Nuclear energy and electricity

I started to get totally confused over the nuclear energy debate recently. My gut instinct tells me that for the most part, radioactive materials should be left in the ground, especially when there are alternatives such as solar and wind power.

Part of my confusion stemmed from the numbers of “greenies” who once opposed nuclear power generated electricity suddenly becoming advocates of the technology.

When looking into a few of the people who have changed their stance on the issue; the reason for the turnaround became clearer. We’ve left addressing the issue for so long and global warming through increasing carbon dioxide levels generated by the burning of fossil fuels is such a threat; they are simply choosing the lesser of the evils.

Our current Prime Minister, John Howard, recently told reporters the Government would be “crazy in the extreme” if it blocked nuclear generated electricity in Australia and that opponents were old fashioned and backwards. He went as far to say that he would have no concerns with living close by to a reactor. Well John, if we do go ahead with this, I sincerely hope you do wind up living in the shadows of one of these plants – aside from the radioactive leakage threat, aside from the damage to the environment and poisoning of water supplies through mining; they are just darned ugly.

We are continually told by supporters of nuclear energy that it is clean and safe; that technology has come a long way since the days of disasters such as Chernobyl. The opposition tells us that it isn’t and added to that, it’s not a cost effective way of generating electricity.

The whole nuclear debate has become such a huge mess that I really fear finding the truth about the subject will become an increasing challenge for the average person in the years ahead. Creating this confusion is probably not a side effect of the debate, but a goal. Totally confused people give up fighting and accept whatever decision is made by the powers that be in order to alleviate their own responsibility or the need to make a decision themselves.

When all is said and done, if I had a choice between having a roof totally covered in solar panels, generating in excess of my family’s electricity needs vs. having a nuclear reactor down the street; I certainly know what I’d pick. How about you?

Something else to think about – I sincerely believe governments prefer us being hooked into external services to meet our various needs; discouraging individual independence – and the reason is simple; control.