Archive for November, 2019

Ethics – conclusion on ethics of nuclear industry

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (  [Extract] “………Conclusion:   It is believed that background radiation instigated evolution of our species along millions of years passed; however, mutations induced by radioactivity from the nuclear industry produce species that cannot adapt, such as the genetically damaged children of Chernobyl and the Fukushima Butterflies and other species of the rich biodiversity around us. Hitherto, we have proved that nuclear energy is neither safe, sustainable nor economic and eventually accumulates debts, poverty, water scarcity, and enmity between nations as well as it enhances environmental and health degradation for millions of years.

We have also reached a conviction that sustainability presupposes peace. Conflicts and wars over natural, unsustainable and risky resources, such as the nuclear industry and fossil fuels, present an acute danger, not only to human life but also to the integrity of the environment and the eco-system at large.

Nuclear Energy advocates are thus anthropocentric in their perception to the world; we ought to change that into a biocentric or an ecocentric perception if we seek a sustainable future for life on Earth. Our moral duty cannot accept such a diabolic source of pollution that can be avoided by using safer and more sustainable available alternatives, such as renewable clean energy solutions: solar, wind, bio-gas, geothermal and ocean energies?

We believe that Sustainable Development is only possible through the Energy of Peace: Renewable Energy; the source of energy that no one would fight over and can eventually sustain Energy Equity and Environmental Justice. No one can shade the Sun or stop the wind or monopolize ocean tidal and wave energy!!!

Is it true that our moral decisions and ethical responsibilities can play a role in decision making over serious issues, such as nuclear power?

We believe it is possible to make a difference, which is why we promised an ecosophical conclusion in the abstract. Our example comes from Germany when the report of the Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy Supply in 2011 drew the future for nuclear-free Germany in 2022. Our inspiration comes also from H. Horsburgh while reflection on the possibility of nuclear annihilation: “only the non-violent can inherit the Earth …the violent can only deny them a world to inherit” (49). We agree with Alan Carter (50) that the only ethics which can survive is Environmental Ethics.

If we thus agree that we did not inherit the world from our ancestors, but rather “we have borrowed it from our children”, then we “ought to” resort to the precautionary Principle in our moral decisions, perhaps as defined by the United Nations: 

The precautionary principle (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 1992) holds forth that “a point can presumably be reached when human well-being and environmental health are put at risk by a large-scale human activity or man-made system over which humans have control. At such a point the problem could be identified, a course charted, and precautionary actions taken to ameliorate or prevent a potential threat to human and environmental health on behalf of current and future generations”.

Since Copenhagen`s (COP 17) 2009 behind-the-stage deal over a policy of “mitigation” we ought to continue advocating for more stringent measures if Earth is to be saved the consequences of Global Warming. It is now verified that the point of no-return for Global Warming is 450 ppm CO2 which is probably a decade away if something serious is not done right now, so why has no serious action been under way at present, particularly by China and the USA who are producing almost 42% of the world’s global emissions? Why, on the other hand, have we acted so swiftly when the Ozone Hole was discovered over the South Pole in 1985?

 Surprisingly, only two years after the discovery of the Ozone Hole, the Montreal protocol was signed, amended in 1990 in London and Copenhagen. By the year 2000 the world can no longer produce harmful products to the Ozone layer, such as CFCs, and consequently invented much less damaging replacements such as HCFCs. By 2003 recovery of the Ozone was on its way! So, why were we so efficient in dealing with the Ozone issue while GHGs are still short of a world’s consensus, although it is life threatening too?

The answer to this question we wish to leave open for further research!

(copious references on original)

Ethics of burdening developing countries with nuclear debts and nuclear wastes

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (President)  [Extract]

“…..5- Nuclear energy in the South!

If all the latter costs were reallocated to consumers, an increase in the price for electricity between €0.139 and €2.36 for each kilowatt-hour will have to be administered for a period of commitment of 100 years(45). These estimates explicate the true cost of electricity produced from nuclear sources, similar to some predictions discussed earlier in the Japanese case, and thus urge few more reflections on the issue, such as:

Can developing countries in the South afford the actual prices of each KWh?

Is it ethical to overburden these developing nations with loans and radioactive waste management for millions of years?

To what extent can developing countries afford the risk of experiencing a major nuclear accident?

If small developing nations disintegrate due to a nuclear catastrophe, does this outcome open the way to asylum seekers flocking towards the North?

If a nuclear catastrophe strikes in the South, is the North ready to accommodate environmental refugees from the South?

If the answer is still yes, we suggest reminding the North that corruption risks are much higher in the South compared to the North, which thus dooms the investment in nuclear energy a failure! Furthermore, extra load management, upgrading the electricity grid, providing cooling water, constructing desalination plants for the cooling towers and facilitating the proper infra-structure are all factors to consider. Not to mention that a higher risk of a catastrophe would be predicted in the South due to shortages in skilled labor and because of the loose ends of cultural safety values typical of under developed countries.

As for non-proliferation, each nuclear power plant of around 1000 MW produces around 200 kg of plutonium every year, which is enough to arm 20 nuclear warheads. Wouldn’t that be an incentive for some countries to plunder the resources of others by force?

Enriching uranium U235 to 3.5%, for use in nuclear reactors, produces huge amounts of U238 (depleted Uranium), enough to encase tonnes of missiles annually. Who can guarantee these lethal weapons not to be used in the future for the destruction of humanity, as it has already been used in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Environmental degradation already accounts for 3-5% of GDP for some countries in the Middle East and North Africa, such as Jordan and Egypt. Uranium mining in these countries will worsen the environmental conditions which are already out of control, such as phosphate tailings in Rusaifa and Hasa in Jordan, which have bewailed the natural environment beyond recovery!

Creation of jobs is essential too when considering any investment in the South as unemployment is very high there. In a country like Namibia, were uranium mines had been utilized for a long time, the percentage of unemployment reached 51.2% in 2008(46). What about construction and operating nuclear facilities, are they labor intensive?

Energy source-jobs per tera watt hours are underlined in the following table:

Natural Gas 250 jobs / TWh
Coal 370 jobs / TWh
Nuclear 75 jobs / TWh
Wood 733 jobs / TWh
Hydro 250 jobs / TWh
Wind 918 – 2400 jobs / TWh
Photo-voltaic 29580 – 107000 jobs / TWh

Table 1: Jobs per tera watt hours of electricity production (47)

It looks quite obvious that the nuclear industry is the poorest concerning jobs per energy production. Hence, developing countries need to be motivated to resort to intensive labor energy sources, away from logging and deforestation, by promoting wind and solar energy which provide far more jobs than the nuclear industry. Renewable and clean energy jobs are both decentralized, require no high skilled labor and are safe and secure energy sources; decentralization and jobs are badly needed in the South as migration from rural areas to cities is intensifying and many skilled labor had already migrated to the North.

As for safety and security, we wonder! With the present reputation of safety and security in the South, can developing countries minimize the risks of a nuclear disaster?

Expert nuclear engineer David Lochbaum responds to our question:

It is not if we are going to have nuclear accidents but when” (48)!

If developing countries can afford nuclear accidents and can recover from such catastrophes, like what happened in Japan at Fukushima, developing countries of the South cannot for the reasons discussed earlier.,,,,,”

Economic feasibility of nuclear power

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (President)  [Extract]

“…..3- Economic feasibility:

Estimates of Chernobyl catastrophe economic damage are briefed as follows:

The human and economic costs are enormous: In the first 25 years, the direct economic damage to Belarus, Ukraine and Russia has exceeded $500 billion” (32)Has this cost been added to the price of KWh of electricity in the USSR?

Examples of some fairly costly nuclear accidents around the world are numerous, we hereby give one example from one county; the USA, since 1979:

Only these minor accidents in the United States alone had caused more than 7 billion dollars in direct damages only in the past 30 years, a fraction compared to what Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents has inflicted on theirs countries. The ethical questions that we wish to raise here are as follows:

Has the cost of short term damage and that on the long term (radioactive pollution, species mutations, etc) been added to the cost of each KW.h of electricity produced from nuclear reactors?

Is economical cost-analysis the only means to address such delicate issues concerning our moral judgment that can eventually affect the future of life on Earth?

To what extent it might be possible to reinforce a mandatory rule of multiplying the cost of nuclear power by an “Environmental Energy Factor” to account for the probable long term potential damage it can inflict on nature and the “built environment”?

Is there no value for intrinsic beauty in nature; a value for nature per se that reflects our aesthetic feeling of duty?

Accidents has proved that safety is a far-fetched dream in nuclear energy, not to mention that the nuclear energy industry has been crippled worldwide, particularly after Fukushima, except in China, Russia, South Korea and India(34). It has become obvious that these countries have given a priority for growth over health and security; severe competition and injustice over equity; profit over humanity; egoism over utilitarianism! The USA, for example, spent 7,960 US$ in 2009 on total health expenditure, double to triple the overall spending of these four countries altogether on health care per capita (S. Korea $1879, Russia $1043, China $347, India $124).

The extra safety regulations and increasing risks after Fukushima and the consequent jump in insurance rates and loan guarantees has rendered the cost of producing electricity uncompetitive compared even to the low cost gas turbine generator. Nuclear energy has already been the most expensive source of energy in 2007, as Moody illustrates in figure 1:  [on original]

A more up to date study surveyed 30 nuclear cost-analyses which showed that the industry-funded studies fall into “conflict of interest” and have illegitimately trimmed cost data; “They exclude costs of full-liability insurance, underestimate interest rates and construction times by using ‘overnight’ costs, and overestimate load factors and reactor lifetimes. If these trimmed costs are included, nuclear-generated electricity can be shown roughly 6 times more expensive than most studies claim(36).

This extra cost had been included in the cost of electricity in Japan that is why the cost of Japanese electricity per KW.h is 5 times that in the United States. Research suggests that if a full-cost pricing system for nuclear electricity is considered, Corporate Capital will leave Japan (37).

The huge capital costs and loan guarantees for nuclear power plants, as shown figure 1, were provided by governments in the past. Since the privatization of electricity companies worldwide by the turn of the century, few countries have ventured in this investment except for either military purposes or for strategic energy security.

It is not a secret that all nuclear facilities started for the purpose of producing nuclear weapons; electricity was a mere by-product then. Nowadays, it has become a profitable industry for the know-how elite, such as France, Russia and South Korea. President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea announced that he has set a goal of exporting 80 nuclear reactors by 2030 (38); but one wonders why would oil-rich countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates venture into such high risk industry?

If alternatives to the shortly predicted depletion of fossil fuels is the reason for a nuclear era, it can still be rejected on the bases of the renewable clean sources of energy available at cheaper, safer and more sustainable solutions, particularly as uranium reserves are expected to run out at approximately the same time as fossil fuels; an issue discussed in details later. Then, there must be more of reasons to “risk” the danger!

If we would avoid discussing political motivations to answer the latter question, such as Shiaa Iran nuclear weapons versus Sunni Arab nuclear capabilities, something similar to Buddhist India versus Moslem Pakistan, and move on directly to socio-economic analysis, we then say:

Risk is seldom taken unless associated with benefit. In risk management three parties are involved: those exposed to the risk, the decision maker and the beneficiary(39). The moral stances towards the risk depend on whether one person in filling more than one position or not? If that person is both the decision maker and the beneficiary then the moral decision will be biased and the players more corrupt.

This is exactly the general case in under developed countries where individualism and instrumental reason prevail over ethical responsibility and the feeling of duty; that is why egoist ethics in the South prevails while utilitarian ethics dominates moral actions in the democratic North!….”

Health Risk Analysis of nuclear power

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (President)  [Extract]

“…..2- Health Risk Analysis

If “risk” is defined as the product of probability of an accident happening with its severity, we ought to start this title by considering first major commercial nuclear accidents of level 7 on the INES scale, as a priority in analysis, so we must consider 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe where “Emissions from Chernobyl reactor exceeded a hundredfold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki(10).

The latest New York Academy report on Chernobyl catastrophe has published horrendous facts of more than a million causalities; the new book concludes: Chernobyl death toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer (11). A paper by Kristina Voigt and Hagen Scherb also showed that after 1986, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, around 800,000 fewer children were born in Europe than one might have expected. The overall number of “missing” children after Chernobyl could have reached about one million (12); not to mention that the researchers have not covered all countries in their count!

According to UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation), adding to the latter casualties, between 12,000 and 83,000 children who lived in the vicinity of Chernobyl were born with congenital deformations, and also estimate that around 30,000 to 207,000 genetically damaged children were born worldwide (13). Amongst the interesting findings was that only 10% of the overall expected damage was actually seen in the first generation; the worse is yet to come with the offspring. A similar research on butterflies around Fukushima has yielded a similar result which will be discussed later.

As for the level 6 on the INES scale, it is classified as a serious nuclear accident that includes the accident at the Kyshtym facility in Russia in 1957, unfortunately not much research was published! on level 5, accidents with wider consequences include United Kingdom Windscale facility in the year 1957, Chalk River – Canada in 1952 and the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, after which the USA only licensed few new reactors; At present, only three nuclear reactors are being constructed in the United States: Watts Bar 2 reactor (1180 MW) which started  decades ago, and was put on hold till 2007, expected by the IAEA to commercially operate in 2015. Another two reactors; vogtle 3 and Summer 2 of 1200 MW each, are expected to operate in 2017(14).

The Fukushima-Daitii nuclear accident in Japan on March 2011 is also classified as level 5. However, nuclear accidents of level 4 with local consequences include a long list, so are levels 4,3,2 and 1; a non-ending list of accidents(15).

In one year only (2008), according to an IRSN report, 205 accidents were recorded in nuclear facilities (safety and environmental), a noticeable 56% increase compared to the accidents recorded in 2005 which accounted for 131 accidents only. A typical example of those accidents is the leakage of 20 m3 of radioactive water from Socatri facility at Tricastin – France. Some of the radioactive water followed rain water drainage into the eco-system while the rest radioactive water seeped underground polluting the soil and under-ground water aquifers (16).

Since March 2011 funds of hundreds of billions of dollars are being allocated by TEPCO, the Tokyo Electricity Company, as to cover for the direct damages of the Fukushima disaster; however, the scale of damage on biodiversity and genetic disorders is not clearly understood.

The early mutations of butterflies around Fukushima are alarming as the mutations disorders have been increasing with the offspring. Mutations caused by Fukushima disaster radiation had affected 12% of adult pale grass blue butterflies in the surrounding area two months after the March 2011 disaster. When that batch mated, it produced an offspring with an 18% mutation rate. In the following generation, mutations were found in 34% of the butterflies born. In September 2011, a new study disclosed that the adult butterflies displayed 28% mutation rate and their offspring had a whopping 58% mutation rate (17).

In a similar study on mice after 25 years of the Chernobyl catastrophe, it yielded the following outcome: “The rate of mutation amongst the field mice is one hundred thousand times higher than normal” (18).

Another environmental damage connected with the nuclear industry is thermal pollution which is basically the form of water pollution that refers to degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature. The main cause of thermal pollution is attributed to one particular industry, or to be more precise to nuclear power plants that use water as a coolant. After this water has been used as a coolant it is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature. This change in water temperature decreases the amount of oxygen in the water which can lead to negative ecological effects.

Less oxygen in the water can harm fish population, as it can increase the metabolic rate of fish population and other aquatic animals so that they would more likely eat a lot more food in a shorter period of time than if their environment was not changed. This change can lead to imbalance in the food chain, thus resulting in significant long-term damage to many aquatic ecosystems.

Warmer water temperatures are known to lead to reproduction problems for many aquatic animals, and can further cause huge bacteria and plant growth. Warmer waters can even lead to algae bloom resulting in a consequent loss of more oxygen in the water. However, this damage is likely to be ethically benign compared to the mutations that result from radioactivity.

As for the effects of radioactivity on humans, scientists from the universities of Moscow and Leicester examined blood samples from 79 families, the parents of who had been living within a 300 km radius of nuclear reactors. The scientists were surprised by children born between February and September 1994 as cases of mutations had doubled (19). Peter karamoskos, a nuclear radiologist, quotes the following: “There is a linear dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of solid cancers in humans. It is unlikely that there is a threshold below which cancers are not induced(20). Radiation can cause the breakdown in chromosomes, causing Down’s syndrome in babies as well as mental and physical disorders. Children exposed to radiation have a higher risk to develop leukemia (21).

Higher incidence of leukemia in UK children has been reported in the environment of the Sellafield (Windscale) fuel reprocessing facility in England (22-23), not far from the Dounreay reprocessing plant in Scotland (24-25), and also in similar children who lived within a few kilometers from the Aldermaston or Burghfield military weapons facilities in England (26). In a comprehensive survey done by Forman et al(27) and Cook-Mozaffari et al (28-29) reported excess mortality rate due to leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease particularly in young persons living in the vicinity of fourteen nuclear facilities, eight of them electricity generating nuclear plants.

In the United Kingdom, studies of populations living near nuclear power plants have yielded mixed results. Ewings et al (30) found increased incidence of leukemia and lymphoma in young persons near the Hinckley Point power station. Clap et al (31) reported an excess incidence of leukemia in men in five towns near the Pilgrim nuclear power station in Massachusetts…….”


Ethics of Nuclear Energy- climate change

November 30, 2019

Ethics of Nuclear Energy Ayoub Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (President)  [Extract]


This paper attempts to refute the myth of “clean nuclear energy”, and discusses the unethical impact on the environment of the overall process of the nuclear energy electricity production industry, from mining to decommissioning, through the problematic framework of “health risk analysis”, “economical feasibility” and “sustainability”. It also focuses on the economic and safety fragility of developing countries in the South to deal with big loans or a possible catastrophe, not to mention managing nuclear waste for a very long period of time.

Finally, the paper diverges all the inductions of the different criteria discussed towards inferring a global categorically imperative ethical perception based on a biocentric stance that takes United Nations recommendations into consideration, such as the “Precautionary Principle”, the declarations on Human Rights and the rights of future generations to a healthy and sustainable environment, in order to settle down to an “ecosophical” conclusion.

1- Introduction: The “clean nuclear energy” myth!

Nuclear energy is still one of the options used today across the world, thought to be a clean source of energy that produces neither CO2 nor other Ozone related pollutants into the atmosphere. However, it is now been verified that the complete fuel cycle of nuclear energy production is generous in producing GHG as well as CFCs; from mining and milling to fuel enrichment, constructing and operating the nuclear facility, transportation of nuclear fuel, safety and security measures, reprocessing and recycling the depleted nuclear fuel, manufacturing by-products, encasing and burying the nuclear waste and eventually decommissioning the nuclear facility and its surrounding environment, including the contaminated soil(1).

Concerned communities in Japan who are removing contaminated soil and conducting clean up operations are using independent researchers because they have lost faith in their government: “The roots of mistrust came out after authorities issued radiation readings that often turned out to be incorrect”(2). This comes as a proof that governments don’t consider life cycle assessment mechanisms in calculating accurate GHG emissions, insurance, cost of KWh of electricity produced or genome radioactive infuriation. Most of the research is government sponsored or controlled by nuclear commissions, thus falling in “conflict of interest” controversy.

The nuclear fuel cycle is a generous CO2 emitter that can exceed 288 grams of CO2 e/KWh, or (66)g as a mean value, even when existing studies fail to consider emissions of co-products (3) which cause global warming too. Research on light water nuclear reactors showed CO2 emission up to 220 g/KWh (4), yet this value is expected to rise as uranium ore grade worldwide is deteriorating by time. The USA ore grade average, for example, dropped from 0.28% U3O8 to 0.07 – 0.11% (1100 ppm) in 40 years (5). The complete life cycle assessment mechanism considered to calculate CO2 equivalent (CO2 e/KWh) in the previous analysis can raise this value significantly!……”