The head-to-head cold-war which escalated last week between Russia and Western Powers, especially the US and Britain, is compelling evidence that the major factor why rich nations are building a new generation of civil nuclear power stations is not for civilian purposes but to upgrade their military nuclear technology. The display of sophisticated latest weapons by Kremlin, Washington, and London is justification why nuclear power stations must be banned globally.
Put simply, the major motivating factor is to upgrade military nuclear technology and maintain enough skills to keep a nuclear deterrent. Otherwise, both the civil and military side of nuclear power is uneconomic. It is just a smokescreen.
The super powers are conscience of the fact that if they were to withdrawal from civil nuclear power on grounds of uncompetitive economics, then that would leave the shared costs borne entirely on the military side. A scenario like that makes military nuclear infrastructures significantly more expensive. However, if civil nuclear commitments are maintained despite adverse economics, this helps them cover the shared costs, which effectively amounts to a cross-subsidy.
So, the expansion of nuclear for civil purposes is actually to support military nuclear industrial capabilities expansion. Where nuclear-capable skilled workforce through a civil nuclear programme is developed, this is done so purely to relieve their Ministries of Defence of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability largely for cross-subsidy purposes.
For the above reasons, rich nations have had to create multi-billion dollar funds exclusively dedicated to manage nuclear waste. The exorbitant cost of building nuclear plants, maintaining them, managing the toxic residues, as well as well the real possibility of day-to-day contamination is justified for purposes nuclear deterrent.
It is no-brainer that we lack financial capacity to build one nuclear power station, let alone contemplate managing a nuclear waste. We should not allow ourselves to indirectly be generators and suppliers of nuclear materials to further military nuclear technology elsewhere in the world. That will be a very dangerous game to play. We have no nuclear deterrent to keep off super powers when turn their nukes in our direction.
Furthermore, this government has failed to create a sinking fund for Eurobond loans. Where will it get multi-billion dollars to create an “Atommüllentsorgungsfond” like Germany?
Additionally, it is no secret that the world ecology is suffering from serious effects of underground nuclear waste deposits. And sadly, almost 80% of our people survive solely on untreated underground water supply from wells and boreholes. Is it really worth it to endanger our people just like that?
The rule of the thumb in sustainability science is that if you cannot manage it safely and sustainably, do not produce it. So, if we have no capacity for nuclear deterrent, let’s not produce nuclear materials. If we cannot sustainably manage nuclear waste, let’s not produce it.