On matters nuclear

I’m not a big fan of nuclear power, mainly because of the human side of the equation. Our “friendly neighborhood” nuke plants were Fermi in Detroit (victim of a partial meltdown) and Davis-Besse (responsible for two of the five most serious civilian incidents in the US since 1979, according to the NRC).

However, current energy needs do not admit to a non-nuclear solution until we have wider-spread and higher-efficiency renewable sources.

That said, when you are looking at places to site a nuclear plant, does it not make sense to not put it somewhere that there is an active offshore fault, the presence of which makes a combined earthquake and tsunami inevitable over time? Or if you must put it there, that precautions against both should be taken?

Let’s be clear. The containment vessels far outperformed what they were designed to handle. What let the Fukushima facility down is the failure of the support facilities, which it now seems clear were not designed to survive what the reactors were designed to survive.

Unfortunately, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and now not only is there a growing radioactive leak, but even the reactors that were already shut down are at risk.

Can we afford a non-nuclear future? No, not in the short term. However, the lesson is clear: site plants in geologically stable areas, harden them against whatever the local environment can throw against them, and adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward corner-cutting, specifically including jailing executives, not just slap-on-the-wrist fines.

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