Safer Alternatives to Nuclear Energy?

The nuclear crisis occurring at the Fukushima nuclear complex is a tragedy that illustrates the need for the development of alternative energy resources. The situation at Fukushima is grim. In the wake of the 5th strongest earthquake in history, Fukushima is on the brink of a meltdown, leaving the nations of the world worried about the effects of spreading radiation. While nuclear energy is attractive from the standpoint of energy production, this does not outweigh the dire outcomes should something go wrong. The unfortunate situation occurring in Japan serve as a reminder that we, as a global population, owe it to ourselves to research and invest in alternative energy sources. Alternative energy sources would provide a means for moving away from nuclear power, which is costly to maintain and catastrophic in the event of unexpected events.


  1. I agree, the unfortunate situation in Japan is shedding more light on defects in the current regime. More regulation of existing power plants is needed, and many have called for reform in the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. It is important, as Christine wrote, to continue to research alternative energy sources. Some have called for closing down plants currently in operation, and ceasing to build any new ones. I do not believe, generally, letting the fear of tragedy or disaster halt day-to-day operations of anyone or any thing is a pragmatic solution. For an extreme example, the fear that a meteor could hit the town I live in should not stop me from leaving my apartment. With that said, researching, developing, and investing in tools to minimize risk are goals that will limit the potential for disaster in situations like that of Japan. While we can never avoid tragedy altogether, we can at least find ways to inhibit its widespread effects.

  2. I Dissent. Your platitudes, while tearfully amusing, do not deal with the hard realities of our energy needs. Instead, your article, along with the previous poster’s comments, reflect an ignorance of science. Notice, as I have, your article does not discuss the power generated from a Nuclear Power Plant (1500 megawatts) vs. a Solar plant (20 megawatts). I can go down the list of dead-end “Alternative” energy, but I think I made my point: Nuclear Power blows anything else out of the water in terms of energy. You are using the Fukushima reactor crisis as an absurd notion to stop using Nuclear energy. About 30,000 people die a year in the US from Auto Accidents (a million and a half World Wide) and many more injured, I guess we should all just ride bicycles then.

  3. This article raises an important issue that is constantly on the minds of many Americans, especially those of us living near nuclear power points such as Indian Point. While nuclear disaster is a scary reality, as Americans we do not let fear stop us from doing what we want to do, and need to do. It is undeniable, as mentioned above, that a nuclear power plant generates 1500 megawatts of energy versus a solar plant which generates about 20 megawatts of energy.

    Additionally, nuclear power has many advantages when compared with alternative energy sources such as coal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and hydrogen. The benefits of nuclear energy seem to be endless, including the fact that nuclear energy is clean energy, as it does not result in emissions of any of the poisonous gases including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen dioxide. Additionally, the disposal of nuclear waste, resulting during the generation of nuclear power, is dumped into a geological site where it will decay over time without harmful effects on the environment.

    In fact, while many disadvantages exist as to all other alternative forms of energy, it is hard to find many disadvantages to nuclear power… other than the risk of nuclear proliferation. And this is how we find ourselves once again asking that crucial question; are the benefits worth the possible disastrous side effects?

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