Nuclear power is no less useless
(Re: “Fukushima: the untold disaster,” March 14, Issue 27)
So nuclear power is to save us from climate change?
Let’s consider this fact: nuclear power produces at most 11 per cent of the world’s electricity (according to a 2011 figure from the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012), and only about 2 per cent of the total world (final) energy consumption. Doubling the number of nuclear plants because they are low carbon-emitting while operating (though taking into account their construction and decommissioning, as well as the mining of uranium, changes that picture) would not significantly address the climate change emergency.
And we are not about to see the number of nuclear plants doubling anytime soon: they can take from 12 to 40 years to build (can we wait that long to lower greenhouse gas emissions?); new ones will be replacing old ones that have reached the end of their life; in many cases, costs have at least tripled from initially announced numbers; we bequeath the future generations nuclear waste to manage Into Eternity (title of a documentary on a nuclear waste repository site in Finland); accidents do affect nature and people; finally, a police state and secrecy are hallmarks of the nuclear option. (In Japan, police have recently jailed anti-nuclear activists.)
For an in-depth analysis of the situation, visit bos.sagepub.com/content/68/5/8.full.
Language instructor, Continuing Studies, UVic
Chavez’s memory threatens Harper’s narrow interests
When Stephen Harper made the calculated decision to offer “condolences to the people of Venezuela” but not to Chavez’s family, it was for very good reason. Hugo Chavez and the ideas he embraced and promoted represent the biggest threat to our current socio-economic system; both Harper and the narrow interests he represents know this.
Chavez, like Martin Luther King, Jr. before him, advocated for a kind of “dangerous” unity amongst the dispossessed, displaced and disenfranchised. His grassroots campaign to bring direct democracy to the poor in the streets and neighbourhoods of Venezuela resulted in repeated landslide election victories, declared as amongst the most free and fair in the world by the Carter Centre. Chavez’s economic and political revolution directly challenged the economic and political elites who had, up until Chavez, been sole beneficiaries of Venezuela’s vast oil wealth.
That Chavez dramatically enhanced and extended democratic rights is not questioned by serious people who are able to cut through the state-corporate media propaganda of the West. The threat Chavez’s ideas pose to our own economic elite and their political pawns is real and mandates those of Harper’s ilk to continue to regard Chavez as a threat to our “democratic” ideals.
Rajinder S. Sahota