(B) Journalist Lisa Katayama, from TokyoMango, based in San Francisco is telling us how the people of Japan have learned to live with earthquakes, rebuilding their lives and their cities. But she believes that this time is different and that Japan might change as a consequence of what happens on March 11, 2011, leading to over 20,000 people missing or dead, and over $200 billion in damages.
After the BP oil spill from last year, Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daichi nuclear facility is another major event that should deeply challenge our present worldwide production of energy.
Fukushima will not be the last major nuclear power plant disaster:
The advantages of nuclear energy are obvious: plentiful, scalable and cost-effective, and nuclear energy can directly produce the electricity that we desperately need. No questions about that! But nuclear energy has a long list of challenges that have never been overcome. No solution has been found yet to the disposals of nuclear waste from the nuclear reactors. And, there are the obvious risks of nuclear materials getting into a terrorist group or the risk of a nuclear plant being attacked by a terrorist group. And, we are discovering with the present disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power station that even in the most advanced countries in producing nuclear energy, nuclear plants can have reactor meltdowns.
Finally, can you believe that twenty-five millions of New Yorkers are within fifty miles of the Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan, NY and that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California is built directly on a geological fault line, and located near a second fault? This is too wrong!
The BP Oil Spill will not be the last major offshore drilling disaster
As the world’s reserves of light oil are depleted, the oil industry is exploring and producing more oil from deep offshore wells, and unconventional reserves such as tar sands (or bitumen), and maybe in the future oil shales that are all likely to impact significantly more the environment.
The BP Oil Spill has been the largest environmental disaster for the United States with over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The fabric of life itself has been destroyed for many generations in the Gulf.
But, it seems that we have not learned any lesson from the BP Oil Spill. As reported by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, deep water drilling permits are being issued with the same flawed blow-out preventers, and with the same emergency response plans that have been used by BP. Deep offshore drilling carries the same risks now that it did before the BP Oil Spill. This is unacceptable!
We do not have many options to produce clean and safe energy
Natural gas is not a solution as it impacts the environment. Clean coal and carbon capture (CCS) could be a solution, as it does not impact the environment, if and when it works. Biofuels are taking lands from the earth ecosystems, and from food productions, and are therefore not solutions. And wind, hydroelectricity, geothermal and ocean waves cannot scale.
Solar energy is the only ecological, plentiful, scalable, safe, and cost-effective energy that can directly produce the electricity that we need.
There is a vast amount of solar energy to harvest, and we need to start urgently heading down that path. We need both the private and the public sectors to massively invest, and we need quickly to embrace new policies and regulations to plug the world with solar energy.
We cannot take the risk to have another human and ecological disaster as the present Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant or the BP Oil Spill. The planet resources and ecosystems are already too stressed out. We need to run the country and the world with clean and very safe energy.
About the Fukushima nuclear plant:
Nassim Taleb: Time to understand a few facts about small probabilities (142)
About the Diabolo Canyon nuclear plant:
CNBC Rachel Maddow: Diablo Canyon nuke plant wants more.
Note 1: The picture above is the PG&E Diabolo Canyon nuclear plant.
Note 2: The second picture is the blow-out preventers from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
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