An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 22, 2008
Written at Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 km north of Mahahual
on the Yucatán Peninsula's eastern coast just north of the Belize border,
in the state of Quintana Roo, MÉXICO
WHY I'M AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER

Radiation damages and destroys DNA. Radiation is one of the few poisons that can not only make sick or kill an organism but also alter a species' genome by inserting mutations and other genetic anomalies into the DNA.

Literature on this matter is dense and confusing. However, when we focus just on damage to inherited genes, here are some generally accepted facts relating to the USSR's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station failure:

Researchers from Israel and Ukraine examined the children of irradiated parents now living in those countries. The number of genetic mutations was seven times higher in those children than in siblings conceived before the accident.

Among people irradiated during that disaster a DNA mutation rate 50 per cent higher than normal was passed on to subsequent generations.

These facts and many others are documented online at http://www.chernobyl.info/index.php?userhash=&navID=30&lID=2.

At Semipalatinsk in the former USSR where nuclear weapons were tested from 1949 to 1956, genetic mutations among people living in the region have nearly doubled. The paper documenting this is at http://www.stuk.fi/stuk/tiedotteet/2002/en_GB/news_204/.

Probably the most dangerous emissions of radioactive compounds during the Chernobyl disaster were those that accumulate in the food chain, such as certain isotopes of iodine and strontium.

The half-life of Iodine-129, primarily formed from the fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors, is 15.7 million years. With such a long half-life, even tiny leakages into the environment accumulate rapidly.

Anyone can find such documentation by using a search engine and such keywords as "nuclear radiation genetic mutations."

I am against saddling living things with unnaturally high mutation rates over the next millions of years, so I am against any activity that introduces nuclear waste onto Planet Earth.

*****

ANTI-NUKE SPIRITUALITY
My opposition to nuclear power is much more than an intellectual stance. There are spiritual reasons for opposing it, as well.

For, as soon as the newly formed Earth grew cool enough to support life, life arose and began evolving. To me this reveals two facts that serve as the basis of my everyday spirituality:

First, that to the Creator of the Universe, life is important.

Second, that to the Creator of the Universe, evolution is important.

The Creator has spent billions of years evolving Life on Earth to where it is now. The very machinery of evolution consists of genes and chromosomes in which the instructions for making and evolving Life are written in terms of DNA sequences.

Thinking like this, the inherited genetic material of all species... reveals itself as sacred. It is the closest thing we have to "The Written Word of God."

Radiation is the most deadly of all poisons to which inherited genetic material is vulnerable.

The deliberate creation of radiation that almost certainly eventually will be accidentally leaked or purposefully introduced into the planetary biosphere, then, can be described as "sinful." Facebook Icon.