Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nuclear Power Has Lost Its Lustre, But Not Its Glow

Planning for Disaster



Teacher—Mrs. Holman

Project—The Photoelectric Cell

Atomic energy was just being talked about. After the detonation of the atomic bomb, the subject of nukes was a bit outré. 

It wasn’t long before a toy car came out with a photoelectric cell on top. Shine a flashlight on it and away we go.

However, it wasn’t long before the nuclear energy industry was all fired up and running like an old coal furnace—all the heat, none of the smoke.

Then the anti-nuke protesters came along.

We were told that nuclear waste is deadly. It can’t be shipped safely, it can’t be stored safely, and it stays deadly for the “half-life of an atom—186,000 years!”

After a big fuss and bother, the protesters went on to something else and nuclear energy went on to become the energy source of the future.

Easy to understand. Aside from the production of a solar power, the power source is free.

Nuclear power requires stuff. Nuclear power requires physical plant and planning. Nuclear power can be regulated. (Or not.) Nuclear power is the stuff of business. It is the stuff of manufacturing business. It involves production. Raw materials go in, there is production, and there is output.

Today, aside from a few solar panels on rooftops here and there, the solar panels of the future are still the energy source of the future. Until now.

As a result of Chernobyl, we learned nothing. As a result of Three Mile Island, we learned nothing. 

As a result of Fukushima we are learning nothing except damage control. Not damage control in the event of a disaster at a nuclear power plant; but damage control in the event of a disaster in the image of the nuclear power industry.

After almost half a century, we’ve had no problem concocting an industry out of pure science. However, we’ve concocted little in the ability to learn from our mistakes. We did not learn to come up with a plan B. We did not come up with an alternative product fabricated from pure science.

By now anyone with a lot of scientific knowledge and only a bit of common sense, would have created the industry of the future; the technology of the future; the science of the future.
By now, more than half the houses in America could have had solar panels on the roofs, geothermal heating systems installed, and a much more efficient use of materials and space in the construction.

Alas, no; and there is little evidence to suggest that anyone can see the future. Impossible, you say. Try standing on the railroad tracks and watch the train coming your way.

Oh, yeah!

We actually have the audacity to discuss preparations for any foreseeable disaster. Well, what about an unforeseeable disaster? Well, we can’t prepare for an unforeseeable disaster. Exactly.

Perhaps if we were to rid ourselves of this fixation and stop clutching retentively to our highly intelligent ignorance, we will finally stop planning to build nuclear power plants and start to develop our solar energy.

Planning to build nuclear power plants can be seen as planning for disaster. But we’re supposed to plan to prevent them, not cause them.



PS. I am not Paul Harvey.  Still, I am open to becoming a paid blogger, columnist, or commentator.

In the meantime, if anyone finds the monographs on my blog to be especially helpful, please do not hesitate to send me on of those tricked out laptops and few dollars tucked into the envelope with the thank you note.



Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview


BettyLaVerne said...

This is a very good point, and we would have more alternative energies if the lobbiests for the power industry were non-existent. Our governmental bodies are in bed with them, and rely on their contributions to get into office.
And, we are too complacent, at least thus far. If the public understood in America that they are on the hook financially for any nuclear disaster, since they, the taxpayers are covering the insurance costs for that disaster, maybe they would be less likely to go along with the lobbiests, the government, and the SUV gas guzzlers. But, as the cost of gasoline rises, change will be possible.
TX for your honest blog.

slimfairview said...

Thank you for your response, BettyLaVerne.

The usual problem arises from challenger candidates.

You get

a. A one-trick pony
b. A concerned politician on one issue who projects him self as an extremist on other issues
c. A third party challenger with little or no substance. (Aside from the rhetoric.)

This leaves us with no options other than to stand and watch the train coming without enough sense to get off the tracks.


slimfairview said...

On Nuclear Power Plants:

"If you think there is no way to project future disasters, watch someone standing on the railroad tracks to see what he does when he sees a train coming."

Slim Fairview


The Quotations of Slim Fairview (c) 2011 Slim Fairview