Fukushima is often brought up by certain activists as being just as bad as the 1986 incident, but this is a false equivalency.
Yes, it was not a good idea to station a nuclear power plant on a coastline that, although rare, was vulnerable to tsunamis. However, multiple reports – including from the UN itself – found that the meltdown was contained, cancer rates in the region are to remain stable, and there will be a temporary, not permanent, effect on wildlife.
Fukushima was certainly a disaster, but it is still just one of three major incidences that have involved nuclear power in the history of the industry. Importantly, its recognition as a powerful low-carbon, climate change-fighting tool should not be overshadowed with reminders of Chernobyl.
Don’t just take our word for it. Nuclear power is considered by many experts around the globe as an essential partner to renewables when it comes to curbing our carbon footprints. It’s getting rapidly safer and more efficient year-on-year. Not every nation needs it – some can be powered entirely by renewables – but it’s a useful, if somewhat expensive, source of energy to have.
Remember that, although Chernobyl killed up to 47 people through radiation-related sicknesses, it is the only incident in commercial nuclear power history where radiation-related fatalities occurred. Through air pollution and increasingly extreme weather events, tens of millions die every single year.
Simply put, if the somewhat overzealous fear of a meltdown is allowed to trump the grounded fear of climate change disasters, then our grandchildren will suffer. We owe them a better future than that.
Fukushima, prior to the meltdown. Songphon Maharojanan/Shutterstock
[H/T: BBC News]