Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear Power is Safe

I’ve never been a fan of nuclear power for a whole slew of reasons. These reasons often times boils down to the fact that nuclear power is uneconomical as it relies on government subsidies to survive: for example the transportation and long-term storage of waste and the limited liability in the case of an accident. Safety, as regards the long-term storage of waste, was also a major concern and the immediate safety of the nuclear power plants was for me, as for a lot of people, a nagging concern. I think that the Japanese experience has put that particular concern to rest.

In this case a 40-year old nuclear reactor built with what would now be considered a primitive design gets hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake; slammed with a resulting tsunami which knocked out the back-up generators; followed by an explosion due to the buildup of hydrogen gas; and yet the core remains intact and contained. I still have the aforementioned problems with nuclear power but I think we can say that the plants themselves can take a beating and remain safe.

Even if there are further problems with the reactors I would think them safe. Why? Because there are many areas in the world where 9.0 earthquakes simply don't happen (often enough). In the Japanese case the nuclear reactor handled a major earthquake. It appears that all the resulting problems are due from the back-up generator going down. Would placing the generator up on a 20 or 30 foot platform have solved the problem?


Anonymous said...

With all the leaks, evacuations and contaminated foods do you still think that nuclear power is safe?

The Classical Liberal said...

Yes, as it pertains to running a reactor. But I do not think that nuclear power is economical as it requires government subsidies to survive.

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