Hey GL, long time no talk. Have you already left?
It annoys the hell out of me the way the Fukushima event is portrayed both here and overseas, but especially here. By any rational assessment, the Fukushima disaster was a resounding, incomprehensible example of exactly how well made and safe modern nuclear power plants actually are. Remember, the Fukushima plant is RIGHT on the coast and was RIGHT at the front of the main impact area of the tsunami. Remember the pictures of what most of the coastal towns directly hit by the tsunami looked like? There was NOTHING left. Nothing. Not a single standing structure in many places.
There are differing contentions as to just how much radiation was ultimately released, but many reputable sources place the amount at around 10% of that released at Chernobyl. That's not even the impressive part in my eyes. What I find amazing is that there was ANYTHING left of that reactor and that there was not a complete meltdown and a disaster the likes of which the world has never seen.
It was not good, but it could have been much, much worse.
And now, the opportunists and the doomsayers and the nuclear energy haters come out in force, and there is a STRONG push now to not only stop the production of new reactors (there was one scheduled to be built in my prefecture, which ain't happening now), but to actually end the use of nuclear power. Problem is, there is nothing, NOTHING that can compare to the efficiency and capacity of nuclear power. So we have all these asshole politicians trying to score points by playing off people's emotions and fears, and the people are buying it (Japanese people are VERY Earth conscious), and the problem that I see that no one else seems to want to recognize is that power and output is going to have to be replaced with something. And as you mention, GL, even with the nuclear power, Japan is already doing everything it can to keep its consumption at sustainable levels so we don't end up like California.
Meh, that's about all I got. It just pisses me off that more people do not recognize what an amazing success the stabilization of that reactor really was.
And one last word for this country's true heroes. Those men who went into the reactor at the worst of it, with full knowledge that they would be killing themselves in so doing, and doing it anyway, because it needed to be done. There are stories of some of the older men without families, or some whose kids were grown and no longer depended upon them, going in place of the younger guys with wives and kids at home. God bless them all.