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Nuclear Energy: Having A Rational Discussion in the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster

by April 17, 2011

3686680582_c4e2a0c7fa_mIn a recent post on the Strategy + Business blog, Booz & Company analysts highlights the conundrum we face as a society in charting our energy future. Specifically, the authors provide an excellent argument for not taking nuclear off the table, stating, “The stakes are too high right now to base either political or business decisions on any rush to judgment.” Rather, they suggest that there may be no better time than in the wake of the disaster in Japan to focus our attention on increasing the safety of nuclear energy.

It may well be too early to have a rush to judgment about nuclear. We at Dialogue Earth echo the sentiment of the authors who emphasized the need for increasing public understanding of the risks and benefits of various energy sources. This is our reason for launching a year-long campaign to increase public understanding on energy topics like nuclear. We think of it as basic “energy literacy,” and it will be the focus of our inaugural Media Challenge.

I personally look forward to learning a lot more about nuclear energy, because I do have an emotional fear toward it. For me, disasters at nuclear energy plants are to energy production what airplane crashes are to travel. We have all heard how much safer it is to fly compared to driving, but plane crashes evoke a visceral reaction undoubtedly related to the number of lives that can be lost in an instant. Similarly, nuclear is touted to be much safer to human health than other forms of energy, yet when there are failures, they are dramatic.

Ultimately, with energy security an increasingly critical issue, it is imperative that we understand the benefits and risks of all potential energy sources.

Photo credit, Sakucae.


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