Skip to main content

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Nuke?

After the reactors at Fukushima First Power Plant here in Japan melted down in March of 2011, a wave of paranoia gripped Japan. Anti-nuke scaremongers had a field day, and opposition to nuclear power had become quite popular. Before a popular position is adopted, however, it should first be checked against the numbers to make sure it stands up to reality.
  I’m not saying that nuclear power is entirely safe, and nothing ever is, but the dangers of nuclear power have always been blown way out of proportion. It’s understandable that people would be scared of nuclear anything, considering the horrific damage that nuclear weapons did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki back during World War II. It’s especially scary here, since this is the only country in history, so far, to get hit with nuclear weapons.
  But is this fear justified when it comes to peaceful nuclear power? I don’t think so. Too many people look too much at the TV screens showing power plants going kaboom and not enough at the hard numbers. I support stringent safety measures to insure that nuclear power plant workers are working in a safe environment, but I don’t support abandoning nuclear power outright. Such a position is based on sensationalist paranoia and will prove untenable in the long run once fossil fuels become too expensive for Japan, a country with no significant fossil fuel sources of its own. Since renewables are far too limited to take up the slack, nuclear power is, like it or not, here to stay.
  Where I am, I see the hard numbers every day. I used to work in Fukushima prefecture, and at all five schools I worked at were these radiation monitors placed outside. Increased cancer risk, the barest minimum of ill effects from radiation, requires at least ten microsieverts of constant dosage, and it must stay above ten microsieverts to do so, but I have never seen even one of those monitors top the one microsievert per hour mark. They all stayed in the nanosieverts range.
  Finally, we should ask those seeking to ban nuclear power if they’re equally or more willing to get rid of cigarettes. Tobacco, aside from contributing nothing good to society, kills more people in one hour worldwide than nuclear power has killed in its entire history. In fact, nuclear power plant accidents such as Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island make the evening news because events like these happen so rarely. People dying of heart disease brought on from cigarette-induced inflammation happens so often that it’s nowhere near as newsworthy. News is, after all, entertainment as well as information. They know the sight of exploding power plants keeps the viewers coming back for more.


Popular posts from this blog

Flat Earth Fun

When I was a toddler back in the early 1970s, I myself thought the Earth was flat. I thought we were living on this big lunch tray floating around in space, and I once had a dream of people jumping off the edge of that tray. I also remember watching someone performing on TV playing a piano on a platform moving through a slowly-moving star field, not realizing that he was just greenscreened in a TV studio. Then I saw an image of the planet Earth as a globe, but I thought it was a planet off in space somewhere else. It took me a while to realize that I was actually living on that planet and not some big floating lunch tray.
    As an adult going on fifty next year, I now know better. But YouTube has recently been suffering from a plague of flat earthers, delusional adults who really believe that the Earth is flat. Albeit instead of the rectangular lunch tray my toddler self thought we lived on, orthodox flat earthers believe the Earth is shaped like a vinyl phonograph record with the No…

Losing Weight

I’m currently on a weight loss regimen. I’m not paying a single dime for it either, since the best and most effective weight loss regimen is free and, in fact, can save you money. Forget that Jenny Craig or NutriSystem stuff. It’s so brutally simple: You just need to burn off more calories than you consume. How do you do that? Eat less, exercise more or do both. I stick with the old school weight loss program: calorie restriction. Calories are the alpha and omega of weight loss and weight gain.   However, there’s been a lot of mythology fluttering around about weight loss these days, including stuff we’ve been hearing from Dr. Oz on TV every weekday afternoon at 16:00. I still watch, but I’m skeptical about a lot of the claims I hear there. Let me see how many common pieces of advice I can list that I’ve been ignoring: I don’t eat breakfast. A lot of overweight people have self-reported that they “skip breakfast,” but what they really mean is that they don’t sit down at home for break…