Socialist Worker

Profit makes the world a dangerous place

Issue No. 2243

Every plan to build a nuclear plant in every country across the world should be stopped—now. And all existing plants should be shut down. That’s the message we should take from the horrific events in Japan.

Nuclear power risks the very existence of life on this planet.

It’s an indictment of capitalism that rulers across the globe remain committed to it.

David Cameron and other world leaders made sympathetic noises over the nuclear threat in Japan. But Cameron won’t turn his back on nuclear power—and is determined to use it more.

World leaders claim that nuclear energy is green, cheap and safe—and that there’s no other way to keep the lights on. Even some environmentalists have fallen for these arguments.

It’s all lies.

Producing nuclear power emits tons of carbon dioxide. The mining and processing of uranium releases carbon. So does constructing reactors, decommissioning reactors and transporting and storing nuclear waste.

Nuclear power certainly isn’t cheap. It’s only commercially viable because of enormous government subsidies.

Successive governments have said that private companies will pay the costs of decommissioning nuclear waste. In truth, we pay for disposal—around £50 billion for the existing plants.

Cameron says that Britain’s nuclear plants are a different, safer design to those in Japan.

But the global nuclear industry is full of leaks, accidents and explosions—and newer plants are not safer than older ones.

There were 1,767 leaks, breakdowns or other safety “events” at British nuclear plants between 2001 and 2008.

That’s despite the fact that nuclear energy makes up a tiny fraction of Britain’s energy production—less than 5 percent.

The government should invest in green, renewable energy. But it would rather pour money into nuclear power. That turns uranium into plutonium—which can be used for weapons.

Our rulers think that destroying the environment and our lives is a price worth paying. Socialists fight for a world where the priorities are different—where ordinary people run society to meet the needs of everyone.

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