Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



We humans think we are soooo smart. We humans always think we can conquer MOTHER NATURE. We ignore her attempts to warn us. Everyone knows that earthquakes come in all different sizes at any time of the day and night. So it's probably not a good idea to build a nuclear reactor on a fault line scientifically proven to be seismically active. But... hey...we're smart...we know the chances of a 8.9 quake occurring today are pretty slim. Problem solved...until tomorrow!

When I was a kid...way back in the 1970's...I was always puzzled by the anti-nuclear protests. There were lots of them (way back then) and I couldn't figure out what the big deal was. OK, I understood why other protests were happening. For example, the anti-war movement seemed straightforward enough. I also understood the need for union picketers and the pro-life movement. Heck, I even understood why PETA is mad! (But I still think they're kinda silly.) But I could never understand the anti-nuclear protesters. Why would people want to spend their time, outside, in the freezing cold, marching in circles outside the locked chained-linked fence of THREE MILE ISLAND or DIABLO CANYON? Why are they so mad about something that might possibly happen in the future?

For years, the dire warnings painted on their signs didn't happen. The protesters, once so emblazoned with passion and rage, began to slowly fizzle out. By the time an actual disaster occurred in Chernobyl in 1986, their shouts of "I TOLD YOU SO" were too few to notice. During the 1990's and the 2000's, the anti-nuclear movement further splintered and failed to gain any headlines or true concern. But now...suddenly....just weeks from 25th anniversary of the UKRAINIAN NIGHTMARE...we are painfully forced to ask ourselves again: Is Nuclear Power really worth the risks?

Just because something is new doesn't mean that it is necessarily better. People are always seeking out a way to do something easier now so we can have more leisure time later. Let's review two 'great' human inventions from the 1900's and see how wonderful they turned out to be.

Exhibit A: Baby Formula. Moms in the '50's and '60's were told this 'miracle powder mixed with water' would make their infants healthier than breast milk. Nowadays, we know that the million-plus years homo sapiens spent suckling their young is...in fact...the better way.

Exhibit B: Margarine. People have been churning butter for a long time as well, but scientists created a substitute made of sugar, plastic and yellow dye. Yuck.

Oops, got a little off track there. Back to nuclear power. Gandhi asked us to "listen to those who have no voice." Today we need to hear what JUNISHIRO TAKASHI is trying to tell us. Who is she? She is a six-month-old baby living in the 'Evacuation Zone,' the 12-mile region surrounding the spewing Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Today, it's up to 1,000 millisieverts (whatever the hell that is) of radiation and her organs are in danger of failing.

Sure...nuclear power is safe.

1 comment:

  1. "Sure...nuclear power is safe." Well, if safe means that nothing bad will ever happen, no it doesn't reach that bar. But as dramatic as a nuclear accidents may be, the actual dangers are dwarfed by those from fossil fuels.

    Has Dunersblog already forgotten the massive oil spill in the gulf? Or the coal miners trapped underground for months? The natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno? Fossil fuels have their dangers too.

    When you get down and crunch the numbers, nuclear turns out to be a safer alternative. In Europe, coal kills 360 people and seriously sickens more than 1000 people for every 1 person killed or injured by nuclear power providing the same amount of energy. Deaths and illness from fossil fuels come from mining accidents, fires and pollution. And they don't even count the effects of global warming.

    Nuclear power isn't perfect, but it likely remains a better source of energy than fossil fuels.