India Wants to Tackle Climate Change with the Risk of Increased Nuclear Power?

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A few days after President Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a state visit to France where he emphasized India’s continued commitment to the 2015 accord by saying “we will work and walk together with others to leave a gift for future generations.”1

The article continues to describe India’s desire to make its “Made in India” campaign realized partially through its development of nuclear power.  The nation is behind in its ability to produce nuclear power as it is still recovering from the 32-year ban the world placed on India prohibiting it from buying nuclear fuel and technology for civilian purposes.  The ban was initiated as a result of its testing a nuclear weapon in 1974.

Putting all of the political reasons and climate change theories aside, there should be one monumental question overriding everything in this issue:  Why is a densely populated country like India willing to gamble with a potentially cataclysmic accident?  Or has the world forgotten Chernobyl?

The  Distressing  Data  from  Chernobyl

April 26, 1986 Chernobyl:  The nuclear power disaster killed 30 workers at the time of the explosion or those who died within months due to radiation exposure.  The World Health Organization projects 9,000 total deaths as a result of this calamity if it parallels the results of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945.  Greenpeace suggests it could go as high as 90,000.  Three hundred fifty thousand people were impacted by the initial evacuation and resettlement.About 1,000 square miles continue to be restricted areas.3  High levels of radiation are expected to make the area uninhabitable anywhere from 180 to 320 years.  Birth defects in Belarus and Ukraine near Chernobyl have been significantly higher.Cleanup of the site is scheduled for 2065.5

If  This  Happened  in  India

The nuclear power plant in Hazira is running at about 20% capacity.1  It is not India’s biggest plant, but let’s supposed a ramped up Hazira has a Chernobyl misfortune.

The city of Hazira is only 65 square miles, so we need to look at its Surat district within the state of Gujarat to compare for population density.  This district is 4,418 square kilometers in size or roughly 1,700 square miles (or close enough to use for similarity).  Its population density is 1,376 per square kilometer6  or about 3,564 people per square mile.

If this plant were to contaminate a Chernobyl-sized area of 1,000 square miles, at least 3-1/2 million people (approx. the combined populations of Chicago and San Francisco)7 would be displaced in addition to the thousands of deaths and life-changing impacts on many more in surrounding areas.  Is nuclear power really the best option for India’s in its attempt to show its resolve in addressing climate change?

 

1 – “India’s Nuclear Industry Needs a Jolt,” edited by Cristina Lindblad, Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/12-18/2017.

2 – “Chernobyl: 30 Years Later, By The Numbers,” by the Associated Press, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-04-25/a-look-at-the-1986-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-in-numbers, 4/25/2016.

3 –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Exclusion_Zone

4 – “Area around Chernobyl remains uninhabitable 25 years later,” by Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail,https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/area-around-chernobyl-remains-uninhabitable-25-years-later/article4266317/, published 3/15/2011, last updated 8/23/2012.

5https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Nuclear_Power_Plant

6https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surat_district

7 – July 1, 2014 estimated populations. https://www.infoplease.com/us/us-cities/top-50-cities-us-population-and-rank

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Some Topics Which Incite Liberals to Attack First Amendment Right of Free Speech

  1. Defend a timeless moral values or institution such as marriage
  2. Suggest that current climate change is not primarily caused by humans
  3. Attempt to hold a political rally for a Republican candidate in a liberal city as occurred in Chicago yesterday evening when a Trump event had to be cancelled for security reasons

Before we go any further, let’s remember the inalienable rights which are protected by, not granted by, the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”1

(Second refresher, “inalienable” means something that can neither be taken away from nor given away by the possessor.)  Freedom of speech is a basic right.  Slander and libel aside, individuals do not forfeit the right to express their opinions simply because they are not in sync with a local majority.  As John Stuart Mill reminded us:

“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”2

Current  Trend

Three examples of the topics listed at the beginning.

  1. “Ben Carson, the noted pediatric neurosurgeon, has become the target of a petition by Johns Hopkins students who want him removed as the medical school’s commencement speaker this spring… Last Tuesday, he told Sean Hannity of Fox News that “marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA3, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”4 He withdrew later.
  2. “One group of climate scientists is trying a different approach. Dismayed by what they see as a lack of progress on the implementation of climate policies that they support, these 20 scientists sent aletter to the White House calling for their political opponents to be investigated by the government.”5
  3. “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump canceled one of his signature rallies Friday, saying he didn’t want to see ‘people get hurt’ after protesters packed into the Chicago arena where it was to take place… Protesters at the rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump rushed the arena floor in jubilant celebration after the announcement that he was calling off the event due to security concerns.”6

Those  Whose  Rights  Were  Violated  Are  Not  the  Only  Ones  Robbed

Universities have aided mankind’s progress by promoting open, civilized debate.  When this process is impeded, all are lessened.  John Stuart Mill cautioned:

But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”2

When it comes to Freedom of Speech, all ideas matter.

 

 

1https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

2 – From Mill’s essay “On Liberty,” Chapter II “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion, http://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlLbty2.html

3 – “The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is a pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States. It works to abolish age-of-consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors and campaigns for the release of men who have been jailed for sexual contacts with minors that did not involve coercion. The group no longer holds regular national meetings, and as of the late 1990s—to avoid local police infiltration—the organization discouraged the formation of local chapters.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Man/Boy_Love_Association

4 – He apologized to those he did not intend to offend with:  “Now perhaps the examples were not the best choice of words, and I certainly apologize if I offended anyone . . . But the point that I was making was that no group of individuals, whoever they are, whatever their belief systems, gets to change traditional definitions. The reason I believe the way I do, I will readily confess, is because I am a Christian who believes in The Bible.”

Yet, we also have “In fact, it was liberal Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor who brought up the issue of bestiality during this week’s oral arguments on a gay-rights case, openly asking if the extension of marriage laws to gays would open the courts up to lawsuits demanding equal marriage rights by polygamists and those who engage in bestiality.”

From “Dr. Carson Banned from a Commencement Speech,” by John Fund, 3/29/2013, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/344291/dr-carson-banned-commencement-speech-john-fund

5 – Going further: “None of the Grijalva 7 was found to have engaged in wrongdoing of any sort, yet there have been significant career consequences for some.”

“The demand by Senator (Sheldon) Whitehouse (D-RI) and the 20 climate scientists for legal persecution of people whose research on science and policy they disagree with represents a new low in the politicization of science.”

“The role of these 20 scientists is particularly troubling.  The consequence of this persecution, intended or not, is to make pariahs of scientists who are doing exactly what we expect of researchers: to critically evaluate evidence and publish that work in the scientific literature.”

From “A new low in science: Criminalizing climate change skeptics,” by Judith Curry, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/09/28/new-low-in-science-criminalizing-climate-change-skeptics.html, 9/28/2015

6 – From “Trump cancels Chicago rally, says he didn’t want to see anyone hurt,” by FoxNews.com, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/03/12/trump-cancels-chicago-rally-says-didnt-want-to-see-anyone-hurt.html, 3/12/2016