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?

2 comments:

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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