20,000 people gathered to protest Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s decision to restart nuclear reactors.
They are worthless.
“No to the restart!” shouted the protestors, who were led by investigative journalist Satoshi Kamata and Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe, who started an anti-nuclear petition that has so far gathered more than 7.5 million signatures.
Last Saturday, Noda gave the green light to start work to put back online two reactors at the Oi plant in western Japan, despite public distrust in the technology since last year’s meltdowns at Fukushima.
Japan had been left without nuclear power since early May when the last of its 50 working reactors was shut down. Authorities took the decision to restart the two reactors as they seek to head off a summer power crunch.
Protesters said they would hold another demonstration next week.
“The battle has only just begun”, insisted renowned composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, another leading figure in the anti-nuclear movement.
No one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the meltdowns, but tens of thousands of people were evacuated and many remain so, with warnings some areas will be uninhabitable for decades.
Nobody is going to dispute that the nuclear disaster at Fukushima was traumatizing, and I certainly expected this type of reaction from people, especially environmentalists. However, the fact remains that until a better solution is found, nuclear power IS probably the environmental solution.
Even if you disagree, you have to admit that the exact reason nuclear power gets singled out for elimination is questionable at best.
I guess the word “nuclear” is scary, and everybody sees disasters like Chernobyl and now Fukushima and they freak out about the potential consequences. However, what I don’t get is why nobody brings up that the other two alternatives are worse for the environment.
Apart from the chart, more radiation is released by coal plants than nuclear plants, and the death tolls associated with nuclear plants are nowhere near those of the dangerous work that’s required to use coal power. Furthermore, nuclear doesn’t have the ground water contamination and other pollution problems that natural gas does.
Wind, solar, and hydro power sources are worthwhile endeavors, but the reality of our world is that we need a ton of electric power to function as a society (a demand that only grows), and until any of those alternatives can provide a solution (they aren’t even close to it), it strikes me as rather pointless that people single out nuclear power as the bad guy when the only other two feasible sources are likely worse. This is especially true in Japan, a landlocked island, generally devoid of natural resources, but hugely wired and a large consumer of electricity.
So where exactly do these protestors surmise Japan get its power? Magic? Luck? Godzilla? I do realize that, in theory, the rallies are correct. Yes, nuclear power is less than ideal. Yes, saving the Earth is important. Yes, other power sources should be researched. However, at this point in time, nuclear power is probably the best realistic energy source, humans do need energy to survive, and most importantly, these protestors don’t have a solution.
While their idealism is great in practice, real life requires logical and feasible solutions to real problems … and they don’t have the answers to that. Until they do, their protests are asinine and counterproductive. Maybe if they put as much effort into researching nuclear fusion as protesting, they could actually end up doing something that matters.