It was a bad idea all around for most of the human race. When Albert Einstein learned of the bombing of Hiroshima and the dawn of the Nuclear Age, he said, "We are not ready for it." By "We" he meant the human race.
Have we become ready since then? I think we have been living on borrowed time.
Nuclear energy as a believably safe alternative has ended with the continuing Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster. It should have ended with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.
But it has been a slow disaster for 65 years, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
During the Johnson administration, nuclear waste was encased in metal and concrete caskets and dumped a few miles into the ocean off Atlantic City. One could see at the time it was an incredibly dumb idea. The unknowing relentless sea would agitate the coffins loose over time, and leaking radiation would begin to kill off sea life.
Incredibly, the Japanese, the only victims of nuclear war, adopted nuclear energy after the war. And more incredibly in the late 1960s, Japan purchased reactors from General Electric that, a few years later, would be proven unsafe and banned in the United States. And more incredibly still it did not ask for its money back but kept on using the unsafe reactors. One of these is the one at Fukushima that suffered hydrogen explosions and partial meltdown after the earthquake on March 11. Dangerous levels of radiation continue leaking unceasingly into land, sea, sky, crops, farm animals, and humans.
Throughout the Cold War, the United States used nuclear blackmail to get what it wanted, or at least what the increasingly omnipotent corporatocracy wanted.
In the 1980s, Central American dictators and death squads justified their atrocities by invoking the Hiroshima Precedent: if the bulwark of democracy America could bomb Hiroshima killing tens of thousands in an instant, the genocides in El Salvador and Somoza's Nicaragua, stretched out over years, were a pittance in comparison. One of the death squad leaders said, "Because of Hiroshima, we can do anything we want."
To really have nuclear safety, you need a permanent national security state. And that's what we have. But even with that, we don't have nuclear safety.
To have really safe nuclear energy, well, there's never been a way, since humans are by nature imperfect, by nature not robots, stuck somewhere between Albert Einstein and Homer Simpson.
Because of climate change, we have more intense weather: more Katrinas and tsunamis, and the dangers of nuclear power are increased.
What was a bad idea has become worse and worse.
So we must stop using nuclear energy.
BP's desecration of the Gulf of Mexico last year demonstrated that we must immediately start using alternatives to oil.
Fukushima shows that nuclear is not a usable alternative.
The Ages of Fossil Fuel and Nuclear Energy must end.
What began in Hiroshima must end in Fukushima.
(Note: For the Einstein quote, I must thank Rodrigo Tejeida Estrada.)
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