Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bliss Point!

The Future Of Nuclear Technology In The Civilian And Military Spheres

Does anyone remember how the Communists had opposed the advent of computers in India, almost a decade back from today? Today, even a die-hard Communist wouldn’t dare to imagine life without computers.

Every new technology had met opposition when they came into existence, because of the social or financial or moral damage it threatened to mankind. So it is, with the nuclear technology. So it is, with almost everything on this planet: there’s a flipside to every story; there’s a by-product to every invention.

What is the nuclear technology? It is a technology that promises us huge quantities of energy by the mere fission of two mere nuclear particles. The question is, how do we propose to use the energy? Definitely, a normal human being, born in the 21st century, would say, that this source should be used to fuel the engines that practically run our daily livelihood. Electricity for civilians, for example, amongst many. With the world under the threat of extinct resources of energy, any new alternative is welcome, isn’t it? Now welcome to the flipside: the military uses. With the weapon manufacturing industry being a highly profit-yielding and competitive one, the scientists can’t be silenced about the mass-destruction weapons that the nuclear technology hints at. Especially, when the world woke up to its arrival with a nuclear bombing. That was a mistake; the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that is. If we had heard of windmills pumping out city-devastating storms, we would be having a similar debate on them as well.

What we need right now, can be encapsulated in two points: One, we need to forget the military impact, to enable the civilian benefits of nuclear technology to reach the masses, without its multitude of legal and social issues. Two, the weaponries ought to be discouraged to manufacture nuclear bombs. We need to understand that a war is a wicked thing. Neither the attacker nor the defender gains a ticket to heaven by exploding each other’s habitat. Erasing war is too far-fetched an idea, I know. But, as long as people get angry enough to shoot each other, governments can get angry enough to blast each other too! What we might do is, just make each other understand, that you can hurt your enemy, if you’re angry, but not obliterate him completely!

At the end of the day, the common man doesn’t care whether his country’s boundaries exist or not; he cares whether his bedroom is cozy enough or not. At the end of the day, I don’t care whether my identity is a French or an African; I care whether my stomach feels empty or full. If we remember that every morning when we wake up, we would never waste our energies on quarrels or brawls during the day! We would use our physical energies to earn the bread of the day; the better the food, the better the mood!

The philosophy for our muscular power applies to nuclear power too. We can’t risk a future without any electricity, in the fear of a future with deformed babies!

I don’t know how feasible a genuine global agreement on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, is. I don’t know if there’s a non-violent way we can ensure no country is secretly building nuclear arsenals. I don’t know if we can ever have international co-operation on the military sphere. But we can’t stop the use of Xerox machines because the carbon-paper manufacturers are starving. We can’t ban “progress” because of its by-products. We have to take the risk. Decades later, if and when one sees New York or Paris sparkling at night, with nuclear-powered lamps, not many of us will remember the anti-nuclear campaigns, that we’re seeing today!

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