Already in the time of Tjernobil I have been wondering why humanity was hanging on this technology. I could not be too critical about nuclear energy since I spent 7 years on a school that existed only because of the nuclear research centers of Euratom. I was told that even if it is dangerous stuff there were good ways to handle it. Several months ago I stumbled upon a video that showed how in France nuclear waste had been used as landfill under a building site that had a stadium and a parking lot on top of it. Radiation levels were quite high and a real danger for health. Not to mention another news item revealing that for years thousands of accidents in French nuclear plants have been kept silent.
So the questions arises, why are we investing so much in this technology. It is dangerous to operate, it causes a waste that needs to be looked after for decades before it can leave the building to go anywhere since nobody wants this radioactive stuff. So it finishes on the bottom of the sea, in illegal land dumps in third world countries or when possible even in our own country. It does not make any sense to me other than it needs to be very lucrative to build nuclear plants and relatively cheap to run them.
Everything seems to go well until a natural disaster is causing damage and reveals how bad the safety measures were, that the building was not as strong as it should have been and that the whole thing becomes literally too hot to handle. This reminds me of the image of a helicopter that tried to loose cooling water on the Tjernobil reactor and melted when it flew over the open roof. It seems as if even the engineers dealing with nuclear energy are not aware of the situation in case things went wrong of are keeping silent to avoid blame afterwards.
Angela Merkel decided to temporarily stop 7 nuclear plants in Germany. A country where there is a strong lobby for solar energy that soon will make the need of nuclear plants irrelevant. Thanks to new lows the production of alternative energy like solar, wind and bio-mass is strongly stimulated. And apparently you can make a lot of money too. And since people found out that you can make profit the country is full of solar panels producing several Gigawatts of energy. See this video produced by the Dutch television about the subject (in english).
Here in Italy the government of Berlusconi decided to build several new nuclear plants that will be ready for energy production in about 20 years. Twenty years? We need the energy now! But why nuclear energy Mr. Berlusconi? I start to suspect there is a lot of profit to be made upfront. I would not be surprised if you can make more profit by building a nuclear plant than to use it. On the other hand Germany is showing us how you can make quick profit with solar energy. Thanks to the actual technology the production of energy with solar panel has become quite cheap and is up to 50 times more efficient in terms of yield per surface than biomass, inducing farmers to dedicate pieces of their land for solar panels. And since solar panels can be placed also on roofs, there are plenty of places that can be used without any obstruction.
The disaster that is taking place in Japan is horrible and is showing us that we as humanity should not take risks using technologies we do not control under all circumstances. To me it is a clear example of not taking full responsibility for our actions. Italy managed to stop the construction of nuclear plants for decades but now people feel they have been paying a high toll for it, having had to pay the highest price per KW/h in Europe for many years.
If seen in common sense we should phase out our dependency on non renewable fuel as quickly as possible using all the technology we have to step over to highly efficient wind and mainly solar energy sources. Remember that a Nuclear plant needs more than a decade to be built, a solar energy plant a couple of months if not less to produce the same energy. After 20 years the solar panels need to be replaced while in the nuclear plant they needed this time to cool down the nuclear fuel rods before they even could consider transportation to another spot. Nuclear leaves us with hundreds of years of high level radiation, solar panels can be recycled.
If common sense is used it is not difficult to see what energy solution should be chosen. In an equal money system (EMS) the choice would automatically be one that is sustainable and in the best interest of all.