The Japan Lesson

Japan is undergoing a huge learning experience which will inevitably help all of us.

We are going to learn a lot from this. We need to. We learned something from 3 Mile, we learned something from Chernobyl. But on balance we learned very little. Chernobyl was unique in that it did not have a containment structure so we didn’t learn much from that. Our structures all had containment, even the old Mark 1s. So we were kind of smug on that issue.

The Japanese problem is unique in that we can identify with it. So we will be able to learn from it.

And, no doubt, we have much to learn. I firmly believe that the production of power from nuclear fusion is where we must go in the present time. It’s a relatively new science and, relatively speaking, has had little hands-on experience to help guide it. We humans tend to learn from our mistakes and we are on track to learn quite a bit.

The Japanese situation is getting worse by the hour and every move made or not made in response to it is input for for all the rest of us.

At best we should (and we will) take this problem as brand new input which has been for a long time needed but not supplied. Now we finally have something to analyze so that we can better plan for the future from here, all of us, world wide.

The input had not been supplied before because we had already planned around foreseeable problems to the best of our momentary capacity. Our capacity has increased. This event gives us the knowledge to plan better within a larger horizon.

If anything this should unite everyone into the effort to get behind nuclear energy. When you have learned something you must use the knowledge.

Or, I suppose, you could become a frog or slug or snail.

I love to eat snails.

There are only two problems with the widespread production of nuclear power (actually, it is already widespread — I’m talking way more so) and they are — (a) the upfront cost and (b) how to control the son of a bitch.

We are learning about the control aspect right now and good for us! The upfront cost is being slowly ameliorated by inflation and the rising ‘cost’ of other energy forms. The application of common sense (still slowly evolving) is becoming a positive factor.

We humans will build on our experiences as we’ve always done.

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