Last year the nuclear reactor in Petten was closed down after a series of safety accidents. Several employees broke the security regulations. The commission of the Nuclear Physics service ordered to temporarily stop the production of isotopes after an initial high amount of uranium was measured in a disposal bin, which was enough to possibly create a spontaneous chain reaction. During another incident the personnel in the control chamber ignored a defect gas detector; therefore it was impossible to register if radioactive air escaped to the outside world. In another investigation it was discovered that the inspection of a vital part of the nuclear reactor did not take place for more than 10 years. These kinds of incidents occur all over Europe. There is basically not a single nuclear plant that seems to meet the security norms that have been statutorily set. The older a nuclear plant gets, the more dangerous it becomes to operate it. Despite the millions invested in nuclear plants, this dangerous situation remains to exist, as the recent events in the nuclear reactor in Petten made painfully clear.
The European nuclear sector makes hundreds of billions profit. So there is no doubt: also with nuclear reactors, profits go before safety. We can see what the terrible consequences can be if we look at the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, where in 1986 a disaster took place. The reactor exploded during the middle of the night, releasing 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese town of Hiroshima. In 2006 Greenpeace published a report about the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, in which it was stated that 93.000 people died of cancer as a result of this disaster and the total amount of casualties would be near 200.000 people. Several researches claim that a nuclear disaster in the densely populated Europe would have even bigger and further reaching consequences than the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.
Nuclear waste can stay radioactive for about 240.000 years. In order to prevent harm to humans and animals this nuclear waste needs to remain isolated. But shockingly enough up till today not a single gram of the many millions of tons of nuclear waste is stored safely. For example just across the Dutch border nuclear waste has been leaking from the salt dome in Asse (Germany)for over 40 years! There are approximately 125.000 barrels of low and 1300 barrels of medium-radioactive waste stored in Asse. Studies show that the cancer rates nearby Asse are much higher than the national average. Between 1946 and 1982 many European countries, among them the Netherlands dumped their nuclear waste in the Great- and Atlantic Ocean. This radioactive waste was put in barrels filled with concrete. In 1995 it was discovered that these barrels were leaking, polluting the water, the sediment and the sea life. About 70 years after the discovery of nuclear fission scientists still didn’t find any way to store nuclear waste without bringing man and animal in danger. Such storage should have to be geographically stable for an extreme long period of time, so the question remains if such a place does exist at all or is even possible on this world.
As the recent events at Fukushima show us, the history, present and future of nuclear power is one of incidents and accidents. The advantages simply do not outweigh the dangers. Nuclear power is not a sustainable form of energy and forms an unseen danger for both human and animal. If we want to protect ourselves and future generations against this evil, we will have to resist against the atomic lobby and demand the closure of nuclear plants worldwide.