This letter was delivered to the Secretary of the Presidency of Bolivia on March 27, 2014. We are awaiting the response of President Morales and we will publish it as soon as it will arrive.
Dear Evo Morales,
First of all we would like to emphasize that those who sign this letter consider themselves to be friends of the Bolivian people. We applaud what your government has done over the years for the welfare of the people of Bolivia, for the recovery of control over your natural resources as well as for social justice and the redistribution of wealth. We also support the strong stance you and your government have taken on the protection of the environment, with the institution of the Day of Mother Earth and the acts against the exploitation of food resources for purposes other than the nourishment of the people. Moreover, we have been fighting for years, in our countries and internationally, against military and civilian nuclear energy.
In this light, as friends, we have been surprised by the announcement of your government’s plans to start the process of building a nuclear plant in Bolivia.
We believe this to be a move in the wrong direction and we wish to explain why in the following few points. We also hope that this debate can be continued with the participation of the entire Bolivian society. We therefore welcome positions different from ours and are always available to participate in an open discussion with further contributions.
1) That for nuclear energy is a choice without return, and no visible end! No one knows precisely what it costs to dismantle a nuclear power plant, but it is likely to be comparable to the cost of constructing one; no durable solution for the disposal of radioactive wastes has yet been found. These wastes constitute a heavy legacy that is expensive to store and remains deadly for thousands of years.
2) The idea of acquiring autonomy and independence by the use of nuclear energy is illusory and false: uranium is a finite resource (the most optimistic forecasts count with its depletion in about a century) and supplies of nuclear fuel are held by a handful of rich countries.
3) The costs of a nuclear programme are much higher than those of any other form of energy production; the budgeted cost for nuclear power reactor is around US$8-10 billion and building times are unpredictable. Besides there are huge costs involved in adjusting the connected infrastructure – industrial, technical, medical, etc. – and in training the staff only to make them extremely specialised and in this sector only.
4) The safety of a nuclear plant is a myth, fuelled by industry supporters and industrialists, but clearly denied by the facts: the last half-century shows that we must expect an extremely serious accident every few years. The consequences of a major nuclear accident are worse than those of any other accident. The legacy of the Fukushima accident alone will last for decades to burden Japan and the world!
5) Nuclear energy is a vulnerable target to terrorist attacks and leads to a militarization of the surrounding territory.
6) For all these reasons, the production of energy by nuclear means is in steep decline all around the world and is likely to continue that way; it is reasonable to expect that the construction of new nuclear power plants and their total number will decrease in the future.
7) Nuclear power on planet Earth represents the quintessential “anti-nature” form of energy production. Nature uses nuclear reactions in the creation of new worlds in stars. That however is fusion, not fission; on Earth its use is purely episodic and marginal.
8) There is a tight bond between civil and military nuclear energy production. The materials and basic techniques are the same, with plutonium – the ‘explosive’ material ideal for nuclear power generation as well as nuclear weapons – resulting as a by-product during the chain reaction.
We believe these arguments to be sufficient to dissuade any government from investing a nation’s resources and scientific potential in the nuclear industry, and we wish to see the Bolivian people take a more constructive way forward, prioritizing those renewable forms of energies of which your country is richly endowed. Such a choice and development path would generate infinitely more energy on a sustainable basis, thus bringing more welfare, autonomy and jobs than any nuclear project.
We are ready to provide the scientific details of our statements to your government and we warmly embrace you with love and esteem.
Anna Polo, World without Wars and Violence, Italy
Olivier Turquet, chief editor Pressenza Italy
Angelo Baracca, Professor of Physics, University of Florence, Italy
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ireland
Tony Robinson, International spokeperson of World without Wars and Violence
Carlos Vassaux M.D., USA
Dr. Jouni Ylinen, Finland
Ira Helfand, MD, USA, co-President International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize
Claudio Giangiacomo, Italy
Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria
Roberto Renzetti, Professor of Physics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Roma 3 and essayist, Italy
People for Nuclear Disarmament, Australia
Human Survival Project, Australia
Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Founder of Oxford Research Group, Founder of Peace Direct, Councillor of the World Future Council, UK
Giorgio Parisi, Professor of Physics, University of Roma I, La Sapienza, Italy
Romi Elnagar, author of “Fukushima: Meltdown on the Ring of Fire” in Green Horizon, USA
Alice Slater, Global Council of Abolition 2000, USA
Dr. Anthony Gronowicz, Green Party, USA
Salvatore Fanara, USA
Jane Milliken, USA
Rachel Clark, Interpreter, Global Coordinator, Language instructor, USA
Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, USA
Pauline Tangiora, Member of the World Future Council and the Earth Council, New Zealand
Gerson Lesser, M.D., USA
Debbie Peters, J.D., USA
Prof. Francesco Bottaccioli, Founder and President of the Italian Society of Psiconeuroendocrinoimmunology. Direction and Teaching Master Degree in “PNEI and science of integrated care”, University of L’Aquila, Italy
Roberto Romizi, President of International Society of Doctors for the Environment – ISDE, Italy
Tahia Devisscher, UK
Yukari Saito and Gerard Blaylock, Founders of the Documentation Center “Seeds beneath the snow” Pisa, Italy
Prof. Jürgen Renn, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany
Dr. Celestino Panizza, President ISDE Brescia, Italy
Paola Manduca, ISDE, Italy
Paul Larudee, Free Palestine Movement, USA
Giuseppe Masera, ISDE, Italy
Giuseppe Miserotti, ISDE Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Pedro Portugal Mollinedo, director of Pukara magazine, Bolivia
Pol D’Huyvetter, Mayors for Peace, Brazil
Giorgio Ferrari, Italy
Paolo De Santis, Professor of Physics, University of Roma 3 – Alternativa, Italy
Luisa Memore, president ISDE Torino, Italy
Giuseppe Vitiello, Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Salerno, Italy
Antonio M. Calabrò, Aerospace Engineer Researcher, Italy
Marco Caldiroli, Luigi Mara, Chiara Rodeghiero, Fulvio Aurora, Maurizio Marchi, Patrizia Gentilini,
Antonio Valassina, Medicina Democratica, Italy
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), UK
Patrick Boylan, NoWar-Rome, Italy
Pax Christi Metro New York, USA
Nelson Arias Ávila, Physic, PhD, Colombia
Takao Takahara, Professor of International Politics and Peace Research, Faculty of International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan
Gabriella Filippazzo, ISDE Palermo, Italy
Lee Hsiujung, Vice Secretery General of Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, Taiwan