Sunday, March 27, 2011

Japan's nuclear predicament

The recent Tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan recently, brought along with them another disaster, potentially even more devastating , the radiation leaks at multiple reactors. The full extent of the damage is not known (or at least known in the public domain).
On cue commentators of 2 types have leaped up to kick Japan while its down. The environment activists who view Nuclear energy as evil, at least have some intellectual honesty , when they go about criticising Japan for suffering the consequences of its pursuit of harnessing nuclear energy.  The second kind of critic , I find far more annoying and plain, mean spirited, are the type of critic , who points out how Japan, as a nation was so confident of its technology , but even their technology was no match for Mother Nature.
There is an undercurrent of glee in that observation, I cannot palate.
But I am going to address both , categories of critics..
With the invention of the internal combustion engine, and almost simultaneously that electricity..before the commencement of the 20th century, the world had been divided into the Haves and Have Not's of energy. With the end of the second world war , having your colonies supply your energy needs was no longer an option.
So for the last 70 years, countries like Japan, with no real energy resources, have been shipping over the money they earn by being amongst the most hard working and innovative people in the world, to countries like Saudi Arabia, so that they can keep their economies running..
Are the Japanese , not justified in at least trying to seek an alternative?
Especially in times, where  we fear the World Oil production has peaked..
What alternatives did Japan really have?
Go back to the stone ages?
They use a lot less energy per capita , when compared to America... (I haven't looked at the figures but anecdotal evidence, does bear out my assertion).
And as far as misplaced pride in their technology goes.. Why should they not be proud, they have certainly showed the world the way.. in many technologies endeavours, while there are many nations, whose only contribution to the world has been suicide bombers and child soldiers.
All this doesn't mean the Japanese are above criticism, but before you criticise , step back for a second, imagine that their compulsions are your compulsions and their circumstances are your circumstances.. Could anyone else have done a better job?

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