Ok, this is obviously a subject waaay to big for one article (or even a whole string of them), but let’s throw some initial ideas around.
Firstly, are nuclear reactors the way of the future? Of course not. Unless you’re a shareholder or employee of a nuclear power plant / utility company. You need to be seriously tunnel-visioned to think that something with such horrific by-products (which generation upon generation will have to deal with) is somehow a good option. The production of massively toxic by-products in nuclear power plants is often masked by the discussion of whether nuclear power plants are safe or not. Come on, really, safe? 3-Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima – how long before an even more dramatic meltdown happens? Unlike in science fiction movies, we do not have the option to move to a different planet if we completely mess this one up for ourselves. So nuclear power plants are a stop-gap while we get renewable energy solutions up to critical mass (excuse the pun).
Renewable sources such as wind power and solar power must be the way forward. They may not present the best political choice for every State here in the USA, but that’s a flaw in our political structure – nothing to do with how energy is provided. We could take a leaf out of Germany’s book – they are leading the world in renewable energy production and infrastructure, because their political leaders agreed it was the right thing to do for generations to come – not for the next election cycle. Read more about Germany’s success here.
So next time you have chance to talk to a friend, neighbor or even a politician about energy production and how we cool or heat and light our homes, let’s think about the next couple of generations. Our kids and grand-kids. Are they going to look back on our actions of the early 21st century and thank us, or are they going to blame us?