Anti-nuclear ‘fad’ belies the passion

Regarding the Jan. 26 AP article “Tokyo race focuses on nuke issue”: I understand the strong public feeling against nuclear power that is a reaction to the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

But I regard it more as a fad resulting from a situation that is currently occupying us. In the future something new will come along to occupy us. So the passion with which people defend their current interests contradicts their mutability. Anti-nuclear power polemics that rest on fear and avoidance of the real dangers associated with it are compromised by the fact that we knew that nuclear energy was dangerous before the ongoing crisis began. So what were all those people thinking then? You mean they didn’t know it was dangerous? Where were their heads? Numbers don’t lie, and statistically nuclear energy is the safest and the cleanest source of energy there is — that is if you can work your way around the whole radiation and nuclear waste bogeyman.

By suspending nuclear generation Japan has had to rely on greater imports of fossil fuels — primarily but not exclusively petroleum and natural gas — to meet its energy needs. Burning fossil fuels is more polluting in the short term because of the release of soot and greenhouse gases. So the anti-nuclear voice cannot defend itself as an environmental choice. They want to pollute the environment more.

They might claim that the anti-nuclear option is genuinely environmental despite the greater pollution caused by fossil fuels because conscientious energy conservation by the population will offset the difference. But that is not credible because it stupidly underestimates how much energy it really takes to power a society like this.

Finally there is the safety issue. Statistically nuclear energy has been tops in terms of workplace safety. Must I assume that those who advocate greater use of fossil fuels — despite attempt to offset it by conservation — are also advocating greater workplace danger?

Do they hate workers just like they hate the environment? Or is the workplace safety issue just something else they didn’t bother to know about before the current crisis? Maybe anti-nuclear industry people are terrorists in the sense that their animosity toward the environment and people are terrible.

grant piper
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.