Nuclear power is fine — it's corporate power that's dangerous
In the Guardian, George Monbiot argues that nuclear power was the least of Fukushima's problems. Sure, the nuclear industry is corrupt and regulation-resistant — but name a power industry that isn't. When it comes to health threats, says Monbiot, the conscienceless scumbags in the nuclear industry are miles ahead of all the other conscienceless scumbags.
For starters, nuclear plants aren't fundamentally unsafe, says Monbiot — they're just old sometimes. The Fukushima Daini plant, right next door to Daiichi, is ten years younger and weathered the tsunami just fine, and newer plants are even safer.
The problem isn't the plants, but the owners and officials: Tepco, the company that runs Fukushima, was lazy and corner-cutting in its emergency preparations, and regulators turned a blind eye. You know, just like what happens in every other energy industry. Only those industries contribute mightily to global warming and cause tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths (from coal pollution, for instance). The Fukushima meltdown has caused no confirmed deaths so far.
Whether or not you agree with Monbiot's final conclusion — he also thinks there's little inherent danger in burying nuclear waste — his sarcasm-fu is inspiring to watch:
Nuclear operators worldwide have been repeatedly exposed as a bunch of arm-twisting, corner-cutting scumbags.
In this respect they are, of course, distinguished from the rest of the energy industry, which is run by collectives of self-abnegating monks whose only purpose is to spread a little happiness.
Get Grist in your inbox