You don't want to be reactionary, but I admit I feel like I lost the plot on nuclear energy the last couple of years. I was against nuclear power, but softened, influenced by some rethinking within the environmental community, particularly alternatives to carbon fuels. Prepared to accept nuclear as part of the mix, you weighed increasing demand with global warming concerns and it suddenly seemed acceptable. In addition, the lack of any real "incidents" in a generation, one starts to believe the "safe" claims, you become complacent.
Again, I don't want to come off as reactionary, but I'm amended my appeasing mentality- we simply can't afford TO have nuclear power. The risks, no matter how small, are dwarfed by the consequences. Re-reading some of the facts on Chernobyl, you realize it will be 10000 years before the area is habitable again, then understand how many "accidents" we've had in .5% of that time frame, the numbers just don't add up.
Nuclear energy requires perfection, it requires that every eventuality is covered, there is ZERO margin of error. The idea of no unforseen events, the notion that you can GUARANTEE something, well we all know that this standard is logically impossible. You hear the claims of industry, you note the rigid standards, the backup plans and you begin to accept. Then you witness the events of this week and you realize you were lulled into a intellectual sleep.
You don't get do overs with nuclear, you don't get to say "oops", you don't get to say "well this was an extraordinary situation", because it's over, the effects far to severe, the very existence of the usage looks MAD. The idea that things are better now, this could never happen with the latest technology, again I now see as just more "security blanket" rhetoric, because there are no absolutes here, we don't know everything, every scenario isn't known, even the most minisule of possibilities results in the most nightmare of results. We don't get to leave this planet, we destroy it, we destroy ourselves. There are other means to generate power, maybe more expensive, more restrictive, but available none the less- factor in the risk quotient, they look CHEAP by comparison.
Improvements will be made, the entire industry will progress to a better place, the idea that this will "never happen again" stated clearly, and yet it will all be speculation, because probabilities are just that. Nightmare scenarios happen, scenarios our human brains haven't yet conceived can happen, you can never get to 100%, and with this technology, anything less simply isn't good enough. I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I required this event to bring me back to sober reality, but I guess if it does wake me, and others, from our collective slumber, that might be the only good to come out of this horrific event.