I decided to shoot some photos from our balcony from which I see the Doel nuclear power station every morning. Until a few weeks ago it did not draw my attention much except for being a highly visible and ugly structure.
After the recent huge earthquate in Japan that led to the Fukushima nuclear accidents, the view from our balcony started to have a new meaning for me. I started to follow Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log written by IAEA daily (and also another source: MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub (http://web.mit.edu/nse/)). I consider those sources of information as highly reliable and scientific, and according them there is not much health risk in Japan due to radiation but nevertheless it is not easy to stay very calm when it comes to such an important matter. Whenever there is so much money, politics and power relations involved (which is what is expected in the modern capitalist society we live in) it is difficult not to be concerned and ask questions.
I’m very well aware that there are some big efforts in EU for utilising other forms of energy, DESERTEC probably being the most ambitious of them both in terms of engineering and politics, but it is also clear that nuclear power plants are among the most important sources of energy in EU and they will stay so at least for a few decades.
I wish I could have a very clear opinion about this matter but I’m very confused at the moment. Maybe it is time to questions our fundamental notions regarding the concepts of energy and demand for energy. Or maybe it is time that scientists and engineers produce easier-to-understand analyses related to the important questions of energy. I think this topic is bigger than science and engineering, it deserves a calm and principled debate, a debate that can help us to understand the matter in a crystal clear manner and sort out what our fundamental priorities are.