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Cassandra's nuclear predictions
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-03-16 07:23:30
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In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo's temple, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future. (This is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future.) However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. She is a figure both of the epic tradition and of tragedy, where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the tragic condition of humankind.

Nuclear reality has entered one more time our lives in the most dramatic way from the country that has suffered more than any other from her extreme and uncontrollable force making one more time people like me feel like contemporary Cassandras and for one more very sadden time think that “we said it but nobody wanted to hear”

First it must be clear that people who are environmentally aware beyond fanatics – unfortunately you can avoid fanatics even if the most peaceful acts – they are not against using nuclear power as an energy resource. What they are – and here I include myself – is the insane and irresponsible use of something we are not yet fully aware of its power and the results of this power. Nuclear power is a scientific section still under research and investigation and while human already use something like 1% or less of its tremendous power to create energy we definitely know that disastrous outcome of this use. And unfortunately it was the Japanese people who had the first taste of this outcome with millions of dead that expand for over fifty years.

Don’t forget the victims of nuclear before and immediately after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and we do often forget them. Tens of hundreds have died in a series of years in USA around the areas they were experimenting for the nuclear weapons and the same comes to Atlantic isolated islands with the experiments done from the French or the British. And perhaps your argument might be that these are victims of a war but Chernobyl was not the war and it was not the first one. Get an idea, Chack River, Ontario Canada; Windscale, Cumbria UK; Vinca, Yugoslavia; Santa Susana, California USA; Charlestown, Rhode Island USA; Monroe, Michigan USA; Scotland UK; Luce, Switzerland; Jaslovske Czechoslovakia; Middletown Pennsylvania USA; Orleans, France; Tsuruga, Japan; Buenos Aires, Argentina. And this is only part of the list happened in civilian use of nuclear plans producing energy with unknown number of victims since the number of victims unveils with time even decades.

Scientists have calculated that the outcomes of the Chernobyl accident will take centuries to die out and the die out in this case is literally. Decades after in Hiroshima there are kids born with leukaemia as a result of the nuclear explosion and it will take centuries for anything to grow in the winder area of Chernobyl. And all that before starting talking about the nuclear waste. Imagine that after using 1% of this power the rest becomes waste without any knowledge of its power. And the damn thing carries a lot of power. There are areas in Africa and the oceans all around the world polluted and damaged from this nuclear waste. There are small and big Chernobyl all around the globe and no will to do anything about it. On the contrary we are creating new nuclear reactors – sadly Finland is leading at the moment this movement with generation 3 reactors – questionable safer or better than the former ones as most of the environmental organizations have often proved.

Actually Finland has become the best example of the irresponsible use of this concept. The best argument over building more nuclear plans was the price compared with the oil prices and the predictions of their future. While still under construction and with a lot of worries over the safety percussions of the construction – you see the companies responsible for the concept feeling often that they have overwhelmed the plant budget they have turn into cheaper and perhaps/probably less safe materials – and far from finishing on time they have already exceeded by far the approved budget and have already exceed the price of oil even according to the darkest predictions for the next decade. Actually the experiment has failed and that before starting producing and before start talking about nuclear waste which literally going to turn into Finland’s cancer.

Sadly behind all that is the darkest f the humanity’s seven sins, greed!

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Emanuel Paparella2011-03-16 09:26:21
Ah, Cassandra! If there is one myth and one central figure that exemplifies the present tragic condition of humankind it is that of Cassandra. She combines deep understanding and powerlessness to do anything about what she understands, i.e., the curse of the jilted Apollo. It is also the curse afflicting those who like to reflect and write about the modern predicament of humankind and would like to be part of the solution, but are hardly ever listened to or appreciated. They are like a voice crying in the desert. But that voice crying in the desert is still preferable to mere silence, unless the silence be a pregnant one. Mere meaningless silence is worst still, for that would be a sure sign of “quiet desperation,” the constant temptation of modern man as described by Kierkegaard. It probably has to get worst before it gets better. That is not a prophecy but a mere statement of facts.

Anastasios2011-03-17 18:40:46
Thano, you state that you are (against) ".."the insane and irresponsible use of something we are not yet fully aware of its power and the results of this power".

There is no technology on the Earth that has been scrutinized more in terms of the ways, and the potential of its probable severe accidents, than anything else one can think of. The nuclear field is responsible for medical and a whole lot of other peaceful discoveries and advancements which would otherwise be unthinkable. Also, I can quote many other technologies that have a direct daily toll on human life which you just do not think about because it does not manifest itself in graphic ways that can have a psychological effect upon the average citizen.

What is happening in Japan is the result of a nature going ballistic against everything in its way. A synergy of extreme events caused a complete or partial unavailability of water to the reactor vessel and as I understood the spent fuel building too Yes, if God decides to throw an extremely powerful bomb on top of a nuclear vessel there is not much we humans can do other than try to mitigate consequences. These people lost their ability to cool the reactor via water, which is the worst precursor that can hit a nuclear power plant. This is why they try to soak the reactor with water and boron by any other means. The research that has been conducted in the United States (and not only) following the three-mile island is unprecedented and succeeded in understanding accident propagation. What I think Japan failed to do is prepare for this madness of a phenomenon: A vicious earthquake followed by a vicious tsunami.

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