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Trust and Turning On the Nuclear Facilities

We haven’t looked at editorial punditry lately, but there have been some thoughtful entries lately. The Washington Post  weighed in on the restart of two of the reactors at Japan’s Ohi site over the weekend. The Post editorial is largely about trust and how the nuclear energy here and abroad depends on the trust of the people:

Japan has begun to address the mistrust [after the government’s handling of the Fukushima Daiichi accident] with legislation to overhaul the nuclear regulatory agencies and with revised safety standards. In recent days, [Prime Minister Yoshihiko] Noda has decided to restart two of the 50 commercial Japanese reactors taken offline for inspection after Fukushima, but he faces great skepticism. The Three Mile Island meltdown and Chernobyl disaster showed that, once lost, public trust is extremely hard to regain.

A little more:

Nuclear power evokes suspicions that run deeper than other technology hazards, social researchers say. In today’s globalized digital universe, the scenes of chaos and fear at Fukushima spread quickly. Germany decided to close eight of its 17 nuclear power plants. Although U.S. views of nuclear energy were not shaken as dramatically, the need to build and sustain public confidence can’t be taken for granted.

But:

In the fight against global warming, nuclear power remains a vital low-carbon energy source and very well may be for a long time to come.

Read the whole thing – it’s an interesting editorial, much more exploratory in approach than judgmental. It doesn’t really take a side – except in favor of building trust in nuclear energy through good regulation and reasonable government behavior. That’s not controversial, but in this instance, it feels more directed to the Japanese than to Washingtonians, which is odd for an Washington paper. If The Post is in an international mood, and feeling judicious, maybe it can do an editorial on Germany’s freak-out on nuclear energy. Not very trusting there, the Germans.

Comments

jimwg said…
How does the media's nuclear mindset in countries frame the public perception for trust and education over fear as when they refer to Fukushima as a "nuclear disaster" rather than a "tsunami disaster" since it's a disaster when people are killed by the mentioned, no?

James Greenidge
Queens NY

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