I’ve always said the real problem with nuclear power is the radioactive waste. Nuclear plants produce tons of highly toxic, hard to contain materials that remain intensely radioactive and dangerous for about 250,000 years, and nobody knows what to do with it. Let me repeat that: no one has any idea how this waste can be dealt with safely, yet we continue to produce it, and governments have plans to produce even more. That’s insane.
I guess I still think that; but today’s release of an investigative report on the Fukushima meltdown in Japan has to make anyone stop and think. The report condemns the lack of preparedness of the company running the plant and the blunders of both company executives and government officials in trying to handle the disaster. But the scary point is that we came very close to an unthinkable catastrophe, “a series of massive chain reactions” that would have destroyed the heart of Japan. Officials considered an evacuation of Tokyo – a city of 35 million people.
In this case, the determination of the heroic Tsukushima 50, who continued working far beyond their safe radiation allowances, and a few lucky breaks pulled us back from the brink on that one. But what will happen next time? As I said, this is insane.