David Ropeik takes a realistic look at nuclear energy in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster.
It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen.
The Japanese are facing the danger of a meltdown and release of dangerous amounts of radiation into the environment.
But the world is facing the risk of getting the risk of nuclear power wrong, and raising the overall risk to public and environmental health far more in the process. It is vitally important to keep our fears in perspective as we weigh all our energy choices in a world confronted both by climate change, and by several hundred thousand premature deaths from local particulate pollution from burning fossil fuels each year.