For me, this is pretty much a “no-brainer” type of statement. While there may have been a period of time when I was in Elementary, Junior High, or High School where I reflexively supported the nuclear industry because “We’re America and we can do everything,” once I actually started thinking seriously about the topic of nuclear power, it became glaringly obvious to me that it is unsupportable.
I am not a scientist but as I’ve watched and read as thing have unfolded in Japan, it has been reinforced once again that the scientists are often just as clueless as the rest of us. For every scientist who resigns over design flaws, I would wager there are one hundred who just see it as business as usual (and no, I don’t have anything to back that statement up other than a gut feeling – so we’ll call it a WAG.) Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. These are just the best known few of the nuclear disasters that we are aware of.
Yet here we sit, two weeks after the massive earthquake in Japan that caused the current problems and for every Germany moving away from Nuclear power there’s a China or France still supporting the industry.
Here in the United States, the nuclear industry is protected by the US government which is obligated by law to pay the costs of a disaster. From CNN today (Friday, March 25):
Under current law, the utilities that operate nuclear power plants are responsible for a fund that pays the first $12.6 billion in damages and lawsuits resulting from any incident.
A 1982 study from Sandia National Laboratories, commissioned for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the consequences of a nuclear meltdown would be catastrophic. The disaster could cause 50,000 fatalities and $314 billion in property damage.
In today’s money, that’s $720 billion.