Maryknoll leadership calls for alternatives to nuclear power

The damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan on March 21. (CNS/Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Reuters)

The production of nuclear power poses threats to the health of people and the well-being of the environment and should be abandoned in favor of alternate forms of energy, says a statement from Maryknoll leadership.

Released today, the statement also connects the development of nuclear energy to nuclear weapons proliferation, which has been opposed by church officials worldwide, including Pope Benedict XVI.

“At this time, we know that the end of fossil fuel power for our energy is dwindling. As this dwindles people are looking for alternatives. What we’re saying is that nuclear energy is not the alternative to go for,” says Kathy McNeely, interim director of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns in Washington.

“We think we need to start looking at alternatives. That really means living more simply that others might live,” she explains.

The statement is backed by a 16-page backgrounder that explores the dangers posed by nuclear energy.

McNeely told Catholic News Service this morning the statement was issued to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in northeast Japan. Three of the plant’s four reactors were disabled by the giant wave after a catastrophic magnitude 9 earthquake. The plant was damaged so severely that high doses of radiation were released, contaminating nearby communities and adjacent areas of the Pacific Ocean, scientists say.

Maryknoll sisters in New Mexico ministering alongside uranium miners routinely exposed to radiation in the course of their work as well as sister in ministry in Japan pushed the society to research the issue and publish a statement, according to McNeely.

The Catholic Foreign Missionary Society (Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers) and Maryknoll Lay Missioners also supported the statement.

The fact that Maryknoll’s headquarters in Ossining, N.Y., is located less than 10 miles from the Indian Point nuclear power plant also influenced the order’s leadership, the statement says.

While the statement does not explicitly state which alternative energy forms must be developed, McNeely says it is prudent for the world to explore “things that don’t exact such a high cost on people and the earth.”

Plans call for distributing the document to key members of Congress, Maryknoll supporters and faith-based organizations for study, reflection and action, McNeely adds.

5 Responses

  1. So, now we have some Maryknollers getting on the bandwagon against nuclear energy despite its overall good record. What? Windmills that don’t work without wind, not to mention the complexity of storing their energy when they do work and the energy isn’t needed.

    Does anyone really think that alternatives to fossil fuels aren’t being sought? More important: Does anyone think a government can come up with the solution? Where in recorded history has that happened?

  2. We need to go ahead with oil. Nuclear is very dangerous and should be abandoned for even coal and wood. People got along with those elements for billions of years and they are better for the atmosphere than some would like us to believe.
    Those who hate America are telling us the wrong things, anything to keep us from being free.
    There is one thing however, a very good supply of Sea Kelp should be at hand in case there is an earthquake, war or other disaster which would cause a nuclear disaster. Sea Kelp will keep the thyroid from absorbing the radiation. Look this up online for further info.

  3. Attacking nuclear power without offering viable alternatives is absurd, particularly during a time of economic instability. Considering the plight of the world’s poor, the crises of food and potable water, I’m very disappointed that the Maryknollers decided to waste time and energy on this statement.

  4. With all due respect to Maryknoll, they would do well to stick to the core of their charism: EVANGELIZATION!! Bishop Walsh and Fr. Price would be seriously disappointed to see that their order is wasting precious time and resources on non-spiritual matters instead of focusing on the salvation of souls!

    May the Holy Spirit quickly bring about the New Springtime! Prayers!

  5. Somehow I feel much safer in a nuclear plant then on the highway.

    I wonder if the good Fathers realize that walking in the clear & fresh air, we are bombarded by radiation. This radiation is not only from space, but from the very rocks we stand on. Yes some rocks do give off radiation, small but present.

    Wonder where the heat and light would come from, in a -30 deg, no wind night, on the Northern plains.

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