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Japan’s recent crisis reopens nuclear safety debate

By John Pawlak

Although seriously wounded, the bad guy was still dangerous.
With radioactive blood oozing, he reached for the feedwater coolant release valve. But then, hearing the muffled laugh of regulatory oversight, he looked up and found himself staring into the barrel of a 357 fuel rod.  
The inspector smiled and said, “I know what you’re thinking.  Did he hit me with an 8.6 earthquake, or was it point 5?
Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself.
But this being a BN-1200 Magnum, the most powerful nuclear reactor in the world, you’ve got to ask yourself one question:  Do I feel lucky?  Do you still think it’s safe to build a nuclear power station in an earthquake zone? Well, do ya, punk?”
The recent tsunami and subsequent political fallout (so to speak) has reopened the debate on nuclear safety.  
Now, I’ve always found it amusing that those two words get used in the same ZIP code.  
Running turbines by (essentially) controlling a nuclear explosion has never been my idea of security, protection, assurance, well- being, immunity, sanctuary, or any other synonym for safety.
But I’ll freely admit that I have no problem at all using the energy that nuclear power stations produce.  


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