One topic we’re certain to explore this week is the potential for Japan’s crisis to stymie the fledgling nuclear renaissance. We’re vexed but not surprised to see the anti-nuclear movement seize the opportunity to help spread panic.
Ultimately, the depth of damage to the industry’s future depends on how events unfold at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex. We’re still trying to determine what we can bring to the debate, but our take is sure to include a call for reason over fear. Judging from previous nuclear accidents, we aren’t holding out much hope, however.
The situation in Japan is serious, and downplaying the real dangers would be a mistake. Exploiting the nuclear hazard to advance a pre-existing agenda strikes us as even more irresponsible.
Given the extent of destruction and death that nature unleashed on Japan, the intense focus on the nuclear threat seems to lack perspective. Judging from the world’s cartoonists, it’s time to start the funeral arrangements for nuclear power. The prize for most hysterical goes to Petar Pismestrovic, cartoonist for Kleine Zeitung in Austria, for comparing the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima with the fires and explosions at Fukushima.
It’s encouraging to see Energy Secretary Steven Chu take a more rational approach. He reassured Congress that Americans “should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly.”
Chu told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development that the U.S. “must rely” on nuclear power and that the administration will continue to push $36 billion in loan guarantees to help power companies build more plants, according to The Associated Press.
The world’s cartoonists may be a bit premature in writing the nuclear industry’s obituary.