We think this is a must-read (and share) op ed by the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board …
Until Japan’s catastrophic tsunami and Virginia’s recent earthquake, nuclear power had been enjoying something of a renaissance. This was owing to its status as the only zero-carbon-emissions technology capable of providing reliable power on an industrial scale. The problems at Japanese reactors and the worries about U.S. ones have prompted second thoughts among erstwhile enthusiasts, and strident demands for a moratorium from those who never were convinced of nuclear power’s merits in the first place.
And it highlights the need for context and a view of the whole picture regarding our energy choices, especially compared with the alternative of continuing to maintain our use and dependence on fossil fuels:
Virginia’s reactors were hit by a quake bigger than they had been designed for, with remarkably little effect. And as difficult and alarming as the explosions and radiation leaks at Japan’s facilities have been, they need to be put in context. The reactors have served the Japanese people extremely well for many years. They were struck by a natural disaster of biblical proportions. And they largely withstood it. Nearly no nuclear-related casualties have been reported in Japan. That may change as time wears on, but it’s worth noting that even the worst nuclear accident to date — Chernobyl — is responsible for vastly fewer lives lost than the number who have died from the production and use of fossil fuels.
The Times-Dispatch writers then focus on Virginia and it’s energy choices, and make their summary view here:
Nuclear power boasts an astoundingly good safety record, and will continue to do so even after the events in Japan and Virginia are taken into account. Dominion Virginia Power sets a standard in this regard. It would be the height of foolishness to let the panic of the hour divert the country from a future in which nuclear power plays a much bigger part.
Read the entire article here.