Nuclear Power: Japan, America & Beyond
The tragic crisis in Japan is still unfolding, thus no one is in a position to definitively assess the nuclear damage, cleanup efforts and the final toll the disaster has had on the Asian nation. For many understandable reasons, individuals and governments across the globe are beginning to question whether nuclear is a safe and viable energy source. That in mind, it's important we maintain composure when assessing the pros and cons of nuclear energy here in America. Back in Feb. 2009, The Heartland Institute's Dr. Jay Lehr produced a recap of nuclear power's safety record. While there have certainly been blips (not to mention what seems to be a "worst case scenario" in Japan), the overall safety and history of this viable power source appears to be in relatively good standing.
Interestingly, now that media outlets have milked the nuclear crisis for ratings, they are finally beginning to look into Japan's regulatory policy and the impact it may have had on the safety of the reactors (I emphasize "may" here). The Wall Street Journal produced an intriguing piece highlighting that fact that Tokyo Electric Power Co. may have a history of problems with its safety regulations.
No one knows for sure where this crisis will lead and how Japan's people will be impacted in the long haul. Certainly, America should be cautious in addressing our energy needs, but that cautiousness should go for individuals who stand on both sides of the nuclear debate, no?