23rd March Seminar @ PolyU

Janus of Nuclear Power: How the “Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power” was promoted in Japan

Date: 23th March 2013

Time: 14:30 - 16:30

Venue: Room EF312, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Speaker: Yuki Tanaka

The ongoing grave situation at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which continues to contaminate vast areas of surrounding land and sea with high levels of radiation, forces us to reconsider the devastating impact of the so-called “peaceful use of nuclear power” upon all forms of life, including human beings and nature. The scale of damage to human beings and the environment caused by a major accident at a nuclear power plant, where radiation is emitted either from the nuclear vessel or spent fuel rods, may be comparable to that resulting from nuclear weapons. In this sense, a nuclear power accident can be seen as an “act of indiscriminate mass destruction,” and
thus “an unintentionally committed crime against humanity.” My talk will discuss why and how the U.S. government initiated the “Atoms for Peace” policy from the early 1950s, and how Japan, i.e., the nation that had been the victim of the world’s first atomic bombing, became one of the most
important target nations for the promotion of this policy. In particular I will discuss how the U.S. successfully made A-bomb survivors strong supporters of the peaceful use of nuclear power, and in due course how the Americans also exploited the medical research conducted at the ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) based in Hiroshima to downgrade the effects of radiation on human bodies.

Interpretation into English will be provided for speeches in other langauges.