Japan’s nuclear crisis will be on everyone’s minds right now. There are fears for the Japanaese people, for the risk of radioactive contamination traveling further afield, and for our own nuclear future.
Nuclear energy has been controversial ever since its beginnings in the 1950s- and the news coming from Japan is bound to strike an emotional chord. “Haven’t we had enough nuclear disasters?” people might be asking (thinking also of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island), ”without building more nuclear power stations here too?”
So the debate has been reignited, with great force. In these times of increasing consumption, nuclear stations could really be the answer, providing plenty of carbon-free electricity to feed our insatiable energy appetites! But is investing in nuclear technology distracting from the real issue? Shouldn’t we be spending that research money improving our ways to harvest the renewable energy all around us? And can nuclear power really be called ’green’, given the massive risks if things go wrong? While the debate rages, France has been safely producing over 75% of its electricity from nuclear reactors, and there are plans for construction of about 60 new reactors across the world.
This also really highlights the importance of a scientific, research-based approach and open discussion to decide what our future will look like.