There is continuing news coming from Japan regarding the situation at the nuclear power plant damaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami. Plutonium has now been found outside the reactor in the soil. Reports of radiation 10 million times normal were erroneous and caused by translation problems. It is merely 100,000 times normal. 17 workers at the plant have been identified as having been exposed to radiation and it does appear that one reactor core has been breached. The radiation in sea water near the plant is disturbingly serious.
Radiation in rain falling here in Pennsylvania has been detected but is infinitesimal, no danger exists. It does show how these accidents can spread around the globe through weather patterns however so power plants anywhere have the potential to effect everyone.
This accident is causing people to rethink nuclear power. President Obama embraced nuclear as an option to wean us off fossil fuels and now he’s a harsh political position going into 2012. Should he continue this position it could hurt him with his base, what’s left of it at least. Interest in renewable energy sources is gathering momentum and that’s good. The potential for converting geothermal, solar, wind, waves and other possibilities is endless but it may never match what we currently consume in gas, coal and oil. However when we increase renewables and increase conservation we can drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and possibly save the planet in the process. This isn’t a matter of how we do it, we HAVE to do it.