If a middle school or high school student had to create a science project that involved building highly volatile energy sources in seismically-charged areas, the project would not get a very good grade.
The teachers might explore with the student why that could be a very dangerous idea. There might even be a discussion about what less dangerous power generators might be used in earthquake prone areas. Sounds reasonable.
We learn in our educational experiences that some ideas are just bad; ill-thought out, impractical, and downright dangerous. Then we grow up and become part of the world of adults where it doesn’t seem that bad ideas necessarily get filtered out or even shot down.
This is how so many nuclear power plants ended up being built in Japan, a place on Earth that has a high incidence of seismic activity.
We can turn on the tv and see experts console us with statements that American nuclear power plants are newer, safer, not at risk. Really? Some even are located along faults so they are vulnerable. It is dangerous and disrespectful to take the attitude that a disaster such as the one in Japan could never happen here. And in a way, that’s true; the liklihood of a disaster of similar proportions is small, but there remains the chance that there US plants are sketchy in an earthquake.
I don’t have the same conviction that our plants are better, safer, more impervious. I respect the workers in Japan trying their damnedest to remedy the situation at the same time they know they have lost homes, loved ones and normalcy.
It is too difficult to understand any of the images I am seeing from the earthquake and tsunami. It’s apocalyptic and heartbreaking, the death and devastation– how can it ever be made whole?
I’m reminded of the Japanese tradition of mending broken pottery with silver or gold, to draw attention to where it was mended. They believe that when something is damaged and has a history it becomes more beautiful. I’m positive that this concept will not help the nuclear power plants.
The Japanese people are damaged three times over with disaster and tragedy and it’s more than anyone can bear and more than any pottery repair process of embellishment can ever heal. Suffering is a truth. Nature alone can bring suffering upon people; people do not need to engineer more deadly suffering.
“May all that have life be delivered from suffering”– Buddha