|This article is written in Feburary 2001 by Olli Tammilehto and translated by Timo Vuorio. You can publish it in English or in any other language but you should first inform the author.|
Finland's government will make their decision on the new nuclear power plant mostly on the basis of the material delivered by the power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK). The information in the documents these bodies have delivered is clearly one-sided and of very limited scope. Issues pertaining our knowledge of nuclear power are not properly discussed, which makes the material practically worthless. Especially the view point of sociology of knowledge is completely absent.
Just a very small fraction of the knowledge concerning nuclear power has been produced by Finnish research, and even that fraction is based on the paradigms created elsewhere. Of course, the same goes for many other sciences or areas of knowledge, too. But when we evaluate the mainstream of "nuclear science", this is essential. The honesty and impartiality of the Finnish nuclear researchers is not enough. We have to know what the international scientific establishment is like, the establishment where the official truths about – say – radiation safety, are produced.
The credibility or legitimacy of science is not about the genius of certain talented individuals. Our trust on scientific results is based on the assumption that it has to be possible for any researcher to criticise the results freely without the researcher having to fear inquisitions or Politburos for his safety or livelihood.
However, the bulk of all knowledge concerning nuclear power is the by-product of nuclear weapons programs of the superpowers, particularly of the USA. For this reason "the national security interests" have been put before scientific freedom or the autonomy of research. A scientist whose research results might have increased the costs of nuclear bomb projects, slowed them down or perhaps even prevented a nuclear test, may soon have found himself unemployed or at least maligned.
Among the researchers loyal to the nuclear weapons establishment therés a cynical subculture where it is often more important to protect nuclear programs from humans than to protect humans from nuclear programs. In a declassified “top secret” Atomic Energy Commission's memo the Mormons and Indians left under nuclear fallout are called "a low-use segment of the population"(1). When cancer ratio among this sacrifice population increased, researchers consistently tried to make the victims believe that they had only psychological problems.
A particularly brutal case is where prisoners were used as guinea pigs and taken to fallout area of a nuclear test and thus exposed to radiation and other effects. Local people who saw these victims got worried, but "researchers" tried in every way to convince that they had seen nothing alarming, they had simply suffered mental disorders.
It is clear that in a research culture like this it is impossible to separate the sheep from the goats. Genuine research results are confused with politically appropriate lies. The value of the resulting knowledge is not much greater than the Lysenko-esque biology in Stalins' Soviet Union. Joseph Camilleri, who has studied the relationship between nuclear power and the state, calls nuclear research a bureaucratic science(2).
All this is more than enough to prove that building a new nuclear power plant in Finland is not "in line with the overall good of society"(3), at least if this means promoting goals that the Finnish people consider ethical, without considering indigenous peoples or anybody living east of Olkiluoto or Loviisa "a low-use segment of population".
(1) Gallagher, Carole: American Ground Zero, The Secret Nuclear War. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1993
(2) Camilleri, J. A.: The State and Nuclear Power, Conflict and Control in the Western World. Harvester, Brighton 1984
(3) "In line with the overall good of society" is what Finland's Nuclear energy act requires from any nuclear facility.
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