Is Humanity Prepared for the Next Nuclear Disaster?

[A man prays in front of a monument for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and triggered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, during its 10th anniversary, in Namie, Fukushima prefecture, Japan March 11, 2021.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon]

A decade ago, the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Japan triggered a tsunami which struck off Fukushima’s nuclear plant, killing more than 18,000 people and devastating entire towns due to the radiation leak. Today, the world questions what lessons were learned from it in order to avoid future catastrophes. Unfortunately, none. Instead of diminishing the potential risks, the world is increasing its warfare in a shortsighted and dangerous vision. Instead of global confrontation, we urgently need to build human connection as the most powerful weaponry for peace and security.

Without making up our minds, without a broad vision for the future and the implementation of an international education program that will raise awareness of our deceitful behavior, we will not succeed. And as the world continues its business as usual, the next blow inevitably will come, forcing humanity toward introspection.

Fukushima was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, but it seems this catastrophe has not left a special mark in the world’s consciousness. Because one may ask, what can be done against the forces of nature? And at the end, the Japanese are a special people who have laboriously built a prosperous country despite suffering severe beatings and overcoming them successfully. There was no doubt they would recuperate from this blow, too.

On the other hand, we do not see what unfolds in certain parts of the world as something that may also impact us. But eventually it will, since planet Earth is round and operates as a complex system of dependencies, relationships, and interactions. In fact, if we were aware of our interconnectedness, we would learn from the difficult events that humanity has suffered and would be ready to change our selfish attitude and actions for mutual benefit.

However, humanity in general does not see past disasters or conflicts as teaching experiences. The world has been beaten by multiple nuclear accidents and two world wars, but nothing has changed. Ten years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster and there are still over 414 nuclear power reactors operating in 32 countries. They supply a tenth of the world’s electricity but if there was a true intention from the countries to get rid of nuclear reactors to avoid and mitigate dangers and threats, they would have already looked for alternatives.

Nuclear technology is controversial but cannot be categorized as evil or praised as good, because the main question is about how it is used, the dosage and the intention behind it. A global estimation would reveal that we do not need the current reckless exploitation of natural resources for the sake of immediate profit which affects us in the long term. If we were aware of it we would limit our production systems solely to what is essential to our existence.

Without making up our minds, without a broad vision for the future and the implementation of an international education program that will raise awareness of our deceitful behavior, we will not succeed. And as the world continues its business as usual, the next blow inevitably will come, forcing humanity toward introspection.

The “Green New Deals” proposed by multiple countries promote social justice and environmental equity. But even though there are some positive measures behind those proposals they are only shifting the focus from the main problem. The human being is the most harmful force in nature, even more so than a nuclear bomb, so what we need to fix is precisely human nature.

Mutual hatred overflows at all levels, between people and countries, within societies. Humanity is acting in the opposite direction of nature, which is balanced and harmonious. Instead, we are moving away from each other, developing sophisticated means for mutual destruction. The exponential effect of this division within humanity is what causes wars and global crises.

If we fail to implement a change in our self-centered focus, we will continue heading down a path of prolonged suffering. Therefore, we need to realize the corrupt way we relate to each other, and construct new, positive relations of peaceful coexistence within society. The current global scenario is urging us to choose a more civilized, enjoyable, and wise path, a path of mutual support and care that will radiate the entire world as the most powerful force on Earth.