www.fronte.org nuclear energy safety      


by T. Fronte
        Fukushima BWR General Electric              
      Blow-up: Fukushima and Usain Bolt at the AREVA Meeting                          
      Letter to Usain BOLT       Copy of the letter to :                                                                                                  
            Fédération Française d'Athlétisme ffa@athle.org        

Dear Usain ,


I was on my way home in a commuter train when through the window I noticed a poster bearing an athlete with a protection mask ; the train was too fast and I couldn't catch what this was about . Few minutes later the train slowed-down in a station where more posters of the same kind were displayed along the platforms . I prepared my camera and when the train stopped I was able to snap shot one of this unusual poster. Back home I was taken up by the daily routine and I lost track of the picture.



Weeks later , the snap shot surfaced and what came across from it reflects the Antonioni's film Blow-up .

Enlargements of the picture of the poster show that its original purpose was to advertise an athletics meet at the national Stade de France, sponsored by AREVA . But the posters were daubed with a strip saying FUKUSHIMA instead of AREVA ; in addition, a patch like a protective mask almost covered the face of the athlete in the stint of the guest star ; some other athletes were smiling or jumping around ; the name of most of them was explicitly printed : local runner Christophe Lemaître, Olympic javelin champion from the Czech Republic Barbara Spotakova, the sublime Miriam Soumaré, Renaud Lavillenie... The name of the guest star was Usain Bolt.



The posters as they were before being vandalised, deserve a serious blame: how can athletes share the top billing with AREVA , a leading nuclear operator, while at the same time a nuclear disaster forces the evacuation of tens of thousand people at Fukushima ? Can anything be celebrated anytime anywhere, regardless of an appalling train of events ?


Actually there is little or nothing to celebrate with nuclear power ; serious risks would rather suggest deep concern and firm commitment . After all, it’s not clear how a world-class champion as you are, Usain Bolt , the “fastest man on earth”, can help when it comes to nuclear challenges or safety requirements

The idea of meeting for sports sake isn’t really satisfying because the athletes , before registering usually negotiate the price of their contribution and the guest star might allegedly receive as much as 300.000 euro ( 420 000 USD). In the case of the AREVA Meeting the money game is strong and the event is insensitive even to a nuclear disaster in progress at Fukushima.


The goal of a nuclear sponsor seem more in line with the need to lull people about the nuclear risks . In France where a large amount – three quarters – of the electric supply is generated by nuclear power, it happens that safety requirements are violated ; as the rule of law is not guaranteed , both the Convention for Nuclear Safety (CNS Vienna -1994) or the Human rights are easily ignored . Sports may help to turn away the public attention from embarrassing nuclear safety gaps .

After the accidents in the nuclear reactors at Fukushima , French people are probably more demanding for debates instead of entertainment ; this may explain the daubing of the AREVA Meeting posters.

The Antonioni's Blow-up film ends with a tennis match played without any ball ; in the final scene , two players and their supporters mime a competition ; they are captivated by this new game sited in a tennis court with a net in its middle and fences all around , but with a tiny detail: there is no tennis ball .

If athletes who participate to nuclear sponsored events are not strict about nuclear commitments, they disregard something as important as the ball in a tennis match.

Droves of commuters near Paris could look at the picture of an athlete wearing a protective mask against nuclear contamination; this should sound as an alert that something may be fake in this game .

Will you , dear Usain, and other athletes accept a role in the nuclear playground , regardless of details in contrast with basic human respect and widely shared values ?


The answer could come with the next episode of the AREVA Meeting, the only world-class athletics meet sponsored by a leading nuclear operator.

Very sincerly.

Tommaso Fronte

(Paris, 28th july 2011)


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