By Tom Dillman, VT Contributor
I’ve been pro-nuclear power long before politically motivated forces in America successfully battled against clean coal, Alaskan or Gulf oil, or the prolific oil and gas shale in certain Rocky Mountain States. We the People and our economy need boundless energy. And we need it at a price we can afford. The world’s population is exploding as is its identical demands for the benefits of cost-effective energy.
Unfortunately, there is not enough hydro, tidal, wind or solar energy to meet the growing demand using current or foreseeable technologies. To think otherwise is a pipe dream – a pipe dream that has been dawdling along for decades. Thus, the only viable option I see on the horizon is nuclear energy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this. Especially when nuclear energy capture is done well.
I can honestly say, as a professional Electrical Engineer and scientist that I’m appalled by what appears to be the careless design and construction we’ve all witnessed at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power facilities. There is NO call for that. Humankind’s technology and workmanship is and has been far superior to what we are seeing on the ground in that island nation–and other nations–political and corporate whining to the contrary.
Why don’t we build nuclear power plants to withstand the force of a Category 10 or 20 earthquake? If the facility must be on the coastline, why not build retaining structures that can withstand and stay dry with 200 or 300 foot tsunami waves sweeping in at high speed? We know how. And it can’t be cost, as these things are paid for generally by taxpayer financing and they generate positive cash flows for decades. So why not?
Is it because sturdier plants would be unsightly? Ask the people around Fukushima how unsightly their view is today! No, it’s because the people who are responsible for building the nuke plants, price them high and construct them cheap to squirrel extra cash in their pockets – like what my sources have told me happened in New York’s World Trade Center buildings.
Sadly, Japan’s nuclear catastrophe following the earthquake and tsunami is NOT deterring the construction of dozens of new atomic power plants across the Far East. The energy needs of exploding populations must be met or the political forces in charge will lose power. So, sixty-two reactors are being built at this time, today, around the World, with 40 of them in Asia alone according to the World Nuclear Association.
Twenty-seven nuclear power plants are under construction in China with 50 more in the planning stage. “The plan and determination for developing nuclear power in China will not change because of Japan’s problems,” said China’s vice minister of environmental protection.
India and South Korea each have five nuclear reactors under construction, with 25 more planned between the two countries. India currently has twenty operating nuclear plants.
Authorities in Vietnam are in the process of constructing eight nuclear power plants over the next twenty years the Vietnam Nuclear Energy Institute told Dow Jones newswires. I hope they know what they are doing and don’t go cheap to save or skim money. One nuclear accident will make Agent Orange look like an irritating pimple.
The 2004 disastrous Indian Ocean tsunami is not preventing Thailand from charging ahead to build five nuclear power plants. Neighboring Malaysia has two nuke plants in the pipeline as does Bangladesh, purchasing theirs from the Chernobyl kings in Russia.
All countries need more energy, and brag that the latest generation nukes are far better than current ones. Let’s hope they’re right. But, I’m concerned that the people who are bragging are politicians who ignore or just plain don’t understand cautionary scientists and engineers.
Remember the movie, “The China Syndrome” where an American nuclear power plant melts down and penetrates through the earth to end up in China? We are stepping directly into that kind of territory when we don’t have to, only it’s melting from Asia through to America. This danger can be avoided if nuclear plants are built or upgraded properly. I’m concerned they won’t be.
About the Author: Tom Dillman is a former Mad Scientist – an Electronic Engineer, Physicist and Mathematician; an Army Cavalry Veteran with a dysfunctional brain; a direct descendant of the First Surviving Virginia Colony in 1605 (the Injuns kicked the bejeebers out of the First Non-Surviving Virginia Colony); an investigative Journalist; Author and Treasure Hunter. Along his ambling life path he designed special submarine technology, nuclear missile launchers, and helped put the men on the moon. He has been a successful Venture Capital entrepreneur, with a very high security clearance.