[Letters] The antinuclear bandwagon

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[Letters] The antinuclear bandwagon

I could not disagree more with your March 31 column, “The antinuclear bandwagon,” especially since the writer does not seem to have his facts right.

Only minuscule amounts of radioactivity from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant detected in Korea? Isn’t that enough already, showing us how vulnerable we all are? Especially since there is no minimum threshold for negative health effects - even a low dosage can be harmful.

And who told the writer that the published measurements are correct? Tepco, the plant operator, quite recently had to admit that the published readings they gave to the Japanese government were incorrect.

Ninety percent of experts questioned about the safety of Korean nuclear reactors said they are safe?

I am sure experts in Japan made the same claim until 3 weeks ago. They tell you the same thing in each and every country with nuclear power plants.

And no country is considering closing down their power plants? I don’t think so.

I am a German citizen living in Korea and can tell you that my government has already put a moratorium on our nuclear reactors and is seriously considering shutting them down permanently (hopefully, this is not just a political move to calm the public).

In Germany we get about the same ratio of our power supply from nuclear power as Korea does.

But public awareness is putting pressure on politics to finally reconsider our nuclear policy. We have lived through the effects of Chernobyl first hand and know the risks involved.

And we are not only talking about the day-to-day-operation of the nuclear plants. There is the issue of uranium mining - uranium reserves will only last for a few decades, and what then? What about nuclear waste? Does anyone have a viable solution to safely store this highly dangerous waste? Not even talking about the costs involved.

In addition, even without a disaster like the one in Japan, nuclear power is not a safe source of energy.

Medical studies like the KiKK study in Germany have shown that the incidence of cancers (leukemia or brain tumors) in children living within five to 10 kilometers (3.1-6.2 miles) of nuclear power stations is significantly higher than elsewhere in the country.

So nobody can convince me that we need nuclear power because it is a safe and cheap form of energy, because we have alternatives.

Does this give the writer a right to call me stubborn?

I am a mother and hopefully someday a grandmother and I don’t want a world in which we put our children and all of us at risk when there are alternatives that need to be tapped - wind, solar and biomass.

If subsidized like nuclear power, this could be our way out and I wish more countries, especially Germany and Korea, with their vast potential for innovation, go this way.

But more importantly, there is a need for change and we all need to change our lives - conserve energy, be more responsible about the choices we make.

Richard von Weizacker, the German president from 1984-1994, said it best: “Let us do everything we can to leave the next generation - the children of today - a world that not only gives them the space they need to live in, but also an environment that nurtures life and makes it worth living.”

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr. Each letter should contain the writer’s name and full address. They are subject to editing.

Cornelia Rosen, a German resident in Seoul
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