The construction of meaning and criteria of truth for the legitimation of unsustainable practices.

The construction of meaning and criteria of truth for the legitimation of unsustainable practices.

By Lic. Silvana Buján

Specialized communicators are concerned with disseminating what happens in the kitchen of sciences to the outside of them, trying to offer information that is easy to understand for those who want to know what it is about. Over the last few years, in Argentina the official environmental discourse has been consistent with capitalist logic, but the new social movements have exposed environmental liabilities accumulated for decades, impossible to disguise when perceived by society.

The construction of meaning and criteria of truth for the legitimation of unsustainable practices. Witness case: nuclear energy


This article reviews the constitution of the criterion of Truth in its relationship with scientific knowledge and power, from the assumption of manipulating the meaning of the Nature / Culture duo. The communication media functional to the political and economic system of appropriation of nature and the very particular use of mass language in environmental issues are analyzed. As a case study, we will go through the development of nuclear energy, focused on Argentina, referring to the concealment of valuable information for the generation of opinion about this technology, through the creation of inducing media discourses.

They were given a choice: they could become kings or messengers of kings. Children, they chose as children: they all wanted to be messengers. Therefore, there are only messengers who run through the world, shouting at each other, since there are no kings. Messages that are meaningless. These messengers would like to put an end to this miserable existence, but they dare not do so because of their professional oaths. .[i]

Franz kafka


Since the beginning of time, human beings have struggled to obtain a certain ordering of knowledge that allows them to make a reading of Reality. To order, he has had to differentiate, separate into categories, classes, relevance, each with its specific place within the world of knowledge. It has established fields and spheres that serve clusters of knowledge nucleated around axes established as founders of disciplines, within which in turn knowledge is grouped by schools, trends, subcurrents, etc.

Rites, rules, category systems clearly divide the natural world from the cultural world, that of human interpersonal and social relationships from that of wild nature.

Based on the hierarchical society model, in which certain groups close to power decide over others and have the ability to handle objects to a greater degree than those that are structurally lower in the social pyramid, we can include here an idea in closely related to this division between nature and culture: what happens when the status quo pyramidal structure of today's society, described precisely by members of its minority cusp, installs this hierarchy and its consequent superiority within the world of nature, as a fact, a fact of nature, therefore, unquestionable?

It is not an idea foreign to human history. Nazism made an entire nation believe the superior status of a race. This thinking can be traced back to monarchical times, where the king was "naturally" superior by birth. Today, that place of legitimation as superiority is not sought in belonging to a nation or a race. Nor does it refer to divine aspects. The key is in the Institution "science". The one that legitimizes, the one that makes someone in a white apron able to give the most diverse explanations as unquestionable. Knowledge is value, and the legitimacy of knowledge is welded to the legitimacy of the legitimator.

In these periods, the new bourgeoisie and the economic changes produced by the first Industrial Revolution, made the views of interpretation transfer the laws of Natural Sciences to the social order and politics, as is the case of deductive Cartesian rationalism, with inductivism Newtonian that will try to demonstrate geometrically or empirically the social order. Ethics demonstrated in a geometric way Spinoza will say [ii] . Not in vain did Comte himself, already in the 19th century, order sociology from positivism, at the beginning of the concept of science-Truth [iii].

Horkhaimer [iv] will wonder what happens when social life is viewed from an instrumental rationality, without giving room for criticism, falling into authoritarianism, in legitimation by pure proximity to the luminous world of sciences established as Truths by those who are hierarchically higher in the social pyramid.

The Science and power relationship is ancient. A moment in the history of the last century narrows and shows that bond: the Manhattan Project [v]. Later, the committee that had been created with scientists will be dissolved, precisely because they were not politicians. This relationship indicates that the stages of the link between politics and science have been different in each era. During the 50s and 60s they were politics for science, where it was promoted that science should not be managed by the state, and that although it will use its resources, it must be independent; later, the 60s and 70s were characterized by a politics from science, in which technological development was promoted, planning and networks of power relations with science began to weave solidly. Science should solve all problems. Science became good and relevant.

After the 80s, science will be talked about in politics, because it will form part of the great political questions of the State installed at the negotiating table. Society will then submit to being a mere spectator of the production of the means of destruction, and the perfection of waste. Marcuse had wondered from where to exercise criticism [vi], if the crises between classes were things of the past and no longer agents of change, while the axes of the problems revolved around the increasingly strong differences between the rich and poor. That the majority accept them as "given" does not make them natural or rational. Then, the technological reason was turning until it became the only reason. The domination of man by man is the historical continuity that links pre-technological reason with technological reason. The relationship is no longer master / slave but of multiple networks of conventions that affirm and sustain a technological-scientific hierarchical order that maintains that destruction is the price of progress, impossible to ignore. Price that will be paid by the base of the social pyramid once again, continuing a logic that has always developed within the historical continuum of domination.

A Science that always had pretensions of neutrality, unquestioned and pertinent at the time of justifying undertakings such as the energy use of nuclear fission (which will be reviewed in this chapter), hydroelectric mega dams, the diversion of water courses, indiscriminate logging , the emission of greenhouse gases, the dumping of waste into the sea, the introduction of biotechnological events with non-evaluated impacts.

So is a new science or a new ethics of science necessary? A new scientific order or a new look at the hierarchies installed in our society, its modes of production and distribution?

The communication

The media diffusion of environmental issues involves different aspects to be taken into account, from the formulation of topics specific to science so that they are understandable to the mass public, to the ordering of concepts and ideas to build critical receptors, capable of resolving and evaluating the informative contents that are provided.

Will it be necessary to invent another language to make accessible to the majority the concepts that come from scientific fields, and to generate spaces for the development of a new critical and sensitive receptor?

The media

Professionals in any branch of hard science develop tasks in which they handle a language with special characteristics, which can hardly be appropriate by people in general and by those who belong to the branch of the so-called soft sciences or humanities.

It would not be possible, as Althusser once proposed, (who raised science as a "continent" hidden by metaphysical mists) [vii] use a special language within each science, since only watertight compartments would result without the possibility of interrelation among themselves, nor between them and the world. But, even this elementary logic is contradicted when we see in practice, that within each discipline the so-called language games are established, which are indicated by colleagues in the sector: "dialects" in each of the different professions.

How do we, as science journalists, get closer to a reality and disseminate it with medium luck of being understood by as many people as possible?

Reality is a limit to which man's thinking tends. Every time you talk about the "reality of things" you talk about a sociocultural construction that allows us to communicate with the rest of the mortals in this great belief that we know what the interlocutor is talking about when he speaks to us. It is only possible to understand with others if there is a prior agreement on the uses of expressive forms, conceptual schemes, location of the Other as a legitimate recipient. Without these requirements there will be no reality, not because things do not happen, but because what we call reality is simply a knowable instance from the sharing of these agreements.

When we interact with people from other Latin American countries who speak Spanish, we find that they call some things differently, and sometimes an innocent word in our country is an insult in another.

When a film is screened in which any narrative unfolds, viewers will be deeply moved; others who have fallen asleep; others who will leave indifferent and even others annoyed with the message. Have you seen different films? No, but they have seen them from different places, and they have decoded them from different competitions. Could Cinderella be a children's story or a plea for the breakdown of isolation between social classes, or the lack of love in some parental roles?

This is one of the great walls that communication analysts perceive. This impossibility of unifying a homogeneous receiver before a single message, installs the first obstacle of the communicational bond. But he's not the only one.

As specialized communicators, we are concerned with disseminating what happens in the kitchen of sciences to the outside of them, making them understood. How to overcome difficulties and offer information that is easy to understand? How to "translate" from the Communication Sciences and Scientific Journalism, the discourse of the hard sciences, and make it relate to people who want to know what it is about? From a narrative, explain a theorem?

The Platonic discourse with which science was inaugurated was not exactly scientific. The sciences cannot "know and make known" without going to the story, to the narrative, to someone who explains to another, who tells, who refers. Communication through narration is thus a condition sine-qua-non of all social formation. The very game of science presupposes temporality, the past, the way forward, the contextualization of the present: The story of the Epic of Knowledge.

Without losing sight of the cinematographic example cited above, if the reader expected a text in which we spoke of the possibility of full communication, his disappointment would be bitter. It is humanly impossible to achieve a homogeneous reception between different beings, whose psychologies, life stories, perceptions, trainings, language and knowledge are very different from each other.

As a maximum objective, communicators (and anyone) can aspire to highlight these things, and to bring the greatest amount of information to a greater number of recipients, in the hope that it will be decoded and understood according to our will.

In science, a scientific statement will have knowledge validity, only if it is situated in the context in which it has been generated, and inserted in a web of knowledge, can it be understood by the rest of society.

Science cannot prevent its statements from being related to time, environment, history, human reflection, since there are no isolated or pure events. Science evolves as it realizes the problems and challenges of each era.

(The philosopher Francoise Lyotard will say that if humanity is to be the hero of freedom, all peoples have the right to science, and if the social subject is no longer the subject of scientific knowledge, it will be that priests and tyrants prevent it. [viii].)

The greatest collective task that humanity faces today concerns the problems of global environmental risk, and those of equity among peoples. For her, it is necessary to break with the historical divisions between hard and soft sciences. In this time of crisis, the question remains as to whether the same science that led us to problems can get us out of them. Global environmental problems have common features, they are complex and variable. And they come from a paradigm of appropriation of the world, which, due to its own characteristics, prevents a different way of thinking about the relationship of the human being with nature.

The scientific rationality model may not be appropriate to address these problems, since hard science must "spill over" and merge transdisciplinary with social sciences, in the search - at this point of humanity, desperate - for new paradigms that enable comprehensive solutions.

Just as current law recognizes our obligations to future generations, to other species and to the environment, science is also expanding in a deep and rapid transition from which we cannot measure results.

And in the light of these vertiginous changes, a kind of double science emerges before the eyes: one that promotes present and future well-being, and one that, financed and registered in corporate areas, promotes immediate comparative advantages, hiding or throwing a cloak of doubts about the future impacts that could result on the environment and people's health, from their creations and patents. [ix]

How is it that it is not seen, that it is not known, that it is not suspected of these risks, which are extremely high?

The Vehicle (the language)

Todorov tells that when the American Indians in the period of the conquest confronted an unknown language, the gods became intelligible to them, losing communication, and putting them in a frank inferiority. This, says the Bulgarian philosopher, was the starting point of submission. For the West, the different language is equal to muteness, to inability to speak, and it becomes the disqualification of the other as an interlocutor and as a human being. In the Indians, oral tradition is the very identity of society. The Spanish scribes spoke in their chronicles OF THE Indians, but not TO THE INDIANS, since they do not recognize them as receiving subjects ... [x]

Many times it has been pointed out that writing in "difficult" can serve counter information purposes. When more precise explanations are required about certain technological developments and their impacts on the environment, it is likely that we will find a profusion of papers and works of great depth, but that in the eyes of the general reader, not very effective.

Over the last few years, in Argentina the official environmental discourse has been consistent with the capitalist logic, more attentive to using expressions such as "development", "advancement of the sciences", "the common welfare" than to execute real development sustainable.

The new social movements have exposed enormous and multiple environmental liabilities accumulated for decades, impossible to conceal when perceived by a society that is beginning to become aware of the environmental dimension, and to take public and media status. During the 90s, the then head of the environmental portfolio in the country [xi] surrounded herself with a team of scientists and specialists in a wide variety of environmental issues, who skillfully responded to each claim, with strong legal advice that protected systematically to those responsible for environmental disasters, friends of the political power in power. In this way, the oil industry, mining, agro-technology, hydroelectric plants, concealed or concealed their strong environmental impacts. It is not something new: in each period of government there are officials functional to the business and industrial power, who carefully hide the environmental liabilities of their “partners”.

The mass media, strongly supported, among others, by large chemical, petrochemical and agribusiness companies, turned to promoting the benefits of an unsustainable consumption system, and to enthrone its sponsors at the top of environmental protection. Oil companies that have become nature protectors; multinational agrochemicals promoting the welfare of the country full page. The discourse of these companies and the governments that allow their polluting adventures appropriated the terminology born in environmentalism, emptying its original meaning, and seeking to legitimize their unsustainable practices before the people. A legion of scientists hired by those same companies, offered half of the library to justify the unjustifiable.

But the grenade exploded in the hands and the green make-up cracked: entire villages [xii], mothers of pollution victims [xiii], people who no longer had anything else to lose, revealed an uncontrolled productive system that was marching the backs of legislation that is obsolete or in the best of cases, unfulfilled.

The beginning of the millennium found a complaining Argentina, with a new legal corpus of support, and some interference over certain decisions. Claims and criminal cases multiplied. The environmental liabilities that were carefully hidden beneath a neat speech that asserted that everything was in order and under control began to be revealed. Radioactive waste left in the open [xiv]; clandestine burial of toxins [xv]; sale and use of prohibited chemicals [xvi]; Hundreds of hydrocarbon spills left to their fate on land and sea [xvii], appeared out of nowhere in a society that awakened to these realities, when the speeches were broken and revealed behind.

There were and are desperate attempts on the part of companies and governments to conceal and hide with speech, that difficult panorama that is revealed. And analyzes arise that place these mismanagements in the category of collateral damage of progress. However, personalized demands begin on managers and officials, who have breached their duties or violated current legislation [xviii]. [one]

What do we perceive with this? That for decades, political and economic power worked like Spanish for Todorov: people were faced with an incomprehensible discourse, legitimized by the scientific institution, and when they could decode some simple message, it spoke of the benefits of progress and wonders development.

Independent scientific journalism, added to the new tools of access to justice, generated that "nobody" victim of the impact of the production model (who does not understand because he does not know, and for which science is almost a matter of faith) wake up and act individually and massively claiming and rejecting the breach of that speech resemantized for the occasion.

Esquel [xix], Gualeguaychú [xx], Ezeiza [xxi], Andalgalá [xxii], San Juan [xxiii], Iguazú encounter [xxiv], are massive staging of the real meanings of these emptied discourses: the deep trace of the national delivery to agribusiness [xxv]; leoninos and polluting mining systems [xxvi]; the oil industry controlled by no one; the nuclear industry that controls itself [xxvii].

It urges the intellectuals of the environmental movement, a review of these processes and a reformulation of strategies that reinforce language and unmask the green make-up and the perverse alliance between companies and political power, whose prevalence has led to the environmental crisis.

Only in this way will it be possible to find a different way out of the pulsing improvements based on social outbursts. A change coming from a different perception of nature and its resources. A new mode of consumption, a relocation of basic needs attentive to real satisfiers and not to fictitious needs compelled through discourse.

Witness Case: The Development of Nuclear Energy

In the sixty years of existence of technology for the generation of energy by fission, it has not been possible to provide a satisfactory solution to the problem of the risks posed by radioactive materials in possible accidents, mishandling, spills and leaks throughout the entire nuclear cycle and the huge radioactive waste produced in it, which are the Achilles heel of this technology [xxviii].

The anti-nuclear movement, the cradle of the environmental movement on the planet, recognizes the existing nuclear waste as a serious problem to which a solution must be sought, and proposes that the best way to begin to act is to stop producing it.

The various justifications that have been offered for the construction of nuclear plants have fallen into disrepute. The argument that affirms that this energy does not produce greenhouse gases is paradoxical in the face of the enormity of the adverse arguments that this technology involves. And they powerfully attract attention with their fallacious essence, in the mouth of theorists and politicians.

From environmentalism it is read as a desperate attempt to update the defense discourse of this technology, unsustainable by nature and the most expensive for the production of electricity.

Nucleoelectricity was born from the hand and as a vehicle of the atomic age. The gigantic and diversified operation mounted by the United States in pursuit of the development of the first bomb and the missile race that followed, required a large amount of plutonium. Plutonium does not exist in nature, but is obtained as a by-product, in very small quantities. To obtain plutonium isotopes, Uranium-235 has to be bombarded with neutrons, which absorbs them, transforming into much more radioactive Uranium-236, and also a low percentage of plutonium.

In 1942 huge plants were built in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Hanford and Washington to obtain it. The Manhattan project produced its result (the first atomic bomb) in 2 years and 3 months, detonated in the so-called Trinity Test on July 16, 1945 near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Later, "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" detonated in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and in Nagasaki on August 9, respectively.

The US needed to justify the massive secret project and the number of power plants and facilities that were quickly erected, as well as bus lines, the three secret cities (Oak Ridge, Hanford and Los Alamos) whose inhabitants lived under careful surveillance and the 150,000 people involved. The production generated by the project was overwhelming, thousands of inventions and patents were registered. Billions of dollars were invested.

In the decade of the 1950s, the United States launched from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), a masterpiece of re-semanticizing the discourse: the campaign "Atoms for peace" [xxix], which spread the idea of of a "good atom" (let us highlight this connection of moral criteria with the smallest particle of matter).

The situation of the sixties added justifications to nuclear power, with the specter of the imminent depletion of oil reserves, which had been calculated then, for just 20 more years.

International politics then fostered a tireless encouragement for developing countries to install their nuclear power plants over the next two decades. Argentina was no exception, and launched Atucha I upstream of the Paraná River, 7 km from the city of Lima, Partido de Zárate [xxx], in 1974, and Embalse Rio III, in the province of Córdoba in 1984.

The last two decades, however, have seen a significant decrease in licenses and plant construction around the world, as well as the emergence and massive participation in non-nuclear environmentalism. Italy defined the closure of its four centrals after a popular referendum in 1987; in the same year Austria converted its only gas nuclear power plant. Denmark prohibited by law the use of nuclear energy as an energy resource. Sweden also decided by referendum to close its 12 power plants by 2010. Moratoriums are frequently installed on the construction of nuclear power plants, such as Germany, UK, Belgium or Finland. Switzerland and Canada have them too.

There are some 30 nuclear power plant construction projects in the world, most of them in Asia, and none in Europe, where nuclear power causes problems due to growing concern and rejection by the population. There are tragic episodes starring activists who lost their lives opposing the transfer by train, across Europe, of radioactive waste [xxxi] from its generation site to the reprocessing site.

In many countries (such as Mexico with Laguna Verde [xxxii] or Argentina with Atucha II [xxxiii]) an internal foundation was used to initiate the completion of the works. So much has been spent, they say, that it would be irrational to abandon the project. However, the appropriate thing, in economic and environmental costs, is the conversion to gasoelectric. In reality, the plant projected for Argentina is already an economic failure, even without having been completed [xxxiv].

In none of the poor countries in which nuclear energy was implemented, was it justified from the energy or environmental point of view, but it was from the political-ideological point of view. It was a search for a better position within an international hierarchy of power, regardless of whether or not the introduction of nuclear energy was accompanied by a decision to build nuclear weapons. In the cases of Argentina and Brazil, the social force that promoted the nuclearization project was the armed bureaucracy, without the support of significant independent social sectors [xxxv].

To justify the Argentine nuclear program, projections were made "for the occasion" of energy demands, ignoring historical precedents and growth rates. The military government prevented any discussion. The Plan generated serious conflicts with the government of the United States and led to technical concretions such as the uranium enrichment plant (homologous to the one that crashed in Japan [xxxvi]) in Pilcaniyeu, province of Río Negro, which was justified as alleged key technology for the development, or the LPR (Laboratory of Radiochemical Processes), at the Ezeiza Atomic Center, which cost 400 million dollars but which never reprocessed any fuel, or the aforementioned and aborted Condor missile project [xxxvii].

The defeat of the military junta in Malvinas and the crime reporting courts organized by the democratic government led to an unprecedented loss of prestige to the Armed Forces, and to the dismantling of the Argentine nuclear plan.

The Chernobyl reactor catastrophe [xxxviii] has shown that attempts to control the power of atom splitting can fail and can lead to very serious social and environmental consequences. Many accidents, big and small have been hidden with zeal [xxxix]. Just today, twenty years after Chernobyl, the leadership of the Argentine Nuclear Regulatory Authority affirmed that only 30 people died in that catastrophe and that there was no pollution. [xl]

To this long list we must add the risks and accidents that occurred throughout the cycle, including transportation, handling, mining and the protection of contaminated areas, the closure of mines and reactors.

At each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, referrals to nuclear weapons production and / or technology are possible. The peaceful use of nuclear energy, the godmother of the global arms race, works closely with the risk of the global proliferation of atomic weapons. With the development of nuclear power, it is impossible to walk the path to a world free of nuclear weapons. As an additional risk we have accidents, attacks during wars or by terrorists, concealment and clandestine dumping.

En todas las fases del ciclo del combustible nuclear se liberan o se acumulan materiales radiactivos, hecho que se ha desatendido y ocultado durante mucho tiempo así como el efecto letal de la radiación de bajos niveles [xli]. La minería del uranio ha producido conflictos con poblaciones locales que no se benefician con la extracción y que deben soportar los riesgos de la misma, como las poblaciones de Carlos Paz (Mina Los Gigantes, Córdoba), Malargüe (Mina Huemul, Mendoza) o proyectos tales como el de Gastre, en la provincia del Chubut [xlii]. La CNEA (Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica) lleva años de desmanejo ambiental.

Un ejemplo: En 1978 se iniciaba la explotación de las reservas uraníferas en el Valle de Punilla, en un área de 100 kilómetros cuadrados: Los Gigantes. Cosquín se había descartado por estar urbanizado, aunque durante 1992 y 1993 se removieron tierras del barrio La Mandinga, hasta que la Secretaría de Minería de la Provincia obligó detener el trabajo. El 12 de julio de 1979 la CNEA firmó un convenio con la empresa SANCHEZ GRANEL otorgando la explotación hasta 1995, violando la Ley 24472 (Art.5º) que prohibía conceder a particulares las minas nucleares, y bajo la ley de Obras Públicas, por la que se eliminaba el riesgo empresarial.

Las normas de seguridad eran vagas referencias, y no se establecía claramente el límite de las responsabilidades entre los Estados provinciales y la Nación. Para la obra, se construyeron 20 kilómetros de infraestructura vial, mesetas artificiales, una planta, una usina y una villa, moviendo 1.600.000 metros cúbicos de suelo.Además se construyó una presa para evaporación de efluentes con un espejo de agua de 8 hectáreas. En varias ocasiones el embalse contaminado con los líquidos acidificados se desbordó cayendo líquido al Río Cajón y a la cuenca del San Antonio, directo al Lago San Roque [xliii]. Entre 1982 y 1985 se arrojaron a su cuenca300.000.000 litros de líquidos ácidos con trazas de uranio, radio y radón.

En 1987 DIPAS (Dir. Pcial. de Agua y Saneamiento) cerró la toma de agua de la mina por contaminación. A causa de los reclamos de CNEA la empresa anunció la detención de la explotación “por razones ambientales”, llegando en 1991 a rescindir el contrato. La empresa no pudo reclamar, porque su titular, Eduardo Sánchez Granel fue varios meses a prisión por fraude al titularizar la quiebra de la empresa Condecor, financiera de su firma minera.

En Los Gigantes quedaron 2.400.000 toneladas de residuos “colas de tratamiento” y 1.600.000 toneladas de mineral marginal y estéril, expuestos a las inclemencias del clima afectando los afluentes del Río San Antonio y el Lago San Roque. Estos cursos son fuente de aguas potables para Villa Carlos Paz, Cuesta Blanca, Icho Cruz, Tala Huasi, Mayu Sumaj y San Antonio de Arredondo. Luego de décadas, la CNEA ha empezado (suponemos que por presión de los ecologistas, la prensa y el turismo) a hablar de remediación.

El argumento utilizado para la fundamentación económica del uso de centrales nucleoeléctricas, además de la aseveración de no generar gases de efecto invernadero, es el bajo costo del kilowatt hora. Es perverso y falaz el cálculo que se hace para su evaluación, ya que se dejan fuera de las estimaciones, adrede, los costos de remediación, los costos de transporte y seguros, los costos de puesta en marcha de las centrales, los costos de prospección y mineración, el cierre de minas agotadas, los valores millonarios de la desactivación de las usinas al fin de sus vidas útiles, y fundamentalmente, los costos de protección y control por miles de años, de los sitios adonde se depositen los desechos.

Todo ello hace, honestos cálculos mediante, que la energía nuclear sea la más cara que jamás haya existido. Además, esta imbricación entre poder-armas-energía nuclear, ha tenido numerosos subsidios y apoyos, que lamentablemente no han sido equitativamente destinados a las energías de fuentes renovables.

El uso responsable de la energía debe ser la meta hacia la que en primer término nos encolumnemos como civilización humana. Y ese uso debe conllevar la seguridad ambiental, el desvínculo para con la industria bélica y el reaseguro de no ser herencia nefasta.

Cuando al inicio de este trabajo hablábamos acerca del discurso y sus sentidos, el caso nuclear merece estar aquí como caso tipo. En pocos temas la manipulación del discurso oficial ha sido tan evidente. Quizás en el de la biotecnología, pero con la reserva de estar en las manos privadas de multinacionales.

Se ha minimizado, se ha ocultado información, se ha impedido el acceso a las investigaciones internas. Los ecologistas hemos recibido las angustiosas declaraciones de trabajadores de las áreas de operación con material radiactivo, a los que no se les permite revisar los resultados de los estudios médicos periódicos. Hemos presenciado la caída del proyecto GASTRE al desenmascarar que un informe geológico del área elegida era copiado del basamento rocoso sueco, y que el emplazamiento se hallaba sobre una falla, cuando formalmente se había declarado como “zona sísmica cero”.

Podríamos aquí seguir ampliando y enumerando casos puntuales. Pero el objetivo de este trabajo es evidenciar que así como en este caso de la energía nuclear, en tantos otros (minería, biotecnología, megarepresas, uso de químicos peligrosos, etc) el discurso que envuelve la promoción de esas prácticas y materiales, es un discurso que vela el real peligro potencial de las mismas.

Un discurso preparado por esa mitad de la biblioteca que insiste en sostener que la ciencia es independiente de sus contextos de descubrimiento y de aplicación. Una ciencia que pretende sostener ese aislamiento. Una ciencia, en fin, hija de su tiempo.

El ecologismo pugna por instalar un nuevo discurso crítico ante los procesos insustentables que han llevado a la civilización a la crisis, pero a la vez, que de cuenta de las prácticas de desarrollo que aseguren la permanencia de la especie en el planeta, y de todas las demás especies, pues la pérdida de una sola de ellas, nos empobrece como humanidad.

Llegarán las mansas lluvias y el aroma del campo,

Y las golondrinas girando con trémulo sonido,

Y las ranas, en los estanques, croando por la noche,

Y los ciruelos salvajes de tembloroso albor.

Los petirrojos vestirán sus fuego de plumas

Silbando sus caprichos en un alambrado.

Nadie se proecupará de la guerra, nadie

Se preocupará por fin de cuando acabará.

Nada ha de importarles, ni a las aves ni a los árboles,

Si la humanidad perece por entero,

Y la primavera misma, cuando despierte en la aurora,

Apenas sabrá que hemos pasado.

Sara Teasdale [xliv]


[i] Kafka, Franz. La Muralla China. En Obras Completas, Editorial Teorema, Barcelona, España (1983).-

[ii] Spinoza, Baruch de. Etica demostrada segun el orden geometrico, Editorial QUADRATA, (2005).-

[iii] Comte, Auguste, Discurso sobre el espíritu positivo Editorial Andrómeda (2005).-

[iv] Horkheimer, Max: Crítica de la razón instrumental. Buenos Aires, Sur, (1969).

[v] El Proyecto Manhattan era el nombre en clave de un proyecto de investigación llevado a cabo durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial por los Estados Unidos con ayuda parcial del Reino Unido y Canadá, con el objetivo de desarrollar la primera bomba atómica. Fue dirigida por el físico Julius Robert Oppenheimer mientras que las operaciones militares por el Gral Leslie R. Groves. El proyecto se llevó a cabo en numerosos centros de investigación siendo el más importante de ellos el Distrito de Ingeniería Manhattan situado en el conocido actualmente como Laboratorio Nacional Los Álamos.

[vi]Marcuse, Herbert. Crítica de la cultura y de las sociedades post-industriales Tiempo Nuevo. Caracas, (1973). -

[vii] Althusser, L. Para una Critica de la práctica teórica. Siglo XXI, Madrid. (1974).-

[viii]Lyotard, Jean Francois. La condición postmoderna, Informe sobre el saber. Ed.- Cátedra, Madrid (1989).-

[ix] The Corporation. Un documental de Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar y Joel Bakan, (2005)

[x] Todorov, Tzvetan. La conquista de América, el problema del otroSIGLO XXI EDITORES. México, (1989).-

[xi] Ing. Maria Julia Alsogaray

[xii] Ej. Esquel, Pcia,. del Chubut, alzamiento popular NO A LA MINA de oro con lixiviación por cianuro.

[xiii] Ej: Mabel Bastías, madre de Nahuel, que murió tras padecer leucemia, según ella a causa de la contaminación por PCB. El juez federal de Zárate y Campana Efraín Fagionatto Márquez procesó a tres funcionarios técnicos de Edenor -Daniel Lello, Luciano Pironio y Adalberto Márquez- por considerarlos autores "penalmente responsables del delito de contaminación peligrosa para la salud", según consta en la resolución. O las Madres el Barrio Ituzaingó Anexo, en la ciudad de Córdoba.

[xiv] Ej. Malargüe, precordillera e la provincia de Mendoza. 350.000 toneladas de residuos radiactivos provenientes de la mineración el uranio de Mina Huemul, abandonados a su suerte detrás de un alambrado olímpico, con el que le aseguraron a los habitantes, detrás de él “no tenían más problemas” (Ing. Klein, CNEA, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica).

[xv] Alta Córdoba, Provincia homónima: 30 toneladas de DDT ocultas en un viejo galpón, por el SENASA, ServicioNacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria por lapso de 30 años. Pueblo La Argentina, Provincia de Santiago del Estero: enterramiento clandestino a la vera de las vías del tren de un gran tonelaje de DDT y otros organoclorados.

[xvi] Ej. Parathion. Prohibido en el mundo y de venta clandestina local.

[xvii] Oficialmente en los primeros 5 meses de 2006, hubo en la provincia de Chubut, 455 derrames accidentales de hidrocarburos.

[xviii] Ej. Proceso al Pte. Del SENASA / Proceso a directivos de petroleras.

[xix] Op. Cit. xxii

[xx] Caso oposición la instalación de pasteras celulósicas en el Rio Uruguay.

[xxi] Demostrada contaminación con uranio en napas de agua a causa de vertidos clandestinos de la CNEA en el Centro Atómico Ezeiza.

[xxii] Provincia de Catamarca, epicentro Norte de las movilizaciones antimineras

[xxiii] Provincia del Oeste argentino, en la que la minería de oro amenaza contaminar el recurso hídrico de toda la región, y que ha derivado en movilizaciones, marchas y presentaciones judiciales.

[xxiv] Referencias a localidades argentinas que realizaron multitudinarias marchas populares oponiéndose a la contaminación generada por las empresas o instituciones locales.

[xxv] Argentina tiene en 2006 diecisiete millones e hectáreas cubiertas por soja transgénica propiedad de Monsanto.

[xxvi] Tanto como para el petróleo, las empresas extractivas pagan impuestos sobre declaraciones juradas que ellas mismas entregan sin contralor alguno.

[xxvii] La Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica reporta a Presidencia de la nación.

[xxviii] Los radionucleidos existentes en los residuos nucleares y en los materiales irradiados, emiten radiaciónes Alfa, Beta y Gamma ependiendo del tipo, por lo que se pueden clasificar como de baja, media o alta actividad. La radiación Alfa es fácilmente manejable, no sí los rayos Gamma, que atraviesan gruesas paredes de plomo, y teóricamente, no hay modo de detenerlos.

[xxix] "Átomos para la paz" fue el título de un discurso pronunciado por Dwight D. Eisenhower a la Asamblea General de la ONU en New York el 8 de diciembre de 1953. "Me siento impulsado a hablar hoy en un lenguaje que en un sentido es nuevo–un lenguaje el cual, yo, que he gastado gran parte de mi vida en la profesión militar, hubiera preferido no usar nunca. Ese nuevo lenguaje es el lenguaje de la guerra atómica."

[xxx] Carlos V en su Decreto Real de 1523 señala ue todo establecimiento contaminante debía instalarse aguas debajo de las ciudades.

[xxxi] En 2004, un ecologista de 23 años que se había encadenado a una vía en Avricourt para impedir el transporte de residuos nucleares en un tren que viajaba de Francia a Alemania, murió tras ser arrollado por el convoy, que le cortó las dos piernas. El tren, que lleva un cargamento de 336 contenedores con un total de 174,7 toneladas, realizaba el trayecto desde instalaciones de la planta de la COGEMA en La Hague, donde se han procesado los residuos nucleares, hacia Gorleben, al norte de Alemania, para su almacenamiento definitivo. Era el séptimo convoy de este tipo de residuos que vuelvían a Alemania desde que las compañías eléctricas de este país y la Compañía General de Materiales Nucleares (COGEMA, filial de gigante francés Areva) firmaran en abril de 1996 un contrato para su tratamiento.

[xxxii] Publicado por el Monitor Nuclear de WISE/NIRS el 31 de enero de 2003

[xxxiii] El costo total de Atucha II se evaluó en 1985 en alrededor de 4.000 … aún faltan incluir en los costos de Atucha II los costos operativos, el combustible …

[xxxiv] Se estima para Atucha II, obra paralizada desde hace década y media, una inversión realizada de unos 5000 millones de dólares.

[xxxv] En nuestra región, el inicio de la explotación nuclear coincidió con gobiernos de facto, y con universidades funcionales a los mismos. Recuérdese el vaciamiento de las universidades argentinas, y el éxodo de científicos, perseguidos por el régimen, al exterior, durante los años 60 y 70.

[xxxvi] Cobertura de prensa de CNN del 30/09/99 y WISE Referencias: Cobertura de prensa de CNN del 30/09/99 y WISE

[xxxvii] En el marco de unas “relaciones especiales” (al decir de Francisco Corigliano, FLACSO) establecidas por el gobierno de Menem con los EEUU, la desactivación del proyecto Cóndor registró un incremento cada vez mayor de las presiones de aquél país, sembradas de conflictos interministeriales, resistencia de la Fuerza Aérea argentina a las presiones norteamericanas, hasta el decreto presidencial 995 del 28 de mayo de 1991, que decidió el fin del misil.

[xxxviii] 26/08/1986, explosión del Reactor Nº 4 en Bielorrusia, con miles de víctimas fatales y enfermos.

[xxxix] Accidentes nucleares más relevantes:Three Mile Island, 1979 (Unidad 1 de la central nuclear de Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, EE.UU.), RUSIA, RIO TETCHA, 1948/51 (vertido de residuos radiactivos al río Tetcha durante cuatro años contaminó 124.000 personas, con 7.500 evacuados). RUSIA, KISHTIM, 1957 (planta de almacenamiento de Kishtim, explosión de contenedor, contaminó una superficie de 1.000 km2. y la evacuación inmediata de 10.700 personas. El secreto oficial ha impedido conocer el número de víctimas del accidente) HANFORD, EEUU 1973 (Tanque 106 T en el área 200 Oeste de la Reserva de Hanford con 1,5 millones de litros de residuos radiactivos de alta actividad, dejando escapar al suelo 435.000 litros de liquido radiactivo) RUSIA, CHELIABINSK, 1978 Urales del Sur, planta de tratamiento de residuos radiactivos. La catástrofe habría tenido lugar a finales de 1957 produciendo la muerte de centenares de personas y contaminando una extensa área. CHERNOBYL, 1986 reconocido 72 horas más tarde por el gobierno. TOMSK- 7, 1993 depósito de residuos radiactivos. Tcheliabinsk, 1993, fuga radiactiva en la planta que procesa residuos radiactivos; Mihama, al oeste de Tokio, 4 muertos. TOKHAIMURA, set. 1999, Japón.

[xl]Imagomundi, Canal P&P programa del sábado 29 de abril 2006, con el Pte. del Directorio de la Autoridad Regulatoria Nuclear Dr. Raúl Racana y el Ing. Abel González , asesor del organismo.

[xli]“Toda dosis es una sobredosis”, George Wald, premio Nobel de Fisiología.

[xlii] La idea de Argentina poseedora de un repositorio para residuos de alta actividad tomó fuerza en 1977, informándose una década más tarde que estaría terminándose el estudio de prefactibilidad en 1988. Se identificaron 198 afloramientos graníticos potencialmente apropiados de los que finalmente se seleccionaron cuatro sitios posibles: La Esperanza y Chasicó, en Río Negro, y Calcatapul y la sierra del Medio en el Chubut, este último elegido finalmente (Gastre) por resultar la alternativa de menor costo. El Consejo Superior Profesional de Geología de Buenos Aires alertó que la zona de sierra del Medio no es geológicamente estable, exisitendo evidencias de movimientos sísmicos y erupciones volcánicas en el cuaternario, por lo que no podría asegurarse que haya estabilidad geológica durante el lapso requerido por el repositorio. Publicado en Consideraciones acerca del emplazamiento de un repositorio nuclear, de la Revista del Consejo Superior Profesional de Geología, del año 1988.

[xliii]El Lago San Roque está junto a la Villa Carlos Paz, uno de los cinco puntos turísticos más importantes de la Argentina.

[xliv]Premio Pulitzer poesía 1918

[1] En los tiempos en los que se escribe este capítulo, hay funcionarios y ex funcionarios de primera línea nacional, y titulares de algunas empresas petroleras –menores, hay que decirlo- procesados por violación de normas ambientales.

Video: The Correspondence Theory of Truth (June 2021).