Here is one of today’s headlines from USA Today:
Even after Fukushima in Japan has shown the world how profoundly and fundamentally flawed today’s version of nuclear power generation is, the industry remains intact throughout the USA.
Even after the “flood of 2011” (which major flood, there are so many these days, right?) almost shut down the nuclear reactor in Calhoun, Nebraska, the nuclear power industry goes along as though nothing has happened. No threats on our doorstep are acknowledged in spite of the changing landscape and water bodies/courses due to global climate change and earth cataclysms.
How does the government allow such a dangerous technology, which lacks so many necessary safeguards, to proceed with business as usual? In the face of so many warnings coming from every corner of American society, including many within the nuclear industry itself?
How does the Mainstream Media ignore this pressing and ever-worsening predicament. Ever-worsening because the actual nuclear power plants themselves were only designed for so many years of ‘safe’ operation before they will degrade to a point of ….
Fukushima has conveyed to the entire world some very important messages about the utter folly of nuclear energy generation, and especially how deficient is the current state of technology and nuclear reactor design.
So, here we are as a nation confronted with 65 nuclear power plants running 104 nuclear reactors. Every single one of them poses a problem to the locales in which they’re located for various and sundry reasons. What are some of those reasons.
• There is always the risk of a Fukushima type of event because of the unpredictability of earthquakes
• There is always the risk of flooding which can shut down the nuclear reactor cooling systems
• There are various circumstances which can cause a meltdown like The Mile Island back in 1979
• There are always major problems with the storage pools which hold spent rods on site at these nuclear power plants
• The conveyance of spent nuclear material out of the plant site also has many serious risks and obvious dangers
What we saw with both Chernobyl and Fukushima is that when things do go wrong – horribly wrong – there is very little that can be done in the short term to prevent massive, wide-scale nuclear contamination of the entire local area. Of course, as time goes on we also see great swaths of both land and sea which are likewise contaminated in the wake of a serious nuclear catastrophe.
Particularly in light of the numerous inherent technology defects and design/engineering/construction flaws of the current nuclear paradigm do we see cascading of nuclear events in the not to distant future. The recent uptick in nuclear disasters worldwide and near emergencies here at home surely indicate that we have an endemic problem that will simply not go away. In fact, it will only get more complicated and difficult to resolve in any meaningful way.
Therefore, we now are now at a crossroad with regard to some extremely consequential decisions which must be made about the optimal mix of energy sources and production that is required to power American industry. The BP Gulf oil spill showed us with remarkable effect how dangerous are the current standard operating procedures throughout the entire Oil and Gas Industry. It even showed us that the Hydrocarbon Fuel Paradigm is potentially more dangerous than the nuclear side of energy production.
This urgent predicament leaves us as a country with only one alternative – the development of energy resources and technology which are truly sustainable, non-polluting and cost effective to produce. The energy paradigms of the future must also be efficient, inexpensive to the end-user and environmentally friendly in every way.
We now wonder if either government or industry, science or technology are up to this task of the millennium?!
State of the Nation 2012
September 21, 2012
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