Tough Question: Safety of Nuclear Power

Video of explosion:

With Japan, a country familiar with the dangers of nuclear energy, facing the prospect of a Chernobyl style nuclear failure, how safe is nuclear power?  The sense of an inevitable movement to switch to nuclear power in the face of a dwindling supply of fossil fuel, Japan provides an argument against.

As with all things that affect the common good, a cost-benefit analysis must show that the risk of natural disaster must be balanced against the risk of nuclear contamination.  Should we build nuclear reactors on the “ring of fire,” or should they be restricted to areas with low seismic activity?  It may be that nuclear power is the better of many poor choices, but where should they be?  I hear in my earphones that there has been an explosion (12:19 PST) at two facilities in Fukishima, Japan.

Japan braces for a “devastating” nuke meltdown, media buzzes with signs of eminent crisis

By IBTimes Staff Reporter | March 12, 2011 2:00 AM EST

In developments proving that the powerful 8.9-magintude earthquake has not retired from wreaking havoc, the temblor that triggered a massive tsunami besides landslides and fires is now plunging the country into the potential risk of a nuclear meltdown.
Various media reports have emerged shedding light on the current Japanese nuclear crisis indicating the tense situation that the country is facing with authorities scrambling to contain a high possibility of a meltdown. Emergency cooling systems were damaged at two major nuclear power plants by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, that claimed at least 613 lives, while a Daiichi plant also posed a eminent threat.  Threat at the Fukushima No. 1 plant prompted evacuation of all civilians within a six-mile radius on Saturday. The plant is located about 150 miles northeast of Tokyo. LATimes reported that its normal backup cooling systems failed and it ry to release radioactive steam to relieve pressure that could cause an explosion.  Hours later the a few miles south Fukushima No. 2 plant had also failed, and consequently caused evacuations. Five reactors were damaged at the two plants and radiation levels in the control room at Fukushima No. 1 were reported to be as high as 1,000 times normal, the report added. Meanwhile, quoting Japanese nuclear authorities Jiji news agency reported on Saturday that the there was a high possibility that nuclear fuel rods at a reactor at Tokyo Electric Power’s Daiichi plant may be melting or have melted. This news came even as state of emergency was declared for five nuclear reactors at two different sites in Fukushima, located about 250 kilometres northeast of greater Tokyo.


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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