I am quick to call a lot of people environmentalist wackos for what I determine is much ado about insignificant risk. Once upon a time, I would have considered nuclear power plants as one such insignificant risk. But I don’t think anyone can look at the developments in Japan and come to that conclusion any longer. Much as we all fear nuclear war, it seems that what may be our demise, or at least, in the short run, one of the plagues of the Apocalypse, is a peacetime “benefit” from nuclear research.
Others have warned that Japan still faces the inevitability of a total core meltdown except for the very unlikely possibility that the exposed rods can be dealt with safely, Such meltdown is likely to cause the nearby plants to also melt down, which would practically destroy Japan, and the fallout from which will undoubtedly drift eastward and contaminate most of the North American west coast. Now come reports that even the lower levels of radiation already released during the earthquake and tsunami have likely already caused irreversible contamination to half of Japan’s population and likely made half the land less than safe to inhabit. This likely mimics the affects of a total meltdown on the western US. More or less, this is where our focus as a human race should be at this moment, over all the sectarian unrest in the world. We are talking trillions of dollars in economic setbacks and hundreds of millions of displaced people. We may be also talking about tens of millions of short term deaths and a hundred million longer term ones. And there will be, of course, the long-term affects of contaminated land the would have produced much of the world’s food.
I’m not an alarmist. At the same time, I can’t believe that we are playing the ostrich game! Perhaps it is because we are all already feeling the squeeze from the world’s financial melt down that we all feel the need to rein in spending. But, we seem to have enough money to waste trillions on modern weapons with which to terrorize the world. There is no way of really knowing where the fallout will land, so everyone has skin in this game.
As for Iran and North Korea, as well as Pakistan and every other country capable of making the big bomb, accidents happen all over. Perhaps your enriched uranium will be the next to escape containment. Would be nice to know that someone would step in to help you from being obliterated by your own lust for power.
We know the alternatives are out there–cheaper alternatives abound. And there are even cheaper alternatives with no environmental side effects that are lying in someone’s vault until such time as they can create a strategy to corner the market and take all the profit for themselves. It’s about time to spend less time thinking about how to make more money than you could ever spend and to spend a little more time making sure you can be around to spend it.