A nuclear power plant reactor in Fukashima explodes:
It is too early to have a serious debate about this - making sure Japan receives the right aid and technical assistance to get through this terrifying and tragic ordeal is the priority for now. But at some point, the Japan, and the world is going to have to have a long think about the inherent dangers of nuclear power. As many thinkers have pointed out, the mere existence of nuclear power is a serious threat to human life. George Monbiot writes:
We will never rid the world of nuclear weapons if we do not also rid it of nuclear power. Every state which has sought to develop a weapons programme over the past 30 years – Israel, South Africa, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iraq and Iran – has done so by manipulating its nuclear power programme. We cannot deny other states the opportunity to use atomic energy if we do not forswear it ourselves.
Japan has been a peaceful nation for almost 60 years and has not used its understanding of nuclear power for anything vaguely threatening, yet this natural disaster has cruelly exposed the massive risks the technology poses. If a highly advanced nation like Japan cannot safely control nuclear power, then what would happen in a country like Iran or South Africa? The consequences are too dire to think about.
As the tragedy in Japan unfolds, we will begin to understand the full ramifications of using nuclear energy as a power source. And so far, it doesn't look good.