• Tag Archives atom
  • I Want To Like Nuclear Power

    Spring                                                                                    Waning Bloodroot Moon

    Japan.  Nuclear power.  Climate change.  Not a pretty picture.  I don’t know about others, but I want to like nuclear power.  Its non-carbon emitting energy production has a potential role in staving off the worst effects of global warming.  However.  With no place to store the waste permanently, the waste gets stored temporarily near the reactor in which it was used.  This seems safe.  Look at Prairie Island.  After all these years, still no trouble.  Then again.  How many years do we have to have in a row with no trouble?  25,000 or so, I believe.  That’s a long run.

    That’s not all.  Situations develop, human error, mechanical failure, maintenance scrimping, natural disasters with unforseen confluences, say an F5 tornado and a once in a century flood.  Could happen over the span of over 25,000 years.  Probably will.  Three Mile Island and Chernobyl had become objects in the rear view mirror, errors, mistakes, but over with.  Until Fukushima.

    Now, suddenly, they begin to look links in a chain, a nuclear chain.  Remember Godzilla?  Them?  The 50 Foot Woman?  Radiation.  Now there’s radioactive iodine in the sea.  I want to like nuclear power, but I’m having a hard time.  The stakes of mistakes seem too high.  At least for now.

    Wish somebody would get a good fusion reactor goin’.

  • Elemental

    Imbolc                                                                     Waxing Bloodroot Moon

    August 6th. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Rendering the friendly atom a deadly enemy.  Since that time, mutations became a favorite meme of  scary movie in the 50’s and early 60’s.  Since that time movies like On the Beach, Fail Safe, Doctor Strange Love, the China Syndrome have dealt with one scenario or another based on the catastrophe inherent in nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, even in peacetime uses.  Since that time Chernobyl and Three Mile Island became synonyms for danger, making even the nuclear generation of electricity scary.  The cold war and the DEW line and the Strategic Air Command, missiles in silos and on submarines heightened our awareness by putting a continuing military face on the nuclear threat.

    The grim possibility highlighted by the doomsday clock since 1947, the minutes to midnight decided by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago.  (Ironic like the photograph below because the first splitting of the atom occurred below Alonzo Stagg Stadium on the University of Chicago campus.  Some jinn just won’t go back.)

    Those of us born after the end of WWII have lived ever since with the threat of nuclear annihilation.  That threat continues to this day. The most chilling photograph out of 8.9 earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan was not the dramatic footage of the flood waters carrying burning buildings inland or the ships carried ashore or the fearful Japanese racing away from destruction, no, it was this one.  Thick with irony, unintentional in its resonance with over 65 years of military, cinematic and domestic horror, this scene, a scientific response to a scientific disaster–not the natural one–chilled me the first time I saw it.  It still does.