I got quite cross this morning listening to the Five Live phone-in. Rolling news being what it is, the discussion about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan had moved on from worrying about the probable tens of thousands of deaths to the pros and cons of nuclear power.
There was a lot of amateur opinion that the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor proves conclusively that nuclear power is too hot to handle and we should shut the whole of them down pdq before they blow up the planet. The word Chernobyl was mentioned an awful lot.
I’m no expert myself and know enough to reach for the phone on occasions like this, although I found the fact that the reactor had survived one of the worst earthquakes on record rather reassuring, and I sincerely hope it stays that way.
Two things get up my nose though. First the idea that nuclear power is dangerous while every other form of energy isn’t. Tell that to a coal miner or watch the pollution and carbon dioxide churning out of fossil fuel burning power stations.
Second, what is the alternative? Oil and coal are finite resources that will run out very soon and while renewable energy is all well and good, big business would be ploughing ahead with the “free” resources of wind and wave power if it were a feasible option.
The stark reality is that we live in a power hungry world that is already running on empty so either we create new sources of energy or return to the Dark Ages. Perhaps that’s what the greens would prefer.