On the anniversary of the continuing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant the Japanese are reevaluating their commitment to nuclear power as an answer to environmentally sensible electricity dependence. On March 8 Japanese officials shut down 52 of Japan`s 54 nuclear power plants. The Prime Minister supports phase-out of nuclear power. German policy is going in the same direction. One more disaster like Chernobyl, Fukushima or Three Mile Island and other nations may follow suit.
The Fukushima disaster had three fatal factors: poor site choice, poor plant design and inadequate government oversight. The location at sea level opened the door to flooding. Backup power supply for cooling pumps was poorly designed. Failure of the Japanese government to require safer siting and design exacerbated the disaster.
Closer to home, much closer, the Levy County nuclear power plant proposed by Progress Energy must be reevaluated in light of the Fukushima catastrophe. The nearby Crystal River nuclear power plant owned by Progress Energy suffers from poor siting, at sea level. It is also an example of poor design in that it is the six plants of similar design four have had problems. (Details upon request.)
The flooding in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 have demonstrated that the U.S. government oversight and responses are no more reassuring than the oversight and response in Japan.
Recognition of carbon dioxide as the cause of global warming is clear to all but the willfully ignorant and the oil and coal industries. Burning oil, gas and coal produces carbon dioxide.
Solar and wind as answers to global warming are long-term solutions. Conservation, in contrast to NASCAR charm, must be a bigger factor if we are to survive. Does anyone other than emergency vehicles need to go more than 60 mph? The G.M. hybrid automobile has a 175 horse power engine to charge the batteries and has a top speed of 100 mph. What madness! Fifty years ago cars with half that power could go 100 mph. Conservation will not come from Detroit. Conservation will come from a public that rewards better design.