Living with the Nuclear Legacy

September 1, 2016
By Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace


Bike Around the Bomb participants plus Raging Grannies. Photo by Scilla Wahrhaftig

Seventy-one years ago the US dropped the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, destroying the city and its people. This was the beginning of the nuclear age, and Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace recognized this year’s anniversary with three events.

The Pittsburgh City Council issued a Proclamation supporting our advocacy for “a world free of nuclear weapons and for raising awareness of the value of renewable energy and the perils associated with using nuclear power as an interim technology.”

tumblr_inline_ocqphkmr0n1rje6dk_540On the eve of the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb, we partnered with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers to show the film “Containment”. It is a sobering documentary about the issue of storage of nuclear waste for tens of thousands of years to come. How can we be sure that the nuclear waste we store will be safe from leakage for tens of thousands of years? How do we show people many years from now that what is buried under the ground could be lethal to populations in the future? Will English even be understood that far into the future? The film was followed by a skype conversation with peace activists in both Japan and Guam, where it was already the morning of August 6. They made us aware of the impact of the US military presence in both areas. (See sidebar).

The next day, the actual anniversary for us, Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace conducted our second annual Bike Around the Bomb. A group of bikers rode 13 miles around Pittsburgh in recognition of the perimeter of the initial blast and to illustrate the extent of the destruction that would occur if even a small nuclear bomb were dropped on our city. At the halfway point the bikers were able to enjoy refreshments and a chance to hear from the Raging Grannies.


The Bike Around the Bomb team assembles. Photo by Robin Alexander.

At all these events we displayed part of our “Strange Beauty” exhibit. These are photos taken by photojournalist Takashi Morizumi of everyday objects from Fukushima that were exposed to radiation. The images glitter and draw the viewer in with their extraordinary beauty, then lead us to reflect on the effects of radiation.

This year, the fifth anniversary of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, we focused on the dangers associated with the use of nuclear power and the lack of a solution for the storage or disposal of nuclear waste. We are increasingly hearing arguments that nuclear power is needed as a transition technology.

We hope that our events this year have caused many Pittsburghers to conclude that the devastating impact on people and on our planet in the event of an accident, and the absence of meaningful solutions for clean up or the disposal of nuclear waste, mean that the large amounts of money required to build nuclear power plants would be much better spent on renewable alternatives.

Remembering Hiroshima , Imagining Peace is a diverse group of organizations and individuals who work together to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.


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