Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

More letters to The Call on nuclear energy coverage

First Published: The Call, Vol. 8, No. 16, April 23, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Proceed from facts in nuclear coverage

The letter to the editor in the April 2 issue, “Nuke article not scientific? ” raised a good criticism of The Call’s coverage by emphasizing the importance of covering the scientific aspects of the nuclear debate.

The Call’s editorial reply missed the point when it dismissed the criticism with, “We believe that this problem (nuclear waste) can be solved under socialism.” I believe that many scientific and technical questions which remain problems under capitalism will be solved under socialism. The safe disposal of nuclear wastes mayor may not be such a problem, Currently, prominent scientists disagree on the question of nuclear waste disposal.

Even if we were to assume that an efficient form of storage was technically possible, the degree of acceptable risk and the social cost of nuclear energy in relationship to other forms of energy will most likely be points of controversy under socialism.

To argue against those who would call for a premature and wholesale shutdown of the nuclear industry, The Call should proceed from fact and not from an abstract “belief“ in socialism.

It is clear that the nuclear industry has put profits first and criminally subjected the people of this country to unnecessary risks. The Call’s editorial reply properly points out that nuclear plants can be made safer and important safety gains can be won now if public pressure is applied.

I look forward to The Call’s intention of going deeper into the question of nuclear power and the development of a Marxist-Leninist analysis of this important question.

S.L., New York City

More on nukes

I strongly suggest that your statement in the April 2 Call,/em> letters section about nuclear fission energy be reviewed and rethought in light of the ongoing crisis at the Three Mile Island #2 nuclear reactor. Even if the matter of nuclear wastes disposal is satisfactorily and safely dealt with, there remains the continuing disaster potential inherent in the nuclear fission process.

Had the meltdown inside Three Mile Island gone to even semi-complete proportions, the resulting “China Syndrome” would have killed a minimum of 50,000 people straight away. Another 100,000 would suffer serious, crippling or eventually fatal levels of radiation exposure, and the number of next-generation genetic problems and cancers, particularly child leukemia, is literally incalculable.

Further, an area about one-third the size of Rhode Island would have been denuded of all plant, animal and human life for at least 500 years.

Alternatives to nuclear fission energy-generation are already developed to a near-production level.

It’s only the cost-profit mentality inherent in any capitalist system which keeps these alternatives from going on the line in place of dangerous, unsafe and inherent unstable energy supplies such as nuclear fission.

Nuclear fusion (which even the USSR is trying to develop to replace fission reactors), geothermal wave conversion, magma-sap and ocean thermal (“aqua thermal”) systems are but a few examples.

I think Americans should note that the People’s Republic of China is going along very advisedly and cautiously in its nuclear fission program and the Major Capital Construction Projects map in the latest Beijing Review shows all immediate future power stations in China to be either geothermal or hydroelectric.

Any socialist system worthy of that name in the U.S. has to reckon with the technical as well as the economic foundation on which the working class erects it; the social costs and risks of such a volatile energy source simply cannot be over-balanced by the corresponding technical and economic benefits.

Harold E. Foster,
Survival Research Institute