The appalling devastation from the earthquake off the Japanese coast, and the resulting tsunami, is difficult to comprehend. You look at before and after pictures, you see photographs of rescure workers crawling through enormous masses of wreckage, you read about the horror of hundreds of bodies washing ashore, and the mind just does not compute the scale of the disaster. Boats tossed atop houses; cars massed together like toys kicked by an angry child, and entire areas wiped clean of buildings and people. The effect is staggering.
It is interesting to me that, in the west, the focus seems to be more on the nuclear power plants rather than on the devastation to the people and the countryside. I suppose that is because there is a certain fascination about nuclear power and its potential destructive force. Yet the destructive force of the earthquake and tsunami has already been delivered, and it has killed thousands and ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands. In view of that actual disaster, why should there be such interest in the potential disaster of a nuclear meltdown?
The nuclear power industry in America must be suicidal. We had just about gotten to the point where people were ready to talk seriously about building nuclear power plants again — indeed, where nuclear power was even considered a form of “green energy.” That time has now passed. Now, no one is going to want to have a nuclear power plant in their backyard — even if it takes an earthquake and a tsumani to trigger a possible core meltdown scenario. The news from Japan is just too raw, and too horrifying.