Today (11 March) is the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima earthquake that led to damage of the nuclear plant and evacuation of the entire area, fearing devastation on a colossal scale. Five years on, scientists are telling us our fears are unfounded, that civil nuclear power is much safer than we think it is.
Late last year TTK hosted an event at the Quaker Centre in Kingston to debate where we stood on the idea of nuclear power. It is a question which still vexes us. For sure, it is a lower carbon energy source, but it carries serious risks. What we concluded at the event was that, despite any emotional reservations, the evidence suggested nuclear power was a viable option for an energy source, perhaps over the medium term, to help us tackle the bigger problem of climate change.
In an interview with Professor Geraldine Thomas of Imperial College London on the Today programme (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b072zgn0 – interview starts at about 1hr 36 mins in) she said that the response in Japan was ‘overestimated’ and that, thirty years on from Chernobyl, we know that nuclear power is much safer than we previously thought.
Nuclear has the second lowest lifecycle CO2 equivalent (median) value after onshore wind power. It is a continuous source, not intermittent like wind or solar. And, comparably, it is ‘safe’. So, the question is now, are we missing a trick not campaigning for nuclear power?