© Fernando Morant
Vicent Martínez Sancho fou el primer físic que escrigué una obra sobre física en català.
|Vicent Martínez Sancho (Simat de la Valldigna, 1943) has been teaching Physics at Universitat de València for more than forty years, attached to the Theoretical Physics department. Although he is well known for being the first one to write in Catalan a Physics text in Universitat de València, he has also published works related to relativity and nuclear physics. This time he surprises us with L’ús de l’energia nuclear (Homo sapiens?) (Using nuclear energy, Homo sapiens?) (Edited by Bullent, 2011), an essay in which the physicist makes a claim against the current way of using nuclear energy. With a clear and plain language, professor Martínez Sancho explains to Mètode the long journey that uranium makes from its extraction to the production of electricity in a nuclear power plant.
In his last book he analyses the current energy model and its consequences. As you state, the embezzlement of energetic resources makes us humans undeserving of the term Homo sapiens?
While you were writing this book, the accident in Fukushima happened. Didn’t you come to think that it was all jinxed?
Do you think that, in the long run, Fukushima will have the same effects as Chernobyl?
If we can save ourselves.
|«I think Fukushima will be even worse than Chernobyl»
© Fernando Morant
|«Some don’t notice and become richer taking advantage of Nature’s degradation. Human misery in this area is what motivated me to write this book»
|How do you asses, then, the current situation of the nuclear power plants?
Look, nowadays there are more than 434 stations functioning all around the world, according to the Spanish Ministry of Industry. Ever since the first one was opened, 122 have closed down. All of them have suffered accidents. What happens is that the industry uses a language full of euphemisms. They talk about incidents, anomalies and deviations. All of them are accidents, some of a catastrophic nature, others not so much. There have been three great catastrophes: Mayak, Chernobyl and Fukushima. The accident in Mayak (1957) has been kept secret for a long time. We came to know about it 40 years after it happened, when the USSR collapsed, although the USA intelligence services knew about it.
Which are the causes of the most frequent accidents?
Speaking of accidents leads us directly to radioactivity. We normally associate them with something negative and we forget that it exists naturally in Nature, what is known as radioactive decay. What is the difference between this kind of radiation and the one induced by human beings?
There are two types of repositories, temporary centralized storage facilities and deep geological repositories. What effect do they have on Nature?
|© Fernando Morant
«The term Homo sapiens is unfortunate. Do you think Carl von Linné would have coined the term had he known about Hiroshima and Nagasaki?»
|Taking into account the welfare systems we live in, if we do not want to do without our luxuries, what other choice do we have?
Do you think there is enough for everyone?
Does the construction of these alternative sources for electricity production generate CO2?
But what kind of electricity production would generate more CO2? Fossil fuel production or nuclear energy production?
It seems that the mass media only open the debate when there is a catastrophe like that of Fukushima. How could we open a discussion without a catastrophe?
© Fernando Morant
© Mètode 2012 - 73. Online only. The Strength of the World - Spring 2012