Saturday, March 26, 2011

Editorial Round-Up

Editorial boards around the country continue to ruminate about nuclear energy in this country in the wake of event in Japan.

From the Amarillo Globe-News:

But is this tragic event reason to throw the nuclear power strategy onto the trash heap? No.

Well, that’s direct. Part of the response is informed by industry around Amarillo:

The Panhandle of Texas has its share of natural gas and oil production and, thus, residents here are exposed to potential danger all the time.

Do we toss aside those energy sources because of accidents? Again, no.


But it must be noted that the Fukushima plant that's been all but destroyed by Mother Nature is an old plant. Newer installations would have far superior technology to guard against the kind of disaster that's occurring in Japan.

I’m not sure that argument holds true. Fukushima and all older plants are held to the standards of the present day, but it’s all right. Newer plants have redundant safeguards that do aid in staving off nature’s fury. In all, an interesting approach. Amarillans clearly know the dangers of energy production, so they know equally what can happen and what’s necessary to maintain safety.


From mLive in Michigan:

As the U.S. continues to offer help, compassion and prayers to Japan, those questions should be confronted and addressed, with an eye toward keeping nuclear energy as one important component in a mix of power sources. Nuclear does not produce the emissions of other types of electricity generation, especially coal. The United States should sensibly manage the risks involved, but not back away from them.

Notably, a lot of editorial boards are just not backing away – I can’t confirm this, but I don’t believe off shore drilling received quite such a warm reception after the BP spill last year. If so, it is the emission free nature of nuclear energy that causes it to get a stronger second look. at which point its other strengths begin to weigh in more heavily.


I’ve been on the hunt for some more dire editorials, but they aren’t really crossing my radar. I thought I could find a sure thing over at the Guardian, but even it hesitates:

Nuclear power will doubtless remain part of a diverse portfolio of energy sources, but the solution to the problem of low-carbon power must ultimately lie in renewables. In the UK, that points to tidal and wave power, to which we are geographically well-suited, alongside carbon capture and storage technology. Britain is currently a leading centre for the innovation of these processes. Their successful development could create huge economic advantages in manufacturing and exports of the technology, alongside the strategic benefits of energy self-sufficiency.

Very Guardian-like, but also fairly dim on the prospect of flipping the switch on nuclear energy:

But around 13% of the world's electricity is produced by nuclear plants. It is unrealistic to expect that capacity to be dismantled or quickly replaced. The threat to human safety, while real, is not unfathomably vast, nor beyond management. Radiation is harmful, but not apocalyptically deadly. It was the Earth's crust, not a manmade power station that caused tragedy in Japan.

It’s like watching a conversation between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, isn’t it?

1 comment:

jimwg said...

It's not that rosy in the media world. A good offense is a good defense, and we haven't seen the public and political kickback of this incident yet! It behooves the nuclear industry and projects on a whole to EDUCATE the public on what radiation is and can do and can't _now_ THEN how nuclear reactors work. Balm the fear first -- steps which Japan should've taken like yesterday! If the Japanese can accept more nuclear energy after this then the positives are high on it surviving here. That's why the nuclear industy needs to put a Carl Sagan out there who can relate to and explain these issues to the grass roots!