It is a characteristic of human beings that we tend to take effective action only when it is too late. The problem of continuing to supply industrial countries with enough electrical energy to power their various activities has been evident for years and many scientists have issued statements warning everyone of the crisis that will soon arise as the oil and then coal are exhausted. Details of the technical aspects of this problem have been given in Chapter 3. Here we are concerned with the moral problems. Many Churches have rightly considered that this is a moral as well as a technical problem, and have organised conferences and issued statements. In this section these official reactions of various Church authorities are summarised and reviewed. In addition to the official statements many individuals have formed groups and issued statements of their own. These have often influenced the official Church actions.
The role of the Churches in the energy debate has been considered in an article by Kenneth Fernando of Sri Lanka in a booklet 'Energy for my neighbour: Perspectives from Asia' edited by Janos Pasztor and published by the World Council of Churches in 1981. He begins by recognising the reality of the energy crisis and the limited influence of the Churches. Nevertheless he maintains that the Churches must use whatever influence they have not only by discussing the ethical issues but by actions that use its source of power, 'the power of the people, the power of suffering and the power of God at work in the world'.
'The first task of the Churches is to work for a better understanding — a new understanding — of man's relationship with nature. The book of Genesis teaches that man has been endowed with "dominion" over all the earth.' Emphasis on this aspect has 'led to an unbalanced doctrine of man's relationship with nature'. Thus 'an aberration in the Western Christian ideology has led to a theology that justifies a rapacious attitude towards the gifts of nature'. 'Traditional Asian thought is very different. Man is a part of nature and therefore cannot seek to master nature. He must live with it, in harmony with it. He is entitled to use nature, but not to abuse it. He is entitled to develop it, but not to exploit it. This idea of living in harmony with nature is by no means alien to the Judeo-Christian tradition.'
'Another task which the Churches must perform is to fulfil their prophetic role. It is the duty of the Churches to speak out like the prophets of old, whether they are heeded or not, whether it makes them popular or not.'
He concludes his article with some practical suggestions. We must rethink our lifestyle so as to use less energy and no more than our fair share of the earth's resources. 'The Churches cannot remain neutral in the face of the energy crisis. They must take sides with the poor, since they are the worst affected Protests against injustice generally are not likely to be of much avail. It is necessary to focus attention on one or two specific issues and to mobilise support for them.' As examples of this he cites Mahatma Gandhi's advocacy of 'spinning and weaving in India, to draw attention to the injustices of a dependent Indian economy', and 'the issue of infant foods to expose the fact that multi-national corporations create artificial needs in the third World in order to satisfy them'. Similar actions must be taken in relation to the energy crisis.
It is not easy to comment on technical subjects in non-technical language. The choice between energy sources is not a subjective matter like assessing the merits of two pieces of music. The capacities, costs, and safety of the various methods of energy generation must be expressed numerically, as this forms the only basis for a rational discussion. Naturally there are uncertainties associated with these figures, but these can themselves be treated by familiar statistical techniques. There are some rather subjective aspects, especially when it comes to assessing the effects on the environment, but basically it is a quantitative discussion that must be conducted in quantitative terms. If this is not done, it becomes just a matter of emotion and rhetoric. It is fatally easy to put together true statements so as to convey a totally false impression, and this is the technique used by the propagandist who wishes to provide support for policies already decided on quite different grounds.
The remainder of this section is devoted to accounts of a representative sample of Church statements on nuclear power. In some cases it is necessary to make critical comments, so it is appropriate to emphasise that I fully accept that the people responsible for them are dedicated individuals whose only aim is to serve the community. Unfortunately the highest motives do not guarantee freedom from error. No good purpose would be served by covering this up, but no criticism of the authors is implied by critical analyses of their statements.
1. The Church of England
Nuclear Crisis. Edited by Hugh Montefiore and David Gosling (Prism Press, 1977), p. 165.
This is a serious and substantial attempt to tackle a particular problem, namely whether fast breeder reactors should be developed in Britain. According to the Foreword, it is 'part of a world-wide effort by the Churches to respond to the challenge of new technology.' The initiative came ultimately from the World Council of Churches, whose General Assembly requested the British Council of Churches to convene public hearings. They in turn asked Bishop Montefiore and Dr. Gosling (a nuclear physicist) to arrange the hearings. The book contains an edited account of the submissions to an expert panel and the cross-examination of expert witnesses at the Public Hearings on the Projected Commercial Fast Reactor CFR-1 held in London in December 1976.
The book contains a considerable amount of detailed information, essentially all of which is available elsewhere. There is much expression of contrasting opinions, but rather little attempt to decide what is right and what is wrong. Bishop Montefiore repeatedly emphasises that 'our aim on this panel is not to pass a verdict but to expose arguments and assumptions.' On the dust jacket it is written that 'the hope is that on reading the cut and thrust of debate the public will be able to make up its own mind on whether the nation should commit itself to a long term nuclear programme.' This is wishful thinking. How many of 'the public' are likely to read this book, and of these how many are able to make an informed judgement? If the distinguished and expert members of the Panel cannot make such a judgement, what hope is there that members of the public will be able to do so? In saying this it is not implied that the Panel should have been able to give a direct yes or no to the question of whether to build CFR-1. This depends on economic and political questions that are changing and possibly difficult to decide. But they could have clarified the essentially Christian contribution to the debate, in particular with reference to considerations of safety and securing our future energy supply. Although it was perhaps outside the terms of the enquiry, reference could usefully have been made to the impact of our decisions on world energy supply, and in particular the effect on people in the poorer countries. They had the material to make a statement of real value, but failed to do so. Decisions have to be taken now, and on them depend the lives of millions, whether they starve, whether they die. This is the way the world is. Are the Churches willing and able to participate in taking these decisions?
Nuclear Choice: A Christian Contribution to the Debate on the fast Breeder Reactor. An Occasional Paper of the Board for Social Responsibility (CIO Publishing, London, 1977), p. 8.
The Board for Social Responsibility considered that the most useful contribution that it could make to the decision whether or not to build a commercial fast reactor was to issue a short pamphlet which would throw light on the nature of the choices we face. It emphasised that the pamphlet must not be thought of as stating the view of the Church of England; rather it is a 'reflection on these questions in the light of a Christian concern for the right use of the earth's resources, and a proper sense of our responsibility to those who come after us'.
The pamphlet uses the material collected at the public hearings on the question, and published in the book Nuclear Crisis. It is essentially a brief summary of the main questions, with no attempt to distinguish between truth and rubbish. It abounds in statements of the type: 'some say this and some say that'. Some of the statements are simply false, for example: 'Wave power research is being fully supported, and mass production could begin in 1985.' In fact, of course, wave power is not currently capable of meeting our energy needs. The final section on 'The Churches' contains a choice selection of misleading platitudes such as 'the experts disagree', 'the public must be informed' and a demand for more time for issues to be clarified before major decisions are made.
If all that the Churches can do is list arguments in this way, with no attempt to weigh them and come to a conclusion, it is no wonder they are ignored. Far from being responsible, it is the abnegation of responsibility.
It is greatly to the credit of the Church of England that it took the issue of nuclear power very seriously, and devoted much time and trouble to collect information. But this is only a preliminary to a careful and critical analysis of the information, followed by a decision about what action should be taken. The distinguished Panel that conducted the Hearings unfortunately did not go beyond the first of these three steps.
Quite recently, Bishop Hugh Montefiore and Bishop John Oliver have made statements strongly supportive of nuclear power. Impressed by the mounting evidence for global warming Bishop Montefiore concluded that 'the solution is to make more use of nuclear energy', and resigned from his position as a trustee of Friends of the Earth, which he had supported for many years. He added: 'It is crucial if the world is to be saved from future catastrophe that non-global warming sources of energy should be increasingly available after 2010'. He went on to summarise and refute the objections often made against nuclear power and concluded: 'The advantages far outweigh any objections, and I can see no practical way of meeting the world's needs without nuclear energy.
The predictions of the world's scientists are dire, and the consequences for the planet are catastrophic. That is why I believe that we must now consider nuclear energy'. This statement is particularly impressive because for many years Bishop Montefiore has been actively concerned with questions of the morality of nuclear power. Bishop Oliver, in his contribution to the Belmont Abbey Conference on environmental questions in 2004, said that: 'I am personally absolutely convinced that we have to have another generation of nuclear power stations.' At the present time, he went on, 'the worst risk is climate change, the second worst risk, I think, is the interruption of our supplies of natural gas. The risk associated with nuclear, I think, is less than those; that is my personal opinion. I am sorry, personally, that the Government White Paper did not say we have to go straight forwardly for the new generation of nuclear power; I think we have to'.
2. The Methodist Church
1. Shaping Tomorrow. Published by the Methodist Church Home Mission Division (1981). Edited by Edgar Boyes, p. 72.
This is a consideration of several modern technologies including electronics, nuclear power and medicine, together with a discussion of the moral issues in the light of Christian principles. Chapter 3 is devoted to nuclear power and contains discussion of the energy problem, nuclear reactions, God's purpose in nature, energy resources, risks and social implications. The treatment throughout is well-informed, accurate, illustrated with well-chosen statistics, balanced and comprehensive. The conclusions are worth recording in their entirety:
1. Nuclear energy is an integral part of nature, just as much God's creation as sunshine and rain.
2. It does offer mankind a new energy source which is very large, convenient and not very costly.
3. Around the world the most important energy sources, oil in the rich world and wood in the poor, are becoming scarce, so that we cannot afford to set aside any energy technology with a large potential which is cost effective, provided it is reasonably safe.
4. There are risks associated with the use of nuclear power, as with everything else, but these have been very carefully evaluated are not very big and are not at all out of scale compared with risks of other energy sources and other ordinary hazards.
This document is a gem that deserves the widest circulation. It is the only reliable and readily-available discussion of nuclear power in the light of the Christian faith.
It is not difficult to understand why this report achieves such a high standard. It was based on two and a half years of work by a group of some sixty scientists, technologists and engineers including many from UKAEA, Harwell. This provided the massive scientific and technical expertise essential for such studies.
It should however be noted that this report is not an official statement of Methodist belief, and it indeed aroused some controversy. A friend of mine, a retired professor of nuclear physics then living in Australia, tried to get a copy of Shaping Tomorrow and wrote to me that 'a friendly and helpful minister of the 'Uniting Church' (formerly Methodist) told me that he thought I would have difficulty because the views propounded were contrary to the policy of the Church here. He was quite right, but I later obtained copies of the booklet from London. I find it very sound and sensible on three questions: genetic manipulation, nuclear energy and microchip technology.' My friend took a copy with him on a visit to New Zealand and 'was amazed and pleased to see with what pleasure and astonishment my intelligent friends read it. They were mostly Methodist but they were taught quite different views in New Zealand'.
It is not surprising that Shaping Tomorrow attracted such opposition within the Methodist Church because it goes against so much antinuclear propaganda that is widely accepted. The writers of the Report certainly performed a signal service not only to Methodists but to all Christians.
If the Methodist Church had only produced Shaping Tomorrow, and had devoted its further energies in this area to disseminating, developing and applying its conclusions, it would have deserved the highest praise. However, the Alliance of Radical Methodists were strongly opposed to Shaping Tomorrow, and produced a further report dealing with the same issues from an alternative point of view. This Report was also published by the Home Mission Division of the Methodist Church, although it felt bound to dissociate itself from some of its content and method. This publication will now be discussed.
2. Future Conditional: Science, Technology and Society — A critical Christian
View. Published by the Home Mission Division of the Methodist Church (1983).
This report is a wide-ranging analysis of the relations between science, technology and society, with particular reference to the situation in Britain. It is written from a radical socialist standpoint, and is thus opposed to the whole capitalistic basis of our society. After a general introduction to the deficiencies of our society, successive chapters are devoted to medicine and health, food and farming, energy, arms production, electronics technology, work, wealth and power, faith, science and the human future, and finally the nature of science. Here we discuss only the chapter on energy. Most of it is devoted to mainly qualitative discussions of the various energy sources and their political and environmental aspects. There is much optimistic enthusiasm for the renewable energy sources, and a long discussion of the disadvantages of nuclear power. Each section is headed by a symbol: that for the section on nuclear power is the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb. Detailed quantitative comparisons of the costs and safety of the various energy sources are conspicuous by their absence, and yet it is only possible to base balanced decisions on this information. There are many references to the hazards of radioactivity, but no quantitative comparison of dose rates from various sources.
The authors of this document are very dissatisfied with the present policies but do not support their alternatives with sufficient factual argument to carry conviction. If one disagrees, as they do, with Shaping Tomorrow, it is essential to try to show where it is incorrect in its detailed scientific analysis. This is where the battle must be fought. One must try to show, for example, that solar or wind power is cheaper and safer than nuclear power. This is not attempted; instead, we are given a mixture of wishful thinking and socialist rhetoric. The same applies to their advocacy of the low energy scenarios, which are not examined in sufficient detail to show their disagreeable consequences. The desire to revolutionise our whole society seems to be of more concern to the authors than the need to feed the poor now. It is not realistic to rely on possible future developments of unpromising energy sources; we must use the means available to us now.
Even judged as a presentation of the socialist case, this is a remarkably poor document. The reason is clear when we look at the list of authors and their qualifications. There is not one professional physicist, and the chapter on energy was written by an engineer who works on solar and wind energy. With the best will in the world, such a group is not equipped to tackle such difficult scientific and technical problems.
It is almost unbelievable that a report of such quality should be published by the same organisation as that responsible for Shaping Tomorrow. To their credit, the publishers were unhappy about it, as they say in the Preface that 'the Division feels bound to dissociate itself from some of the content and method', although it does not say which content and method. It is unhappily inevitable that Future Conditional will undo much of the good done by Shaping Tomorrow. Indeed, it is very likely to have more impact on the young and impressionable by the way it is presented. Was the Home Mission Division of the Methodist Church incapable of distinguishing between excellence and incompetence, between objective scientific analysis and socialist propaganda?
3. The Catholic Church
Several statements have been made by Catholic Episcopal conferences and are published in the volume 'European Churches and the Energy Issue'.
In addition, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences organised a Study Week on 'Mankind and Energy — Needs, Resources, Hopes', and the bishops of the United States issued a detailed statement on the energy crisis.
1. Energy and Mankind-Needs, Resources, Hopes. Proceedings of a Study Week organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and held in the Vatican City from 10-15 November, 1980. Edited by Andre Blanc-Lapierre, Pontificiae Academiae Scientiarum Scripta Varia (46), 1981.
At this meeting about thirty leading authorities on various aspects of energy production presented papers and discussed the moral implications. The result is a very detailed, authoritative and substantial (719 pages) study of the whole energy problem, a mine of information on practically every aspect of the production, distribution and use of the various energy sources. Particular attention is paid to the safety aspects.
In the Conclusion to this meeting it was emphasised that 'at the present stage of world development it is not possible without additional energy availability to cope with the population growth, increasing demand for food, and with the problem of unemployment: furthermore, a lack of energy can indeed menace world peace'.
The present world economic situation is then described, with particular emphasis on the increasing dependence on oil, and the economic consequences of the steep rise in oil prices in the 1970s. This threatens the stability of the existing economies, and puts 'the non-industrialised countries in an extraordinarily vulnerable position'.
Urgent action is needed. 'We have no time to waste. Energy policies are urgently needed, involving concerted action by the responsible bodies, and this requires the support of public opinion and energy users. Unfortunately, even in the industrialised countries, the public consciousness of the problem is lacking.' The industrialised and oil-exporting countries must 'help the poorest countries to develop their own energy resources'.
'Only coal and nuclear power, together with a strong energy conservation policy and continued gas and oil exploitation and exploration, can allow us to effectively meet the additional needs for the next two decades. It is emphasised that the industrialised countries must reduce their oil consumption and leave it essentially for specific end uses (transportation, petrochemistry etc), and for the basic needs of the developing countries.'
'No energy source should be neglected if we wish to resolve the energy crisis. A strong research effort must be made to develop renewable energy sources which, among others things, can encourage decentralisation of human settlements, thus reducing the disturbance of the excessive urbanisation process that has occurred and is still occurring in the world.'
'A mix of energy resources and technologies is essential to reduce the vulnerability of the socio-economic system, and to retain the necessary flexibility, thus being prepared to cope with unforeseen events like sudden changes in source availability'.
'Particular attention was paid to the possible consequences of an increase in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. As carbon dioxide effects on climate are not yet completely understood, continuing extensive researches on climate, on photosynthesis and on the photochemistry of carbon dioxide fixation should be pursued so that possible detrimental affects of carbon dioxide may be detected early enough to take effective actions'.
'As regards the use of nuclear energy, some concern has been voiced as to the possible links between nuclear energy and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In this field, however, it is recognised that, once a certain level of knowledge and technical expertise has been acquired, a country's development of nuclear weapons is primarily determined by political considerations. Thus, with adequate precautions, there is no reason to bar the development of nuclear energy for civil use'.
The safety and health of those engaged in the production of energy should be taken seriously, as well as the safeguarding of the environment.
It should be possible to ensure adequate energy before or about the turn of the century, provided action is taken now. 'Intensive research and development action can make it possible to satisfy the long term energy needs of mankind using the vast reserves of coal, non-conventional oil and gas, uranium in breeders and renewable energies.'
'The recent growth rate of energy consumption in the industrialised countries cannot continue indefinitely. To resolve the present crisis is not sufficient. It is also necessary for these countries to evolve new less energy consuming ways of life, which will promote new patterns of development.'
'All nations have become interdependent, not only insofar as growth rates are concerned, but also with respect to raw materials, agricultural products, technologies, and the knowledge necessary for development. This interdependence and the problems that it poses emphasise the necessity of new kinds of cooperation between nations.'
Scientists are responsible for evaluating the data, and political leaders must take decisions adapted to the needs of both current and future generations, supported by engineers, sociologists and churchmen and indeed all who can influence the future. 'Cooperation between these groups is highly desirable, at the national and even international level, especially insofar as it brings out the human and hence ethical dimension of energy issues.'
The conclusions of this study week of the Pontifical Academy have an authority beyond that of their authors. In this case they were given additional authority by being presented as the contribution of the Holy See to the International Conference on Nuclear Power Experiences organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency and held in Vienna from 13-17, September 1982 (Document IAEA-CN-42/449). The conclusions of the study week were endorsed by Mgr Mario Peressin, the Permanent representative of the Holy See to the IAEA, in his address to the conference. The central feature of his speech was the firm statement that 'my Delegation believes that all possible efforts should be made to extend to all countries, especially the developing ones, the benefits contained in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy'.
It is however notable that the work of the Pontifical Academy has been almost entirely ignored.* It is admirably suited to be the source book of information on the energy problem that further studies could use as a basis, but it has not been used in this way. Thus a conference on 'The Christian Dimensions of Energy Problems organised by the Catholic Union and the Commission for International Justice and Peace and held in Brunel university in April 1982 made no reference to the work of the Pontifical Academy. Thus a great opportunity to propagate sound views on energy problems was lost.
The growing public awareness of the hazards of pollution and climate change has prompted many additional church statements. Notable among them is 'The Call of Creation' issued by the Department of International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in 2002. This is an eloquent and urgent reminder of our responsibility to care for the environment and not to squander the resources of the earth, supported by quotations from the Scriptures. It reminds us that we are already using more than our fair share of the resources of the earth, and our consequent obligation to reassess our lifestyles and to moderate our consumption. Its impact is however lessened by the lack of specific examples of the practical measures that should be taken by the individual and the State. In particular it makes no mention of the urgent and specific recommendations it made by the Pontifical Academy.
4. The World Council of Churches (WCC)
The World Council of Churches has devoted serious attention to the problems of nuclear power, and a chronology of the Church and Society
*An exception is the article Nuclear power: Rome speaks. The Clergy Review (February 1983), vol. LXXVII, p. 49.
Meetings and Publications from 1976 to 1982 is given in the July 1983 issue of Anticipations. Among these are the following documents:
(a) Facing Up to Nuclear Power. Edited by John Francis and Paul Abrecht (1976).
(b) The Churches and the Nuclear Debate. Anticipation, No. 24 (November 1977).
(c) Energy for My Neighbour (1978).
(d) Equations for the Future. Anticipation, No. 26 (June 1979).
(e) Faith and Science in an Unjust World. MIT Conference (1980).
(f) Energy for My Neighbour. Anticipation, No. 28 (December 1980).
(g) Energy for My Neighbour: Perspectives from Asia. (ed.) J. Pasztor (1981).
(h) Alternative Energy Paths; Utopia or Reality? Anticipation, No. 29 (November 1982).
(I) Hope for the Future. Anticipation, No. 30 (July1983).
This list shows that over the years the World Council of Churches has devoted much care and attention to the problems of the energy crisis in general and nuclear power in particular. Many meetings have been held, many experts consulted and many books and articles published. Taken together, this work constitutes the most extensive of all the Church contributions to the nuclear power debate. Particularly valuable and commendable is the constant concern for the poor, ever the mark of the Christian. It is not practicable to summarise all this work here; instead some highlights and failings will be discussed.
In the book 'Facing up to Nuclear Power' Alvin Weinberg identifies the vital issue, namely that scientists and technologists can build nuclear power plants, and can say that if care is taken the likelihood of a serious accident is extremely small, but 'society must then make the choice, and this is a choice which we nuclear people cannot dictate. We can only participate in making it. Is mankind prepared to exert the eternal vigilance needed to ensure proper and safe operation of its nuclear energy system? This admittedly is a significant commitment that we ask of society. What we offer in return, an all but infinite source of relatively cheap and clean energy, seems to me to be well worth the price'.
A general failing is the inability to recognise the real experts and accept their views and to prefer instead the results of a democratic vote by people unfamiliar with the detailed technical knowledge that is necessary to make possible a worthwhile contribution. An example of this is contained in the paper on 'The Churches and the Nuclear Debate'. This contained a magisterial survey by Hans Bethe, a very distinguished nuclear physicist, who presented a survey of the nuclear debate: 'It must be realised that there is a continuing energy crisis, that oil is indeed running out and must be replaced by other energy sources, that most of the alternatives proposed will not work or not be economical, or may only work in the distant future. Energy presents many technical problems. Some of these are soluble, like that of nuclear waste disposal. But there are also problems insoluble by foreseeable technology, such as making large amounts of energy from solar heat in an economic manner. The public should not demand that technology solve an insoluble problem'. A contrary view was provided by Hannes Alfven, like Bethe a Nobel Prize physicist. The participants were told that he was also a nuclear physicist, but he is more accurately described as a magnetohydrodynamicist and so his words are much less weighty that those of Bethe.
There is often a tendency to be content with providing a forum for the expression of differing views and a reluctance to grasp nettles and formulate a clear response. Thus in the same meeting, Bishop Hapgood concluded that 'our group cannot put forward categorical recommendations. It would not feel justified in entirely rejecting, nor in wholeheartedly recommending large-scale use of nuclear energy'. He comments: 'One could scarcely be more judicious than that!' One could also say that it is weak and inconclusive. Was there no one strong enough to master the whole debate, separate the truth from the rubbish, and formulate a clear and convincing response to one of the urgent issues of our times?
Throughout the nuclear debate there is a reluctance to express results numerically. It is often not easy to do this, but approximate numbers, combined with some knowledge of their range of uncertainty, are infinitely better than no numbers at all. The debate can go on for ever if confined to the verbal level, and it can be resolved only at the scientific level. For example, in the document 'Energy for the Future', Karl Morgan discuses radiation exposure, drawing attention to the need to control medical doses, remarking that 'were we to completely eliminate the nuclear power industry to the end of the century, this would reduce the population dose less than would a 1% reduction in our average dose from medical applications. Many other examples are given in this chapter. Instead of decisions reached by experts on the basis of statistical analyses, many of the recommendations at WCC meetings are reached by voting. This may be democratic, but it may well be asked whether all those who voted on these vital matters were thoroughly conversant with the relevant scientific and technical arguments. As an example, the participants at the MIT Conference on 'Faith and Science in an Unjust World' voted in favour of a five-year moratorium on the construction of nuclear power stations. This proposal was endorsed by the Central Committee of the WCC, and yet when this question was raised by Janos Pasztor of the WCC during the study week of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, it was emphatically rejected by the experts present.
In the same publication, PJ. Dyne considers radioactive waste management and says: 'I have examined my conscience long and hard over these matters and I can simply state my conviction: radioactive waste management can be done: it is a reasonable technical objective. If properly done the risks are minimal'.
Sigvard Eklund, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, explains why we need nuclear power over the next three decades and probably as our main source of energy for the centuries. He remarks: 'I am very much disturbed by the growing tendency to mistrust the advice given by outstanding specialists. Instead, one often finds media, the public and even governments preferring to listen to self-appointed 'experts' from other fields or, worse, from no fields at all. The real experts are disqualified by their own expertise, whereas the non-experts are to be believed, because they are considered to be objective'.
Considered as a whole, these publications of the WCC provide a most valuable compendium of information, arguments and views on the desirability of nuclear power. They contain the texts of many lectures by real experts that repay careful study. Particularly laudable is the emphasis on the needs of the poor. On the whole, however, it must be said that there is a tendency to present the arguments and counter arguments without coming to definite conclusions and recommending effective actions.
There are many other statements by the Churches on the desirability of nuclear power, but it would be unduly repetitious to summarise and comment on them all. It may be useful, however, to list a few of them (Detailed analyses and summaries are given in 'The Churches and Nuclear Power', August 1984):
1. European Churches and the Energy Issue. Official Statements, Reports, Comments 1975-1979 (ed.), Friedholm Solms. Forschungssatte der Evangelischen Studiengemeinschaft, Heidelberg 1980. Included in this volume are statements from Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, Reformed, Waldensian and Methodist Churches as well as various Synod, Councils of Churches and Ecumenical Councils.
2. Statement of the Committee of the US Catholic bishops. Published in Origins, NC Documentary Service, 23 April 1981, vol. 10, no. 45, p. 706. Summary and Critique in The Month, November 1982, p. 382.
3. The Christian Dimensions of Energy Problems. Papers delivered at a Conference held at Brunel university in April 1982. Commission for International Justice and Peace, 1983, p. 82.
4. Nuclear Energy: What are the choices? A Report by the Quaker Nuclear Energy Group. Published for the yearly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) by Quaker Home Service, London, p. 22.
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