Japan's nuclear crisis
After the Japanese nuclear accident following the March 11 earthquake
and tsunami, there has been a lot of chatter by defenders of nuclear
power that nuclear is still here to stay. That may be true.
Nuclear technology tends to be presented as a flawless technology by
its proponents. But then Fukushima came like a 'black swan', casting new
doubts on this source of energy and on expert opinion.
The nuclear camp has been ferocious in lobbying and calling in the
right people to defend the future of nuclear power they even got to
climate-change champion George Monbiot momentarily.
But two things stand out from the latest accident at the Fukushima
Daiichi plant: the unpredictability of incidents and their scale; and
faith in technology is not the same as faith in regulation and oversight
over compliance.What Fukushima teaches us is that we will never know
enough. The 'unknown unknowns', as Donald Rumsfeld would say, hang over
us like the sword of Damocles.
That always threatens our self-confidence and our ability to predict
any incident, no matter how sure we are of the performance of the
technology.Nobody really predicted that a tsunami would do so much
damage, nor that it would follow soon after an earthquake in a country
where things of this nature are routinely planned for, given that Japan
is so earthquake and tsunami prone.