There was a recent headline at BBC news website titled “What went wrong at Fukushima?” Uh, one of the largest earthquakes recorded since the invention of the Richter scale?
To be fair, this short article is more of a technical answer about the actual failure of the system that the actual cause, which is obvious. The partial core meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant is reinvigorating anti-nuclear power opposition in France and around the world; but we must remember that no single energy technology is without serious risks.
Consider for a moment the Exxon Valdez oil spill, collapsing and exploding coal mines in Chile and the Appalachian area of the US , exploding BP oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico or nuclear power plants damaged by massive earthquakes. All of these demonstrate the environmental risks as well as risks to human life associated with all our energy producing technologies. The over politicization of the nuclear option prevents proper development of the technology to make it better and stronger.
Nuclear plants are all ready located around the world and have a very low carbon footprint. Much of the fear comes from a few meltdowns of much older technology. Worrying about what happened thirty years ago at Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl negates the rapid progress technology makes in this day and age.