Morals, Truth and Nuclear Energy

11Sep07

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There are many good reasons not to build a nuclear power plant in Idaho: the economics don’t play out, the energy payback is too long, CO2 emissions are created in the mining, milling, and enriching of uranium, Idaho is earthquake country, nuclear plants need lots of water for cooling, and they don’t work well in hot climates when sited on rivers or lakes. Here, however I shall focus solely on the moral issues in this writing. All quotations come directly from the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

“Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.”

“You shall love your neighbor.” This of course starts with your own family. “The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor.” Uranium mines and radioactive waste disposal sites are usually in poor and minority areas. They don’t have the political clout to stop the hazards from coming to their communities. Yucca Mountain has been chosen to store nuclear waste generated by nuclear power plants even though this isn’t the best place to store the waste. The Western Shoshone Indians who have lived there for generations believe it is sacred ground. These too are our neighbors and deserve our love not our waste.

“You shall not kill.” “Human life is sacred.” The processes involved in nuclear power generation are very much the same as nuclear bomb building. Enriching of uranium can be used for either nuclear power generation or nuclear bomb building. If reprocessing waste is done, it makes it much easier to separate out the plutonium that is used for bomb building.

“You shall not steal.” “Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.” By creating this non-natural radioactive waste we are stealing from all the future generations. For example, one by product is iodine-129 which has a half-life of 15.7 million years. That means we are stealing from thousands of generations the land, cost of storage, cost of security, and very possibly polluting their air, ground, and water.

I am asking everyone to call, write, and e-mail your local, state, and federal elected officials. Please tell them you don’t want a nuclear power plant in Idaho and that any tax dollars go toward a solution to the waste we already have instead of new nuclear power plants. I also ask pro-life, health, social justice, and other church groups to come together in solidarity to get this message out. I thank you as will generations to come.

Written by John Weber, a Boise Catholic Worker and a member of St Mark’s Parish. John has built a solar car and his home is powered by solar energy.

Boise Catholic Worker is a group of Lay Catholics who study and live the social teachings of the Catholic Church in their daily lives through the guidelines set down by Catholic Worker Movement founder Dorothy Day. Catholic Workers give comfort to the homeless and suffering as well as promote social justice through education efforts and action. We welcome all faith based volunteers to Boise Catholic Worker.

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One Response to “Morals, Truth and Nuclear Energy”

  1. 1 Michael Haben

    Nuclear Energy is not the same as a bomb. This article only distracts from the true moral issues of today, war and minority rights. I would hate to see the lunatic fringe take over your cause by such inane articles.


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