Germans turn out en masse against nuclear energy
Alex Rosen of IPPNW-Germany reflects on the latest news from Fukushima and reports on a weekend of antinuclear protests throughout Germany:
The pictures coming to us from Fukushima do not look good. Our experts here in Germany agree that the nuclear meltdown is currently taking place. The sea is already highly contaminated, the radiation levels 50 km away from the plant are the same as in the irradiated regions around Chernobyl (400.000-900.000 Bq/m2), radiation is seeping into the drinking water of Northeast Japan and Tokyo, the first victims of acute radiation sickness are being treated in hospitals already. This is indeed a nuclear catastrophe comparable to Cherobyl and we’re witnessing a similar cover-up by IAEA and the nuclear industry.
Here in Germany, the debate around our own nuclear energy program has flared up again. Seven of our oldest nuclear plants were shut down last week in order to soothe public outrage. Still, today [March 26] we had demonstrations of 250,000 people in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg und Munich. I’ve attached a link to photos of our demonstration here in Cologne, which was quite large with about 50,000 people.
We had a chance as IPPNW to hold the first speech after a minute of silence for the victims of earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear radiation in Fukushima. I spoke about the connection between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, about the health effects of nuclear radiation, the situation in Japan and the need to switch from nuclear and fossil fuels to regenerative energy. In Germany, we’re well on our way and everyone is hoping that this will shake people awake and help turn the tide against nuclear energy in this country once and for all.
Ten nuclear power plants are still up and running and we hope to turn them off within the next 4 to 9 years. Its a political decision, most of all, and there are important elections coming up tomorrow, which might see Germany’s first Green state premier, incidentally in one of our most conservative states, Baden-Württemberg. It would rock our conservative pro-nuclear federal government and could well lead to a shift towards a new government on a national level as well. We shall see.
So – there’s sorrow and there’s hope today… Our hearts go out to all of the people in Japan who are living under the cloud of nuclear radiation… And we encourage all of you to participate in the public debate in your own contries and add your voices into the chorus of people calling for a new era of energy production…. For our health and the health of our children…
All the best from Germany,