Opinion

Japan nuclear crisis: Seven reasons why we should abandon nuclear power

The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station underscores – yet again – the need to abandon nuclear power as a panacea for energy independence. Experts may never determine what caused all of the emergency cooling safety systems at Daiichi to fail completely. But they have learned that they are nearly powerless to bring the smoldering units under control. In the meantime, significant amounts of radioactive gas have vented, and partial meltdowns of at least two reactors have occurred. Indeed, nuclear power will never live up to industry promises. As a whole it is ultimately unsafe, an accident waiting to happen, and far more expensive than proponents admit.

Colby College professor Paul Josephson gives seven reasons why we should abandon nuclear power and instead turn to solar, wind, and other forms of energy production that won’t experience such catastrophic accidents.

2. Old reactors are dangerous

It is now standard practice to extend the life of reactors from their design parameters of 25 years to 40 years and longer. It seems foolish at best to take such a gamble on complex technology that operates under high temperature and pressure. Any “unlikely” loss of coolant-capacities may result in explosions, meltdown, and significant release of radioactivity into the environment.

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