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Paul T Kidd's Sustainability Pages

Main Home > Sustainable Civilisation >Sustainability Home > Nuclear Power Post Fukushima

Nuclear Power Post Fukushima

Following the first ever, triple reactor core meltdown, and the contamination of tens of square kilometres of surrounding countryside with Strontium 90, this is what some senior engineers and scientists in the UK said:

“People have an irrational fear of radiation.”

“No one died (from exposure to radiation).”

“... in terms of a nuclear accident it showed what people can do in very trying circumstances ...”

“All the press focused on ... was a reactor puffing steam.”

“the material that has been emitted from Fukushima is not going to create long-term damage.”

“... there is nothing that happened there which should stop us having a nuclear ambition in Britain.”

"The Chinese are fortunate in having an authoritarian government—they can just build their reactors without having to be concerned about opposition."

“Fukushima changes nothing.”

“Germany's decision (to phase-out nuclear energy) was influenced by public opinion ... (not evidence and facts).”

“(Fukushima) was not another Chernobyl.”

“Our reactors are different …we have designed in features which means we would not be able to have the same event as happened in Japan.”

“Ratings of nuclear disasters that place Fukushima on a par with Chernobyl are misleading.”

Welcome to the lunatic asylum that is the modern world of science, technology and engineering! But why the collective denial of actual events? Why the attempt to downplay what is, without doubt, one of the most important events for the future of society in the 21st century? Why do scientists and engineers want people to believe that the Fukushima disaster is not really a significant event? Why the contempt for democratic process and public opinion? Why this authoritarian, experts know best approach? Why the … it can’t happen here mindset? Does the answer lie in an alignment of science and engineering with powerful economic vested interests? Is this evidence of lack of fitness for purpose? These matters are explored further in Paul T Kidd's short story, Encounter with a Wise Man and in his forthcoming first major novel (details to be announced in early 2013).

Readers should note that Fukushima is only the second civilian nuclear accident to warrant the highest possible rating of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The scale judges the severity of nuclear events by their impact on people and the environment. The only other accident to be given this rating was Chernobyl (so much for reactors puffing stream!). For an explanation of what happened at Fukushima, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, read the IEEE's blow-by-blow account: 24 Hours at Fukushima (opens in new window).

The question is not whether there will be another accident on the scale of Chernobly or Fukushima, but when and where it will occur. If you can reach an understanding of the reasons underlying this statement then you will have taken the first steps towards gaining insights into the core of what is wrong with modern science and engineering. More in the way of explanation to follow in due course ...

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