Another explosion at Japanese nuclear plant

Same complex of reactors, but a different site; reactor #3. The BBC:

A huge column of smoke billowed from Fukushima Daiichi's reactor 3, two days after a blast hit reactor 1.

The latest explosion, said to have been caused by a hydrogen build-up, injured 11 people, one of them seriously.

Soon afterwards, the government said a third reactor at the plant had lost its cooling system.

Water levels were now falling at reactor 2, which is to be doused with sea water, said government spokesman Yukio Edano.

A similar cooling system breakdown preceded the explosions at reactors 1 and 3.

Japanese officials are playing down any health risk, but the US said it had moved one of its aircraft carriers from the area after detecting low-level radiation 100 miles (160km) offshore.

Technicians have been battling to cool reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since Friday, following the quake and tsunami.

I'm sure you've been following the left wing media's attempt to discredit nuclear power as an energy alternative to fossil fuels. Funny thing - despite the worst earthquake in Japan in recorded history and a devastating Tsunami; and despite huge problems with trying to cool down several reactors; the fact is, the release of radiation has been minimal, the population has not been exposed to large doses, and the reactor vessels have withstood worst case scenario-type of accidents.

Why then, are we talking about the overarching danger of nuclear power? The reactor designs have proven to be sound, the containment buildings have done their job, but the anti-nuke crowd is trying to gin up fear about building these plants.

The likelihood of a major disaster - Chernobyl-like destruction - is very slight:

Experts say a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl in the 1980s is highly unlikely because the reactors are built to a much higher standard and have much more rigorous safety measures.

The hysteria following the Three Mile Island accident was entirely unwarranted. According to a report from the American Nuclear Society,

The average radiation dose to people living within ten miles of the plant was eight millirem, and no more than 100 millirem to any single individual. Eight millirem is about equal to a chest X-ray, and 100 millirem is about a third of the average background level of radiation received by US residents in a year."

This brings us back to the original question - one that proponents of nuclear power should turn around on the anti-nuke activists. Why not start talking about how, despite Mother Nature's most vicious blows, a major accident that would kill a lot of people was averted because of the soundness of industry standards and construction? It was operator error and inadequate training of personnel that largely contributed to the Three Mile Island accident. And yet, it stopped the nuclear industry in its tracks.

We can't afford the hysterics to take over the debate again. This time, we've got to point out the obvious so that we can get the American nuclear industry rolling again. The stakes are a lot higher today than they were in 1979. We can't afford to let the anti-nuclear Luddites win again.

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