I just went out on my back porch to smoke a cigarette--I know, I know, I shouldn't!--but before I did, I turned on the light on the back porch.
Lord knows, you don't have to see to smoke, but I don't know if it is possible for me not to automatically turn on a light wherever space I go into.
Electricity is a drug. And we are all addicted.
The unthinkable horror that is Japan today has been deflected from the horrific loss of life and made into a debate over nuclear energy because of the damage to the nuclear plant in the northeastern part of that wondrous country.
I listened to a radio clip from Glen Beck tonight where he said "I'm not saying it was God that caused the earthquake...but I'm not NOT saying that either...." So, in case you haven't been paying attention, Glen Beck has out-Pat Robertson Pat Robertson (he who said the earthquake in Haiti was God's judgment on Voodoo.)
I also watched a video clip where an economic analyst said something about the astonishing tragedy of Japan like "at this point the human loss is greater than the loss to the stock market and we can be thankful for that."
So, if I weigh in on this subject there is little chance that I can say something that can be worse than those two comments.
First of all, the death toll in Japan, I expect, will rival Hiroshima. There are tens of thousands of people who are missing, whole villages gone, the island moved several feet on the face of the earth, the axis of the planet shifted by the force. This will be, I think, the worst natural disaster in recorded history. Pray for the people of Japan.
Since nuclear energy got dragged into this, I will probably shock both my liberal and conservative friends by saying I believe we should build nuclear power plants as fast as we can.
Unless they are built somewhere that will have an 8,9 Ricther scale earthquake and a subsequent sunami, it is by far the most fesable way to produce the drug of electricity we are so addicted to.
Remember this: until the end of the 19th century, most of the world was lit by fire. A lot of the world still is. But as soon as any part of the world experiences the rush of electricity, they are hooked on that drug forever.
Coal, natural gas and oil are horrible ways to produce the drug we all need. Greenhouse and Global Climate Change are the trade offs. Solar and Wind are available but prohibitatively expensive at this point.
Nuclear power plants make a huge mess when something goes wrong. But the technology is there to build them safely--or as safe as is possible absent astonishingly powerful earthquakes and 25 foot walls of water.
The problem with nuclear plants is they must be built near large bodies of water to provide the cooling necessary. No C02 is released by the process but the water is warmed that is used for the cooling. Build some on the New England shoreline, the water is always too cold to swim in for me.
Granted, everything I know about nuclear energy I've learned from Public Radio--which is far and wide considered a voice for the left wing and the Democratic Party. But I ask, what's the problem with that???
Let's bracket the 'energy conversation' and concentrate on the human loss in Japan. That's what really matters, not our addiction to electricity.
(Plus, don't tell a boy from the coal fields that 'producing energy' is ever without danger and the loss of life. We need some EA groups--Electricity Addicts--12 step groups....)
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