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.

6. Costs outweigh benefits

For fifty years, engineers have promised “too cheap to meter” energy, the construction of inherently safe reactors, and solution to waste disposal. Instead, a typical reactor, based on the experience of the advanced French industry, now costs a minimum of $6 billion. The Obama administration approved $54 billion in subsidies to the nuclear industry to jumpstart construction in the US.

Reactor costs do not include transmission, waste disposal, fuel costs, or the great costs of remediating such accidents as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now Fukushima Daiichi. These billions of dollars will buy only more risk to the general population.

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