Absolute power corrupts absolutely — and that goes for nuclear energy as well. Though it has been a force humans have played with for decades, it is clear that we have yet to learn our lesson on the dangers of nuclear power. Death and disease in exchange for power and control have left a lasting nuclear legacy for mankind and yet the lessons haven’t quite been strong enough. But there are groups worldwide who advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, based in Ventura, has as its mission to spread the message against nuclear weapons and for world peace. This Sunday at 3 p.m., CPR’s Co-chair Dr. Robert Dodge will present “From Hiroshima to Fukushima: A Nuclear Legacy” at the Foster Library’s Topping Room in Downtown Ventura. It will be followed by a vigil at Plaza Park.

Dodge spoke with the VCReporter this week about the nuclear legacy.

Hiroshima was a consequence of war. Fukushima was a consequence of energy demands and environmental disaster. How do the two relate?
Hiroshima was the target city for the dropping of the first nuclear bomb, with its horrific effects, and marked the dawn of the nuclear age 67 years ago. Fukushima is the latest city to fall siege to the terrible potential related to nuclear explosions. The common denominator for both is nuclear explosions with the fallout and legacy felt for generations through devastating effects on health and the environment. The fallacy of nuclear power is that it is a controlled nuclear explosion that is fail-safe. This has been shown over and again not to be the case, most recently at Fukushima and previously at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. In addition, a fact that is not widely known is that every nuclear plant produces enough plutonium annually to produce many nuclear weapons.

It seems that time and time again, we don’t learn from our past mistakes, especially when it comes to nuclear energy and the destruction it causes. How can we change this pattern?
As consumers, we have become complacent with the highly subsidized nuclear power industry providing “cheap” energy. There is nothing cheap about it, whether from a fiscal, environmental or health risk standpoint. We need to demand that future nuclear subsidies be stopped and that these resources be shifted to the development of safe renewable energy sources.

What’s the next step for the average citizen after learning and promoting awareness?
As part of nuclear awareness, it is important to speak up and out, encouraging our elected officials to work tirelessly for verifiable nuclear disarmament treaties that even our own military planners agree are necessary and possible. Regarding nuclear power, it is important for each of us to be aware of our own carbon/energy footprint reducing unnecessary usage. There are many easy to use carbon footprint calculators available on line. And certainly supporting the development and installation of renewable energy sources is critical. 

What is the biggest threat to humanity — a nuclear war or the continued use and proliferation of nuclear power plants? What is the likelihood of either happening?
Certainly the risk of nuclear war is the greatest existential risk to humanity every moment of every day. With the global nuclear weapons stockpiles in excess of 20,000 weapons, our survival is dependent on sheer luck that a nuclear bomb is not exploded either by intent or accident. According to the Scientific American issue on “The End” in September 2010, an article describing “Doomsday Scenarios,” they place the odds of nuclear war, with the loss of hundreds of millions of lives, at 1 in 30 over the next 10 years.

What are the consequences of doing nothing?
The consequences of doing nothing result in the potential for the deadliest game of Russian roulette possible. Doing nothing is not an option. Every single person has the ability to make a difference by making their voice heard. Global surveys have shown that the vast majority of citizens around the world support the complete abolition of all nuclear weapons. Our collective ability to effect change is far greater than we realize.

“From Hiroshima to Fukushima: A Nuclear Legacy" will be presented by Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions Co-chair Dr. Robert Dodge on Sunday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m. at the Foster Library’s Topping Room, 651 E. Main St., Ventura. It will be followed by CPR’s annual vigil for peace and nuclear weapons abolition at 4:30 p.m., commemorating the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Vigil will be held in Plaza Park at the Peace Garden. CPR events are free and open to the public.