Catholic World News

Reject destructive technologies, Ecumenical Patriarch says in Chernobyl message

April 27, 2016

In a message for the thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said that “we have reached a point in technological development where we must learn to say ‘No!’ to technologies with destructive side effects.”

“We have been gifted with unique resources of a beautiful planet,” wrote the Ecumenical Patriarch, who holds a primacy of honor among the Eastern Orthodox churches. “However, these resources of underground carbon are not unlimited—whether they are the oil of the Arctic or the tar sands of Canada, whether they are the coal of Australia or the gas in Eastern Europe.”

He continued:

Moreover, with regard to nuclear energy specifically, we cannot assess success or sustainability purely in terms of financial profit—the disasters at Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011) have amply demonstrated the human, financial, and ecological cost. Nor, indeed, can we ignore the other problems of nuclear power, such as waste disposal and vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

Calling for self-restraint, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that “perhaps the greatest lesson and recollection from Chernobyl is that we must share the world with all people. What we do in the world and for the world affects people’s lives.”

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 29, 2016 9:57 AM ET USA

    The nuclear power industry is among the safest industries on earth. For more than 50 years nuclear power has served as a safe alternative to fuel combustion power plants. Each of the three incidents mentioned above was ultimately caused by human error: faulty human interventions at Three Mile Island, positive void coefficient at Chernobyl, and lack of preparedness for a 9.0 moment magnitude earthquake and 50 foot tsunami in the case of Fukushima. Lessons were learned, designs have been improved.