Print this article   Email this to a friend


ATHENS COUNCIL: Arab world - Middle East peace - nuclear energy

01-02 July 2011


Original: Spanish

The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Athens on 1-2 July 2011, reiterates its solidarity with Japan, a nation that was hit by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on 11 March of this year. The impact of the earthquake, that was followed by a tsunami which flooded wide areas of the territory with the region of Tohoku being the most affected, left a death toll of fifteen thousand, with seven thousand people still unaccounted for and one hundred thousand people displaced. The loss of life, the material destruction and the economic consequences of the catastrophe, have left the Japanese people deeply shocked and fearful of a future that may bring a re petition of the disaster of four months ago. The members of the Socialist International will accompany their Japanese comrades in the reconstruction process underway.

Although this kind of catastrophe cannot be avoided, it is certainly possible to adopt measures to mitigate their effects and lessen the consequences. The member parties of the Socialist International are permanently committed to the people, their physical integrity and the safety of human lives. Therefore, the Council expresses its special concern about the accident that occurred in the nuclear power plant of Fukushima and calls upon the international community to engage in a political, social and scientific debate that allows lessons to be learnt from this tragic event.

In recent years, during the period between the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, nuclear energy was promoted by some who considered it a clean energy. These same people stated that the risks, being either caused by natural or by human phenomena, were marginal and that the radioactive waste was controllable with adequate transport and storage. The Fukushima accident forces us to reconsider our positions regarding the use of this type of energy. Its share of global energy consumption represents 7%, rising to 15% in the production of electricity. The world total nuclear generating capacity has remained stable during the past 20 years, in clear contrast with the evolution in the development of solar and wind power and energy from biofuels.

The control and regulation currently available to the nuclear industry must also be revised in the light of the experience of Fukushima. Special mention should be made of the need to raise the security standards of the installations in areas susceptible to suffer earthquakes or prone to floods. At the same time, citizen participation and consultations with citizens must be encouraged and strengthened. The studies made about the environmental and social impact of nuclear projects must be particularly thorough.

The International is confident that the Japanese authorities will continue to rapidly and decisively carry out all efforts aimed at containing the effects of this disaster. The Council supports its member party, the SDP of Japan, in their proposal to put an end to the production of nuclear energy in that nation by 2020, and understands that this also implies the suspension of construction of new nuclear plants, and the repair and re-opening of those plants that have been affected, thus progressively replacing nuclear energy with other sources more secure and environmentally sustainable. In this conversion process it is proposed to give priority to the closure of the oldest nuclear plants which are potentially dangerous. The International also supports the proposal of its Japanese member party to encourage the development of clean and renewable energy, in order that this may cover 100% of the energy production in their country by 2050.

The SI will closely follow the development of the recent announcements made by governments of some of the industrialised countries that they will start progressively converting their energy production which will allow them to end nuclear production in the medium term, as well having economic and social implications.

Finally, the International once again highlights the important work carried out in recent years by its Commission for a Sustainable World Society and encourages it to continue this work. The Commission has called for the use of renewable energy and has underlined in its report that nuclear energy does not represent a medium to long-term solution, due to the problems of waste, safety of human life and environmental risks. The International and its member parties reiterate their commitment to continue working to build a sustainable world, in which energy is cleaner, safer and benefits the development of our peoples.