|Protest sign at this year's TMI vigil|
Early this morning, I attended a vigil near the Three Mile Island facility sponsored by No Nukes PA, Three Mile Island Alert, and Academics for a Nuclear Free Future (ANUFF). Vigil attendees mourned the TMI disaster, called for an end to nuclear power, and expressed solidarity with the people of Japan amidst the nuclear crisis in Fukushima. Demonstrators held candles and anti-nuclear signs, while votive candles, flowers, and origami cranes sat on the ground at our feet. At 3:53 a.m. (the approximate time when the crisis began on March 28th, 1979), vigil attendees held a moment of silence. A video of local news coverage is below. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)
Others around the world are marking the TMI disaster alongside Fukushima crisis as well. South Korean environmental activists also staged a rally today to mark the 32nd anniversary of the TMI disaster. Speaking events comparing TMI and Fukushima are scheduled for tonight as well.
What motivates these anti-nuclear is the belief that societies can learn from past mistakes and prevent future nuclear catastrophes. In other words, a belief in human responsibility lies at the core of these efforts. People would not speak out against the potential dangers of nuclear power unless they believed that society could move away from nuclear power and toward safer, renewable sources of energy. Good decisions by leaders, energy industry professionals, and citizens can prevent future disasters and cultivate a safer world.
Thus, it disappoints me when some fundamentalists blame Japan's catastrophes on God's wrath over alleged impious behavior, divine withdrawal of protection, or associate them with demonic influences (as this YouTube video does, assuming it is not a Poe). When we blame problems on supernatural causes, we erase our own responsibility to prevent those problems through concrete measures. The Fukushima crisis will not be solved through superstition, but through the dedication, sacrifice, and ingenuity of everyone working on the crisis. Future nuclear crises will not be prevented through superstition, but through practical human efforts.
On the 32nd anniversary of TMI, as the crisis in Fukushima rages, let's honor those who are working diligently to bring the disaster under control. Let's also honor those who are striving for a safer future beyond nuclear power.