On Wednesday, October 12, the Granma newspaper published an article in which the hot topic of nuclear regulation was discussed.
After reviewing all the nuclear accidents that have occurred since 1979 (at the rate of one catastrophe every 11 years), the article focused on the issue who controls or should control the peaceful use of nuclear energy: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or the governments of nations?
In the final paragraph, the official position of Cuba was clarified:
“In this regard, Cuba maintains that each country is free to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes according to their needs, provided that such use comply with certain security parameters determined at the international level. This resource provides significant benefits to society…”
Viewed in this manner, it seems that to solve this problem there exist only two possible decision makers, but the question is actually more complex because neither national governments nor the IAEA seem to represent the interests of those who will ultimately suffer the consequences of accidents and pollution generated daily as a result of the peaceful use of atomic energy.
The general population of most countries does not have the tools to prevent or control ambitious and hazardous projects that the technocratic elite undertake in collusion with governments. So Cuba’s position seems to me not only ambiguous but also “pro-development,” elitist and unfair.
Neither national nor international regulations have prevented the occurrence of periodic nuclear accidents or the gradual accumulation of radioactive wastes, which are pains in the butt wherever these are located.
Perhaps seeking popular complicity, the Granma journalist failed to specify that it means one thing to people’s health for there to be tiny emissions of nuclear energy for health treatment purposes and something quite different to have nuclear power plants churning out mass amounts of electricity.
Though both aspects are closely related, they need to be carefully thought through, discussed and voted on separately.
It’s true that nuclear power plants reduce oil consumption and global warming – at least they appear to after making a quick calculation. But they’re too dangerous, and they can also serve to camouflage or develop nuclear weapons.¬¬
Given all of this, I — one voice among many — disapprove of this approach. What’s more, I’d like to see this opinion reflected in the official stance of the Republic of Cuba. How do I achieve this? Do I raise it in one of the feedback assemblies in my neighborhood, where there are no nuclear plants and there’s hardly any development?
It seems a bit absurd to me. I think I’m going to have to use alternative means.