To err is to trust in nuclear safety

Regarding the Feb. 23 Kyodo article, “Human error, not equipment, may have caused water leak: Tepco“: It seems irrelevant to say that human error was [responsible for the roughly 100 tons of highly radioactive water released from a storage tank early last week at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant], as all problems in the world are somehow connected with human error.

To err is human, after all. The real issue is the innate danger level of a potential problem, and nothing has more lethal potential than nuclear reactivity. No matter how infallible we may believe a piece of equipment is, the sheer scale of the risk of believing that human beings can employ nuclear power safely, all the time, is an example of our worst sin — pride.

Every day we have disasters resulting from climate change, and I’m guessing that human error and pride have been major contributors there, too. Some people may blame divine power for such disasters. If they can so easily believe that supposedly infallible forces are also making errors, how can we possibly suppose that human error isn’t an ever-present part of our lives.

The real error was starting the programs in the first place.

Now, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reckless determination to restart the Liberal Democratic Party’s long-term nuclear energy strategy can only suggest that he thinks he has some kind of Divine Right to treat Japan and the lives of its citizens with contempt.

david john
chikushino, fukuoka

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.