Friday, March 18, 2011

The story from Japan is truly tragic. The Fukushima nuclear power plant is on nuclear meltdown as all 4 reactors have essentially malfunctioned and there are reports saying that there might be damage to the core.

While this nuclear disaster is probably one of the worst since Chernobyl, that does not mean that we should abandon nuclear power as a viable alternate energy source. Nations like Germany, Canada, and the United States have anti-nuclear advocates vigorously calling for the end of nuclear power. I disagree, mainly because the power plant didn't just randomly malfunction. An 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a subsequent Tsunami triggered the malfunction, but events like those happen near major fault lines which Japan has plenty of across its islands. Most countries that have adopted nuclear power are not near major fault lines in the same way Japan is. I can understand some of the protesting nations such as China, and India because they do have fault lines and the potential for strong earthquakes but Germany isn't near a fault line and Canada has fault lines across its West coast as does the US. Given that these countries are two of the largest in the world, they could definitely build a power plant in Wyoming and Manitoba respectively and still see little harm. Japan will likely have to build the sarcophagus over the power plant to prevent future radiation; however, seawater is still being pumped into the reactors to cool down the plant.

What we do need to learn from this disaster is that we cannot keep spent rods at the power plant. They need to be buried a mile deep under a mountain so that the particles can decay for thousands of years without causing any specific harm. As controversial as this sounds, they have to be kept away from the general public to prevent disasters such as radiation fires which spew particles into the air. Even if Nuclear Power isn't a permanent fix for our energy dilemmas, we can certainly get a lot of mileage from developing them further in the right places.

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