Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nuclear Setback

It's a horrible tragedy in Japan with the earthquakes, and I hope that they are able to find and help survivors over there. Watching images yesterday and today, it's an awful situation for people to be in and it reminds me of the tremendous power of nature.

One thing I do think will live long after this is the nuclear power issue. There are problems at a plant over there as the cooling system is not keeping up. There's a real danger of meltdown, and this showcases one of the major issues with nuclear power. When there is an issue, or a potential for meltdown, humans can't easily get close to determine what's wrong. Exposure of the fuel is deadly. A person trying to run 5 ft inside the reactor to punch an emergency switch (if there were one), would likely be dead by the time they hit the switch.

That's scary. And I'm worried this type of disaster, even without a meltdown, will make people in the US more wary about expanding our nuclear power options. I'd like to see more nuclear plants, since I think it's a good fuel, but the hysteria, and all the news coverage plays on people's fear of radiation. The ignorance about what radiation is, how it works, and how it's transmitted means that more and more of the public is against nuclear power just because of that fear.

I can understand it, but I hope this doesn't set the US nuclear program back another 20 years.

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