Thursday, March 17, 2011

Accidents, Fear, and Knee Jerk Reactions

We knew it was going to happen again.

Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now in Japan--Fukushima.

Accidents where we learned of the inherent dangers of nuclear power and thought we could do better.  Each one has its own story and,  for many of us, remembering Three Mile Island and Chernobyl brings back the fears of the world as they were occurring.

An article in the Christian Science Monitor is already accusing the Japanese Government of lax oversight. Like that is going to make a difference right now.

Countries around the world are examining their nuclear power, which a good thing; but let's not condemn the entire system, yet.  We still need to learn more--but apparently the community has gotten complacent. But to turn off the nuclear plants does not make the problem go away.

We do not stop mining coal when mines collapse. We didn't stop drilling for oil in the wake of the BP sponsored oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Similarly, since shutting down the plants does not make the problem go away--we should not stop producing electricity using nuclear fuel. We need to devote more research to making the process safer and thinking about the "what ifs" that are out there when dealing with a natural disaster. I'm still amazed that no one thought about an earthquake followed by a tsunami and the need to have on site power to keep the pumps circulation coolant.  But that's just me looking in hindsight.

And while I'm at it--the finger pointing that the Christian Science Monitor is reporting doesn't help. There will be plenty of time for finger pointing later--and there will be a lot of it because I'm sure there is a lot of blame to go around.

Right now--let's not waste brainpower trying to determine blame--let's solve the problem at hand. Then point fingers and begin planning to correct deficiencies to preserve the future around the world.

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