It seems like only yesterday people were screaming “Fission, Baby Fission!” The Media gushed over a few environmental leaders who had converted to the cause of nuclear power in the face of (or with a face full of) fossil fuel emissions warming the biosphere. During the BP Oil Spill (anybody still remember that??) I pulled out the old crystal ball and reminded y’all about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and mused if it would take a similar incident to remind folks of why nuclear power sucks so badly…and sadly, here we are - a couple of explosions at Japanese nuclear reactors following the ‘quake, some venting of radioactive gas, and a strong chance remaining of partial reactor core meltdown.
As a Californian in particular, I can’t help but be concerned as we have 2 similar reactors at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, situated not far from active fault lines.
It’s bad enough that industry and their Capitol Hill whores have been clamoring for new nukes here since the dark years of Bush’s Reign of Error, even stuffing lots of glowing pork in the awful Energy Bill ’03, but what’s worse is that they only plan to create more of the inherently dangerous ‘light water reactors,’ not the somewhat safer reactor models in which other countries are investing. As we had already learned at Three Mile Island, the light water reactors rely on active safety systems in order to keep from melting down. If something goes wrong, like say an earthquake forcing the plant to go offline and destroying the diesel backup generators in the process…the reactor core overheats, risking a meltdown.
I’m against nuclear power for a variety of reasons, but if we must have it shoved up our asses, at least let’s go with safer reactors as well as use heavy-metal/fast neutron reactors to burn up a larger % of the fuel and the long-lasting transuranic elements.