The Nuclear Point-of-View

It seems every morning this week that I look at the news, the news about the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant just keeps getting worse.  The latest news being that it’s just a matter of time before one or more of the reactors suffers from a complete meltdown.  The news has also described the likelihood that the tons of spent reactor fuel, which is over-heating, will meltdown as well.

Our government continues to discuss an increase in our reliance on nuclear power.  Prior to being elected, President Obama had described how he wanted the United States to pursue more sources of clean, renewable energy.  As of this week, it appears he continues to support the idea of increasing the number of nuclear power plants in this country.

According to an article at talkingpointsmemo.com, House Speaker John Boehner told the audience at a job creation forum that he believes the United States should follow the lead of France with respect to nuclear power generation.  He said that France generates 82% of their electric power using nuclear plants, while the United States generates 20% using nuclear plants.  He believes we should not abandon nuclear power because we are afraid of it.  I wonder if he would feel the same way if his personal residence was located near the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant?

It is clear that many people in this country are very concerned for their personal safety as a result of the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility.  Retail outlets that sell potassium iodide tablets have sold out.  At least here on the west coast, there is no where you can buy potassium iodide tablets right now, either locally or online.  I did a search online for outlets that sell radiation detectors.  Nearly every site I came across had a notation that they were not accepting new orders because they have been swamped with orders.

The thing that is so frightening about radiation is that it is invisible.  You don’t know that you’ve been exposed unless you have a radiation detector or until you develop a radiation-caused illness.  And if the radiation that is being released in Japan should be carried to the United States along the jet stream, where do we go?  It’s not feasible to just pack up and head for Hawaii, although I wouldn’t mind being in Hawaii right now.  We are at the mercy of whatever is going to happen.

If you’re concerned about knowing if any radiation is reaching the west coast, there is a private web site that shows several private radiation monitors in the United States.  It is at www.radiationnetwork.com.  The operators of this site also sell radiation detectors and they say they are out of stock as well.

Instead of spending billions upon billions of dollars on new nuclear power plants, wouldn’t it be more logical to spend that money on renewable sources?  I would not mind paying a little more for my electricity if it was coming from a source that did not create a hazard like the plant in Japan and did not create waste that must be stored for hundreds of years.

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