This is the most man-made part of this disaster.
It was waiting to happen.
If not in Fukushima, then some other nuclear plant in Japan,
or in some other country.
Nuclear energy is promoted as if it is clean, cheap, and safe.
But, if you really understand the entire process, from mining, construction, and decommissioning including radioactive waste storage, the history, and complexities in safety, it is not clean, cheap, or safe. Thats a fantasy.
What it is, is energy dense.
Fossile fuels are also energy dense.
The unfortunate reality is that we have sacrificed human lives, democracy, safety and security, and peace for these concentrated forms of power. Both are non-renewable resources too, meaning we will run out of it.
Technology will not solve our energy problems,
it can delay the consequences and keep us distracted,
the only real solution to our relationship to energy
is to use less of it.
That will be a cultural revolution.
Either we choose to do it, or it will be forced on us.
Like Richard Heinberg said,
the party's over.
I hope this was a shocking wakeup call to everybody about the nature of nuclear power
and the disproportionate risks we take for our lavish energy use.
I was with Mayumi Oda (artist, environmentalist, nuclear abolition activist) when the earthquake first hit, and we were talking about how this is the time to really put an end to this madness. If we don't get it now, after 3 mile island, after Chernobyl, then we will pay greatly in the future. Slowly we will forget, get distracted with our daily life, and be surprised when another disaster happens. There is no way to eliminate the potential for computer malfunction, human error, unexpected natural disaster, or terrorism. That is the same for most forms of energy production, but nuclear is the highest risk and life-cycle cost.
The only way to stop nuclear disasters is if we stop it.
Our energy situation is quite complicated,
as we deal with the convergence of climate change and peak oil,
there will be no easy solutions.
Renewables have their downsides too,
and most likely cannot produce the amount of energy we have become accustom to.
We can choose the path of a graceful decent, or we can head for collapse.
For an intelligent overview and analysis of energy, and realistic steps we can take,
I highly recommend (click for more info):
There are lots of other books on this subject too.
If this event has not inspired you to action,
please at least learn about risks and realities of nuclear power,
and our energy situation.
It will really change your understanding of our world.
Plus its interesting stuff!
Here is a related post by my friend Andy on the recent nuclear disaster.
More eloquent than my ranting:)
"How can you expose your children and my children to radiation from the plant?
The nuclear disaster is timely in Japan because in a different prefecture,
they started construction of a new nuclear power plant in a biodiversity hotspot.
There have been persistant local protests that delayed the construction for over a year.
Very little media has covered this situation,
and I imagine most Japanese don't know that it is even happening.
Its hard to care about things that don't seem to directly affect your life.
The link below is an overview of the situation
Here is another site with a link to a petition
Recently, a Japanese documentary on energy was released which included this situation.
Lets create a new era,
where we respect life and each other.
A safe and stable world for ourselves and children.
Lets enjoy a life of inner fulfillment,
and minimal consumption.
A life where less is all we need to be happy.