By Karen Asfour
I watched in horror at the time of the tsunami as the Japanese, the most advanced technical society in the world, struggled, trying to prevent a huge nuclear disaster. Their efforts were partially successful, yet there were and continue to be massive radiation leaks and the severity of this disaster has received a Level 7 classification on the International Nuclear Event Scale matching that of the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.
This past year, I followed with dread the proposed project to build a nuclear power plant in Jordan, first to be located in Aqaba and then later, near Mufrak. With the earthquake and resulting disaster in Japan I thought that this would surely put to rest that bad idea. If Japan, located on a major fault line, couldn’t contain a nuclear disaster, how could Jordan, with the seismic active Great Rift Valley running through the length of the country, possibly do so?
According to Wikipedia, this is a list of contemporary earthquakes in the region, the biggest being in 1927: 1906 earthquake in Palestine * 1927 earthquake in Palestine * 1943 Jabal al-Druze earthquake * 1956 Chouf Mountain earthquake * 1969 Sharm el-Sheikh earthquake * 1979 Dead Sea earthquake * 1995 Red Sea earthquake * 2004 earthquake in Israel * 2007 Jordan Valley * 2008 South Lebanon earthquake (felt in Mafraq and Zarqa, * 2011 northern Jordan Valley
Shouldn’t this tragedy in Japan cause everyone, worldwide to look at their nuclear programs in new light and begin the process to phase them out? Shouldn’t this put a stop to all future development plans, especially those of Jordan?
How naive I am. As of April 1, 2011, there were 61 nuclear reactors in the process of being built and 158 of them either on order or planned, including the one for Jordan, to join the 440 that are currently in operation.
It now seems that I have to wrap my head around the fact that it must be in some select group’s interest to “go nuclear” in Jordan, but I object! It is not in my interest nor my children’s interest. Instead, I support renewable solar and wind energy, both of which Jordan has in plentiful supply and both of which are clean and safe.
I humbly honor the Japanese lives and lament their loss. I thought their sacrifice might teach and inspire us to pursue a nuclear free energy future. Perhaps it is not too late, perhaps a moratorium will be placed on this technology and perhaps the lives of these brave Japanese will not have been lost in vain…dare I have hope?