Friday, March 18, 2011

Open: Will the Japan crisis mean the end of nuclear energy?

To Japan's quick recovery!!

Both Libya and Japan as a result of the earthquake ~ the focus is on energy. A nuclear reactor boils water to generate steam to power a turbine. Its a glorified steam engine ~ we don't just throw coal in it any more. In our cars we burn oil ~ like used to do with oil lamps before the light bulb. And just think ~ the powerful oil lamp industry of the time took Edison to court to try and prevent the use of electric lighting. But imagine, where we would be if they had won.

Conserving energy ~ is b.s. because we are going to need more of it. We need energy, and we need it on tap.

Oil pipelines and wars in oil nations. The needless tax on everything. Only allowing for high-end goods to be produced. Robotics run on negligible energy costs could help change this.

Democracy is for people who 'choose' their laws. In Iraq, schools are now teaching kids that they may have to kill Christians! When was the last time anyone in the west ~ heard of 'holy war'!

But Saddam's gone!

Technology around energy ~ just peaking over zilch!!

One day it may be a situation ~ where we can't rush in and control it ~ with weapons. As a result western infrastructure might be shut down for a while. There are too many things to juggle, dictators in countries where people don't expect and even reject basic freedoms, terrorism a complete wildcard ~ ad plain old blackmail seeing our vulnerability and exposure to oil, it could stop flowing for any number of reasons ~ Hugo Chavez has already made similar gestures ~ his party of support could grow ~ we are cruising for a bruising.

It would be surprising if this situation can drag on for much longer.

The future is now ~ we just can't see it!!

In light of a possible nuclear catastrophe in Japan, countries around the world are rethinking whether atomic energy really is the future. DW's Judith Hartl believes the crisis could lead to the end of the nuclear age.

One thing is clear after Fukushima: nuclear power stations are not safe - always and everywhere. Those who say otherwise are lying. It is that simple.

After Fukushima, the perennial reaffirmations that Germany's own reactors are more technically sound than the Soviet reactor at Chernobyl no longer hold sway. No, Fukushima shows us that even in a technologically advanced country like Japan, control of technology can be lost in an instant, suddenly leaving us helpless - like dwarfs armed with blunt spears standing before a huge fire-spewing dragon.

The longer the desperate fight against the meltdown continues in Fukushima, the more cognizant the world becomes of this sudden and very deadly danger.

Now, after some initial knee-jerk reactions of loyalty to their own nuclear policies, some countries are beginning to question the nuclear path - at least in a cautious manner. Germany has already dissociated itself from the infallibility of nuclear power, and now Brazil has announced it will examine its plans for an expansion of its nuclear program. Israel, too, has thrown its plans for a new reactor overboard, and even China, which currently has more than 20 new reactors in the pipeline, is considering a building freeze.

In no other country in the world could it have been made clearer than in Japan that we cannot and never will be able to control nuclear power. It is just too dangerous. And maybe Fukushima will indeed cause a lasting rethink of nuclear power, that it is not the energy of the future. Perhaps it will show us that we must invest in a massive expansion of renewable energy sources - solar, wind and geothermal energy - and of course also in developing energy-saving technologies.

And perhaps Fukushima will even come to represent a turning point - the beginning of a new era without nuclear power stations. A dream? Who knows.


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