From WattsUpWithThat comes an open letter from a German physicist asking that science, not fear determine the future of nuclear power.
I think this quote from Dr. Peter Heller’s Open Letter is eloquent:
“The media suggests a nuclear catastrophe, a mega-meltdown, and that the apocalypse has already begun. It is almost as if the 10,000 deaths in Japan were actually victims of nuclear energy, and not the earthquake or the tsunami. Here again one has to remind us that Fukushima was first hit by an unimaginable 9.0 earthquake and then by a massive 10-meter wave of water just an hour later. As a result, the facility no longer found itself in a highly technological area, but surrounded by a desert of rubble. All around the power plant the infrastructure, residential areas, traffic routes, energy and communication networks are simply no longer there. They were wiped out. Yet, after an entire week, the apocalypse still has not come to pass. Only relatively small amounts of radioactive materials have leaked out and have had only a local impact. If one considers the pure facts exclusively, i.e. only the things we really know, then it exposes the unfounded interpretations of scientific illiterates in the media. One can only arrive to one conclusion: This sorrowful state will remain so.”
Dr. Heller is quite correct about the ignorance the media shows. It is frequently stunning. We have at our fingertips the experience of 100 years, or a little more, of work with radiation. The years since 1905 have seen constant revolution in our understanding of nuclear power. Today, we have the golden opportunity to develop safer nuclear power, especially that based on thorium, and move forward into a future of nearly limitless safe and clean energy. Or we can be guided by fears and once again allow the media and uninformed to convince us of the destructiveness of a disaster that hasn’t happened. Looked at objectively the Japanese reactors were hit by two enormous natural disasters, and yet, as of this writing, containment appears to be entirely possible. If not already accomplished. This is a stunning technological achievemtn and should be seen as such. We should be justly confident of the safety of nuclear power and working to make it even safer by the use of new, proven and ultra safe technologies.