Nuclear energy is not an option. Proven by science and life

Japanese scientists do not consider nuclear energy as a way of addressing climate change. Representatives of environmental organizations promote the same point of view for many years. They are confident that nuclear energy is too dangerous to be an energy alternative.

Japanese scientists have published their arguments against nuclear energy in response to the appeal of Dr. Emmanuel Kelly (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to explain what are real risks of nuclear energy to the environment, and why environmentalists unequivocally advocate against such a "reasonable and safe" alternative to fossil fuel.

Japanese researchers involved in development of recommendations for addressing climate change in the economy and politics gave examples, figures and evidence to support the view that nuclear power cannot be considered safe, and that the use of it as a way of development is not permissible.

Among the main criticisms of Japanese researchers is underassessment of probability of accidents. Japanese scientists write: "The number obtained by modeling the probability of the risk shall not be used as an indicator of the actual probability of nuclear accidents." After the accident at Fukushima, the Atomic Energy Committee of the Government of Japan has revised the risks associated with accidents at nuclear power plants, and concluded that the probability of a major accident is once every 500 reactor years. This means that with operation of 50 reactors, as it was before the Fukushima accident, one major accident could happen every 10 years.

An opinion exists that air pollution associated with technological processes at coal fired power plants leads to higher morbidity and mortality as compared to radioactive contamination. Japanese scientists believe that it is incorrect to compare health damage from air pollution and damage from radioactive contamination. In the second case, there are many indirect effects that cannot be entered the statistics of damage from nuclear accidents. For example, no fatal accident has been recorded until now, which are directly related to radiation exposure at Fukushima. Meanwhile, as of September 2013, there are 1,459 related deaths - those who died as a result of long and difficult evacuation when rescuers could not arrive on the coast of Fukushima because of risks of radioactive contamination, as well as suicides because people lost hope to return to normal life in the future. The scientists say: "The risks of such accidents are incredibly huge. Given these factors, we believe in meaninglessness of a simple comparison of nuclear energy risks with air pollution risks, which are based on prediction of mortality increase due to diseases.”

Japanese researchers refute the myth of the cheapness of nuclear energy. According to them, the costs of nuclear energy are much higher than generally assumed. They write in their letter: "The costs of producing nuclear energy only seem low compared with other energy sources, and only due to the fact that they do not include external costs, which turned out to be quite significant. If one does not take into account the reality of the situation, the operation of nuclear power plants is similar to driving a car without insurance."

It is important to note that Japanese researchers have come to their conclusions not theoretically. They write: "In Fukushima, the worst scenario was avoided. However, if the accident happened a few hours earlier or later, not at a weekday lunch, but at night or on a weekend, when the station has the minimum of personnel, it would be very difficult to control the nuclear reactor. In addition, nine months before the Fukushima tragedy, the seismically resistant main building was constructed and commissioned, without which it would be quite impossible to control the reactor. In this case, all the NPP employees would have to be evacuated, then a huge number of contaminants would be released in the air. This would require evacuation of all people living within a radius of 250 km, including 30 million people in Tokyo.

Besides the arguments against NPPs, the Japanese advance the thesis that the required level of greenhouse gas emission reductions can be achieved without nuclear power. Renewable energy and energy efficiency measures are sufficient, if governments and stakeholders will be able to step over their one-time selfish interests.

The Japanese scientists conclude: "Many countries that want to build nuclear power stations today are not rich, and often have a non-democratic system. Given the risks and costs of construction for such countries, it is doubtful that the international community is going to promote nuclear energy as a means to mitigate climate change. We sincerely hope that the world will realize the seriousness of the experience of the nuclear disaster that Japan has gone through on March 11, will reconsider its position on measures to combat climate change, and these measures will not be built on the principle of "Russian roulette" that is now the nuclear power."

Representatives of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union write in their position: "The Fukushima accident became the beginning of nuclear energy decline ... The problems born by nuclear power are already so serious that decisions on the placement of nuclear facilities are not possible without the consent of the population."