Activism radiates outside the box

When the average person thinks of nuclear energy, they think Chernobyl, Three Mile Island or most recently, Fukushima.  Generally nuclear isn’t thought of as “clean energy.”  Sure, radiation is scary because it can be unnoticed until teeth fall out, but I really think that this whole situation is misunderstood.

There are 104 reactors in the US, and they contribute approximately 20 percent of the energy currently on the grid.  Wind and solar both produce less than one percent.  With it contributing so much and only producing steam (not carbon emissions like the standard electricity plant), I shouldn’t be the only one wondering why it isn’t the preferred method of fuel.

The common argument is that it just isn’t safe.  Yeah, the aftermath isn’t so great.  I surely wouldn’t want to live in a place that could be a future Pripyat, but most don’t even know what caused the main disasters.  Three Mile Island?  A valve got stuck open, and no one noticed.  Chernobyl?  The reactor was scheduled for a regular maintenance check, performed by a barely trained night crew.  Fukushima?  When the tsunami struck, the backup generators drowned in a non-waterproof basement.  The point is, these reactors had less thought put into them than a button factory would.  In fact, according to NewsScientist, nuclear power has caused fewer fatalities per unit of energy generated than the other major sources.

Nuclear energy, compared to other sources (coal, gas, etc.), is environmentally friendly and, for all intents and purposes, safe.  When people stop reacting with hysteria out of ignorance, mistakes like a stuck valve or water-penetrable basement doors (in a coastal area, I must say) won’t happen as often.  I feel as if a perfectly reliable and revolutionary energy source is going unnoticed.