and TEPCO in particular, is no stranger to scandal.

In 2002, three top TEPCO officials resigned after finally acknowledging that the company had violated safety regulations and falsified records at three of its largest nuclear power plants (including the one at Kashiwazaki). All 17 TEPCO reactors were ordered to shut down at the end of the investigation. The cover-up had been going on since the 1980s.

More examples: In March 2007 - It was discovered that the Hokuriku utility did not inform the public or nuclear inspectors about a serious incident at Shika nuclear power plant where, on July 18th, 1999, failure of control rods lead to an uncontrolled chain reaction.

April 2006 - A radioactive spill of 40 liters of liquid containing plutonium occurs at a brand new reprocessing plant in Rokkasho-Mura.

August 2004 - A ruptured pipe in Mihama nuclear power plant kills five workers.

July 2002 - A shipment of plutonium pellets leaves Japan, on a return journey to the UK, after revelations that British Nuclear Fuels falsified records about safety checks in their production.

September 1999 - Workers at a fuel factory in Tokaimura fail to follow guidelines, leading to an uncontrolled chain reaction that lasts for three days. Three workers die due to high irradiation and the neighborhood is evacuated.  

Global impact and more danger we face

Many people and biodiversity at large are laying over the danger (stupidity made by humans) which can extinguish them in a matter of a second. Another challenge before we get extinguished by ourselves: there are still so many other problems brought by the possessing nuclear weapons, like psychosis among people, and this leads to the high wish of possessing them too if we do have them. The more we wish to possess nuclear weapons, the more suspicion will rise and increase with on our so called “enemies” and then there will be a huge threat to peace in the world. The time to think about it is now; tomorrow will be late.