How Britain’s nuclear industry tried to influence public opinion

The British newspaper Guardian has recently come into the possession of emails between representatives of the nuclear power industry and members of the British government that reveal a plan to play down the seriousness of the Fukushima disaster in order to prevent protests against nuclear power from gaining ground in Britain.

The story has been somewhat overshadowed by the News of the World scandal, nonetheless people are calling for the resignation of British energy secretary Chris Huhne.

Only George Monbiot, a British pro-nuclear power activist whom the Guardian inexplicably gives a forum to air his views, is not at all concerned by the fact that the nuclear power industry is collaborating with the British government to influence public opinion. Monbiot still thinks that nuclear power is just great and the solution to the world’s energy problems.

The example he offers is that while the cooling system of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant failed due to the earthquake and tsunami, causing a meltdown in one or more reactors, a second nuclear power station nextdoor remained unharmed. Well, other blocks of the Chernobyl nuclear power station continued to operate and generate energy for several years after the Chernobyl disaster. Nonetheless, the fact that only on reactor block was affected did not make Chernobyl any less serious. It only needs one reactor block failing and experiencing a meltdown to contaminate an entire region for centuries to come.

At the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, Tokihiro Nakamura, governor of the Ehime prefecture, declares that Japan cannot do without nuclear power at the moment.

Now Nakamura seems to be one of the good guys, who at least acknowledges that nuclear power is potentially dangerous and who supports solar power in his prefecture. Nonetheless, this article clearly illustrates the problem that Japan as well as many other countries have simply relied on nuclear power without considering alternatives for too long that they cannot abandon nuclear power now, even if they want to, because there are not sufficient alternative energy sources.

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