1976 General Resolution

WHEREAS, the electric power industry in the US and Canada has proposed a huge program of constructing nuclear power plants as an answer to the problems caused by the growing shortage of petroleum and the pollution caused by old-fashioned coal-burning plants; and

WHEREAS, scientific hopes that nuclear energy would provide a safe, nonpolluting source of power have been frustrated (at least temporarily) by the discovery of many unforeseen dangers to human life and health such as:

  1. The high probability that many people would be exposed to low-level radiation, an eventuality which is known to cause birth defects and to result in deaths from cancer, usually after time delays of years;
  2. The highly probable exposure of future generations to the lethal effects of the long-lived radioactive waste products inevitably produced by nuclear power plants;
  3. Uncertainty in regard to the likelihood of catastrophic release of radioactive materials into the environment, because estimates of "nuclear safety" published by the nuclear power industry and its government sponsors neglect the dangers resulting from defects in construction and the lack of an adequate program for training nuclear power plant inspectors and operators; and

WHEREAS, the ambitious plans for the construction of additional nuclear power plants involve a serious dilemma: either use up known reserves of uranium within a few decades, or convert to the still undeveloped breeder reactor, which is highly dangerous because it depends upon the production of plutonium in the reactor, and existing proposals for safeguarding the plutonium against theft or diversion for use by terrorists appear to require special pervasive security apparatus incompatible with American and Canadian traditions of freedom;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: That the 1976 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association regards it as essential to health and safety of the population of North America that construction of additional nuclear power plants be prohibited unless and until adequate means for overcoming all serious threats to life shall have been provided.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That government support of development of breeder reactors should be suspended unless there are provided adequate funds for expediting research and development in the following areas:

  1. Provision of safe storage facilities for existing stocks of radioactive wastes whether military or civilian in origin, and for any such wastes produced in the future;
  2. Provision of means for overcoming the other dangers associated with nuclear power plants and the fuel processing and reprocessing plants upon which the power plants depend;
  3. Completion of the development of safer and less polluting methods for mining and utilizing coal;
  4. Acceleration of the development of more beneficent sources of power, such as solar power, wind power, tidal power, and seawave power.

BE IT ALSO FURTHER RESOLVED: That the 1976 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the American and Canadian governments to require the nuclear power plants now in existence to release to the public all information concerning their operation and radioactive waste disposal; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: That to aid in the attainment of a safer and less polluting energy economy, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Association are hereby urged to petition their respective governments to issue appropriate regulations and to join in promoting comprehensive programs to eliminate wasteful and extravagant uses of energy.

For more information contact socialjustice@uua.org.

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