Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sometimes You Can't Go Home Again

Trey Smith


When Mount St. Helens blew her top in 1980, the nearby landscape looked like it had been leveled by an atomic bomb. Some people thought that any form of life would not return before several generations had passed. And yet, within 5 years or so, life did return. It seems that nature has a way of repairing herself.

Climactic events can be fierce and lead to overwhelming destruction. Most communities that find themselves in the path of a major hurricane, tornado or flood take years to rebuild, but they DO rebuild. There is one event -- a human-caused one -- in which this is not always the case: a nuclear accident. When a nuclear plant melts down, it can render the surrounding area uninhabitable for, maybe, forever.

This is what the citizens of the towns surrounding Fukushima have just learned. Up until now, the government has issued assurances that people would be allowed to return home at some point. But in the last few days government officials have admitted the obvious: the communities near the Fukushima plant have been rendered uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. Residents who had pinned their hopes on going home are now coming to the realization that "home" will have to be somewhere else!

You see, this is THE issue with nuclear energy. As long as things are humming along, nuclear energy seems like a good thing. But when a problem arises and things aren't humming along, it's not a good thing at all. This so-called wonderful energy source has the capacity to end human civilization all by itself. So, while many will argue that it has many upsides, this one downside cancels out all the supposed benefits.

It is bad enough that residents near Chernobyl or Fukushima have been permanently displaced, but what happens when a nuclear catastrophe renders the planet unlivable? If the entire population of earth is displaced, we have nowhere else to go!

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