I am an advocate for clean air and healthy children. As such, I support the forms of power-generation that are least likely to kill us on a day-to-day basis. Nuclear power is one of the safest for long-term use and it has this mother’s vote.
- Japan’s crisis: collection of photos at nationalpost.com
- Japan: a tragedy told in pictures at msnbc.com
It bothers me to hear so many people bad-mouthing nuclear power-generation in the wake of the crisis in Japan. For starters, it took * TWO * MAJOR * disasters occurring simultaneously before problems occurred with the nuclear facilities. The earthquake, an 8.9 and worst Japan has ever seen was immediately followed by a 30-foot wall of water that leveled cities.
It’s important to note that the Japanese government was advised against building those nuclear plants upon a high-risk seismic zone. After all, the isle of Japan was actually formed by the force of seismic activity as the tectonic plates shifted upward from the underlying sea [complex details].
I mean no disrespect to Japan, but it seems that in their case some corners were cut by Japanese government officials… as to safety standards and going against the advice of the industry experts [source]. Probably this risk was weighed as fair-trade against the benefits of being able to generate their own power supply. In other situations however, governments might try to cut corners when the people of that nation keep complaining about the budgets being spent on energy projects. If you truly want safe facilities being built, then be sure that you are not one of the people whining about costs.
Another important point to consider is this: the new technology for nuclear power generation has come a long way since those plants were built in Japan 40 years ago. Think about how simple life was 40 years ago and all of the technological advancements society has made since then. I mean, 40 years ago, safety standards were so low that doctors smoked cigarettes in their patients’ hospital rooms! It was a completely different world when those Japanese plants were constructed. Fast-forward to 2011… the new generation of nuclear power-generating plants are nothing like their predecessors. Plus, the industry experts have been able to learn from disasters like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. Sadly, they will learn something from Japan too. It’s not the same industry that it was 40 years ago. They are smarter and wiser. Standards are higher and safety checks are more robust than ever before in the lifetime of nuclear technology.
To those of you who complain that nuclear power is too risky to use, are YOU personally prepared to cut back your use of power so that we can live with the alternatives? In Ontario Canada, nuclear power feeds 50% of our energy consumption. Plus, nuclear power is one of the very lowest in emissions (see diagram below) so it’s one of the safest forms of power-generation for our long-term health and safety.