Fukushima emergency, 2011. From wikipedia.org
Image from Dudley´s article
¨I hadn’t been previously aware of the extent to which Japan had invested in nuclear power: 55 reactors in 17 sites providing about a third of the nation’s electricity. When we think of the Japanese cityscape, throbbing with neon lights in every direction, it is sobering – and now, even sickening – to think of what the cost of such extravagence may turn out to be.
While beautiful, these displays entailed lethal risks that hardly crossed our minds. Yet, had a regime of greater conservation, renewables and efforts to reduce light pollution been a part of that country’s energy policy for decades, would it really have been necessary to to build 55 reactors? Would there even be reactors burning now at Fukushima?
I realize this is being highly speculative. And I certainly don’t mean to single out Japan for being uniquely profligate with its energy consumption. My own Canada clearly stands out shamefully in this regard, with our citizens ranking among the greatest per capita energy users in the world.
But Fukushima -- like the Deepwater Horizon blowout before it -- shows that our energy policy debates need to include the potential for global catastrophe in the balance sheets. Is maintaining our energy consumption as it presently stands really worth running such terrible and terrifying risks? Is all of the future to pay for our ability to run the lights all night long and power our "vampire" appliances?¨
Michael Dudley. From his article Fukushima, Earth Hour and Sacrifice