"there are accidents, and then there are accidents." True, but there are benefits too.
The lesson to be learned from this is not that nuclear power is unacceptably risky, but that nuclear power must be made safer -- as safe as modern technology and understanding can make it.
Consider the age of many of the world's nuclear power plants. The Fukushima reactors, for example, were commissioned in the '70s and were based on designs from the '60s. Even the old-timers here on EE Times were children when these things were designed, and probably most EE Times readers weren't even born yet.
Think about that in terms of the evolution in science & technology in the last half-century. Knowledge and understanding of nuclear physics, seismology, climatology, and of course the capabilities of electronic sensors, control systems and computing power have advanced by leaps and bounds over the course of time -- all of which means that today we could produce not only much better designs, but we could design them to much better specs.
But to do that, there would need to be business incentives and governmental support (or at least not opposition) for modern nuclear power technology, which has been sorely lacking for most of the last half century -- at least in the U.S.
Despite the substantial percentage of total electricity generated by nuclear power in industrialized countries, the nuclear power industry has for decades been the unwanted stepchild that is uncomfortably tolerated, with the public just wishfully hoping it would eventually fade away or choosing just to not think about it very much.
And now we are paying the price for allowing such an important and hazardous technology to atrophy rather than to advance and modernize.
Regardless of the beliefs underlying the comments so far, there is no excuse for the language being used and is not something I want to see in the posts and is not worthy of EETimes to allow. As engineers we need to focus on verifiable facts and use our power to correctly educate and inform so that the best decisions can be made by us all.
I believe there are lot of knee-jerk reactions happening around the world due to this issue.
Main issue with nuclear energy is "long term effects on the environment and people if there is a real disaster" and also another main concern safe storage of spent fuel.
Hence basic question is not only how safe these reactors are but how well we are prepared if there a nuclear accident? We are very small infront of mother nature and I am sure in future nuclear accidents are bound to happen.
I Googled Plutonium Citrate and the only thing that came up were rat studies that induced cancers in all the rats.
Also, pure nicotine is highly poisonous. In fact, it is sold as a rat poison.
Of course, considering the post was in all capitals, I should have been forewarned.
I'm a Christian, and this sounds ridiculous to me as well. If I was so inclined to make some sort of biblical reference to this event (and I'm not) I think I could come up with a better fit than this. I suspect the original posting may be from a "troll" just trying to see what kind of reaction he can get.
THE IDEA THAT PLUTONIUM IS EXQUISITELY TOXIC IS COMPLETE NONSENSE. THERE WERE TWO STUDIES AROUND 1997 THAT SHOWED IT TO BE LESS TOXIC THAN NICOTINE. IN ONE CASE, PLUTONIUM CITRATE WAS INJECTED INTRAVENOUSLY. IN THE OTHER, IT WAS SWALLOWED. THE PEOPLE THAT CAME UP WITH THE TOXICITY CLAIM HAD NO EVIDENCE AT ALL.
The problem is not the fact SH*T happens. It is the scale. I think this is the biggest problem with Nuclear power, the plants are just way to big. If there were 10-20 smaller plants scatter around instead of the 6 LARGE plant located in one place. This 'accident' could have been more easily contained. If you do scatter plants, it does mean more accidents, but less severe.
I think your response is rather blithe.
If each car accident caused increased cancer deaths and genetic defects of thousands of people, radiation deaths of hundreds of others, global radiation pollution, I might begin to agree with you, but, of course, I do not.
The scale of this disaster, its negative global effects, including damaging genetic effects to lifeforms everywhere on the planet, make this entirely different risks than cars, trains and automobiles! Yes, people die from all of them, but only radiation can mutate the germlines of all living creatures, and kill thousands, if not millions of people.
ee-joe, please use more logic in your risk assessments, they are nonsensical!
There is always a risk from any technology used to produce energy. People are allways ready to abandon something because of an accident. Why don't we abandon cars, they kill people every year. Stop traveling, plane and train accidents kill people every year. We as a society need to get away from thinking about perfection. As long as people are involved in the design and manufacture of anything, perfection is a pipe dream. We need to learn from our mistakes, or in this case the wrath of mother nature, suck it up and move on. We waste too much time and energy dwelling in the past.