The World is Radiant Enough Without all These Nuclear Reactors
I was going to call this post "Miss Fukushima, you look absolutely radiant," but the real Miss Fukushima I know is another topic, a brilliant student in one of my classes this semester, a Japanese national who grew up in China and was a pediatrician there, and also, she is actually not a "miss" as she is married "to an American" and has a daughter. She is radiantly beautiful, though. That's enough about Eiko Fukushima, but I do find it ironic that I came to know such a person these past few months, by the name of Fukushima, and meanwhile, my good friend Eloise Swinbrook suggested that I write about the Fukushima topic.
Upon researching the effects of nuclear power on the internet, I realized that this topic is much broader than concerns over the radiation from the Fukushima Power Plant. In fact, I discovered that a surprising number of nuclear accidents have taken place over the years, demonstrating that such accidents are inevitable, and with severe consequences. Here is a list of such accidents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_by_death_toll
Chernobyl has had the most fatalities at an estimated 4,000, most of these being cancer deaths due to radiation exposure. Fukushima is the second deadliest nuclear accident although the death toll is still in the formative process. An estimated 1,000 people will die of cancer from Fukushima's escaped radiation. Apparently, none of these people have died yet, which is one of the worrisome things about nuclear accidents. More or less random people are taken down by cancer from radiation exposure. Of course, the actual toll could be higher or lower than the official estimate, and Wikipedia is not known for espousing liberal causes. Other radiation accideents with known death tolls add up to an additional 162 deaths in 28 radiation accidents. Many of these involved medical radiation, but others involved nuclear radiation.
With our planet being blessed with abundant solar energy, plus wind, geothermal and the ever-present energy generated by the earth's own materials and magnetic fields, there is no need for us humans to engage in dangerous atom splitting or atom combining processes which mimic those that take place inside a star. Perhaps physicists and the public have fallen in love with the idea of "playing God, " of carrying out some of nature's most powerful processes albeit on a smaller scale, and feeling that we can control these processes. In the end, it seems to me, we will be better off if we rely on the abundant energies which are already present in the environment, something I have written about previously. The bottom line is that there is plenty of energy available with the proper technology, so we don't need to rely upon nuclear energy. The problem is that once an industry has been established, those who work for that industry obviously resist its replacement.
Regarding Fukushima, the radiation has by no means stayed in Japan. In fact, much of it has spilled into the Pacific Ocean, and has made a beeline for the Pacific Coast of North America, which means it is somewhere near where I live. A not up-to-date map of the radiation spread from Fukushima plus a great deal of other relevant information is found here: http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2013/01/radiation-spread-in-pacific-good-model.html And there is also this: http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2013/01/radiation-spread-in-pacific-good-model.html By now, the radiation has reached the coast of California and points north along the Pacific Coast of North America. As a fish catcher and eater, there is some concern regarding potentially radioactive fish. Tuna with extremely high levels of radiation have already been found near Fukushima, and these fish can easily travel across the ocean. Although the chances of eating a fish with dangerously high levels of radiation are small, it is possible following the Fukushima incident, so I will most likely be sticking to freshwater fish for a while. It is also possible that wind blown radiation from Fukushima could cause cancer. It would be a relatively rare, random event, but still, cancer is cancer.
Also close to home for me is the San Onofre Power Plant, which recently has had to curtail activities because it has ominously "sprung a leak." This type of problem was anticipated years in advance (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0529-san-onofre-20130529,0,6869663.). In fact, we can anticipate that if the nuclear power industry continues to operate, very serious accidents will occur, some of which could be worse than anything seen to this point, perhaps worse than anything anticipated. It's time for humanity to shed itself of the nuclear power industry; it's too dangerous and unnecessary to be worth the risks.
Speaking of coincidences, there is this song I keep hearing on the radio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktvTqknDobU.