From Chernobyl to Fukushima

From Chernobyl to Fukushima  After almost 70 years of civilian use, the various accidents that have marked the history of nuclear energy reveal our inability to control the power of the atom fully. A look at the weakness of the civilian nuclear power industry.   The health and environmental risks posed by radioactivity were not revealed until relatively late in the history of atomic power. In the 1920s and 30s, radioactivity was seen as a miracle remedy rather than a lethal substance because of the progress it achieved in the field of medicine and the unshakable faith in the alliance between science and technology that the Industrial Revolution gave the Western world. Advertising poster for the energizing drink Zoé (1950) Only once the first cancers were diagnosed and attributed to daily contact with radioactivity did its dangerousness come to light, especially in the watchmaking industry in the town of Bienne, Switzerland. At the end of WWII, the devastation caused by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki raised the first ethical questions. At once apocalyptic and divine, the atom recalled the fire granted to mankind by Prometheus, as well as the ensuing question: would mankind one day deserve such power? The control of its devastating power presupposes the infallible safety of the technology used to prevent inevitable human errors as well as political stability and wisdom. The interdependence of...

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