Those things that are far worse than a radiation leak
While the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, many political aftershocks are being felt strongly in our country. Much debate involves nuclear energy being used for domestic power generation. Sadly, so much being said about nuclear energy generation just is not so.
When it comes to nuclear power generation, we Americans are standing on a whale fishing for minnows. We have no vision. It all starts with our national energy policy. Shuckins, that is right, we do not have one. When Americans talk about energy policy, we are blind. Worse than blind, stupid. Worse than blind and stupid, intentionally so.
It has been four decades since the worldwide energy crisis began in the early 1970s, and our nation still has no real energy policy. Year after year politicians pontificate, but Americans have no unified policy of discovery, deployment and extension.
The closest to an energy policy this nation has found is really an anti-energy policy pushed by the “green” political agenda. Not only is this not an energy policy, it has no real standing because “green” technologies rely upon traditional energy sources for validity. For every wind farm there must be a traditional source of power standing by for when the wind stops. Wind and solar as a mainstream energy source do not make energy sense.
Our nation could not have done worse in our 40 years in the energy wilderness. We had no Moses. When the first energy crisis began in 1973 politicians rightly said that we had to get off of foreign oil to put our country’s future into our own hands. Then they did everything they could to do the opposite. We are far more fragile as a nation now than we were 40 years ago.
Prey to those with an anti-nuclear agenda
As to the conniption in Japan, the powerful earthquake did little damage but the resultant tsunami was devastating beyond the structural damage.
First, it made the Japanese prey to people who are trying to use an anti-nuclear agenda rather than deal with Japan’s problems.
Second, it uncovered some bad civil engineering design. In the early 1950s, Japan put the power controls for several first-generation nuclear power plants on the ocean side of the power plants. There were engineering reasons for that placement but it put the backup power directly in the path of the tsunami wave that then took out the backup control power.
If those secondary power sources were on the other side of the plant, we would not be worried about nuclear issues. Frankly, the bad design ran 60 years without a problem until a very tall wave of water showed the lunacy of putting the diesel generation on the incorrect side of the nuclear plant.
Power is life
The overall lesson in Japan, though, is being missed by most people. While it is appropriate to have some concern about the nuclear power generation, there is something far worse and deadly than having a nuclear incident in a power plant. It is having no power at all. Consider this: It is winter in Japan, and with 11 of their 51 reactors out and/or offline, they are being threatened with actual real death by lack of power.
Japan lost several nuclear plant generation inputs and several more traditional generation plants with the wall of water. So they are faced with rolling blackouts, food shortages, disruption of transportation and the intentional effort to inappropriately scare their population by anti-nuclear political action groups.
A concern about the danger of radiation is appropriate within the science realm. This is not that; rather, it is way beyond making sense. While leaking radiation is bad, having no power at all is far much worse because in our world today no power equals humans who cannot survive. I am not trying to scare you; I am just stating a fact that most people ignore. Power is life; lack of power is death.
We Americans take energy for granted. A month without any energy in New Mexico and most of the population would be dead. Not suffering, dead. All that sustains our lives starts with energy. And we, as a nation, have no coherent energy policy. It is time to stop talking and start getting a real, sustainable policy.
Swickard is co-host of the radio talk show News New Mexico, which airs from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on KSNM-AM 570 in Las Cruces and throughout the state through streaming. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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