In my younger, more idealistic, days I was a member of People For Nuclear Disarmament. I manned stalls, I protested nuclear ships in the harbour, I stuffed envelopes. I look back at those times with some admiration at such grassroots selflessness.
The Cold War has ended, and with it Mutually Assured Destruction, but, just as the evangelicals would have it, the Revealations are come to pass as the battle has shifted ground and is waged with the Middle East. It strikes me that Islamic extremists carry out campaigns far removed from nuclear technology. September 11 was all about strategy, and relying on an entire nation; a superpower, being unprepared.
I'm not suggesting that you can't surprise someone with a neutron bomb or a thermonuclear device of any kind. But the corresponding fallout changes the equation. If America's response to being slammed for puffing their chests out too much, was to puff their chests out further still then we have, nonetheless, to consider the danger they pose. Basically all the nuclear powers pose a threat by their existence. In most cases the enemy has to come to you but with nukes, the radiation from a targetted nuclear site in the US or North Korea or Iran will affect a much wider area. It will make regions uninhabitable. Could even the biggest meanest zealot with a noisome network of nutters compete with the atomic bomb? Not unless he has a bomb of his own.
There are more windpower stations being built in Australia but the government are grizzling about it and now our ever popular shyster Prime Minister is openly promoting nuclear power.
Now don't you think this is strange? We live in a climate that has a plentiful supply of both wind and solar energy. This is a free resource and it's non-polluting. Why don't we pour our research and funding efforts into these? In what possible way could something that:
- is costly to retrieve
- damages the surrounds in the mining process
- causes social ructures and clashes with the indigenous population
- is more resource and labour intensive to set up
- has a terrible history (e.g. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl) of environmental devastation
- produces radioactive waste that takes thousands of years to break down
- comprises a prime target for terrorists with all the consequences that entails Hint: far, far, far greater than a car bomb or a big dickhead with a sword
- could be used for making weapons and associated dangers if it fell into the wrong hands
be seen as preferable? Surely the piddling problem of finding ways to trap and store the energy generated by non-polluting natural resources is worth pursuing ahead of spending vast sums of our money on a volatile energy source that stands to cause major social and environmental problems well into the future.
And I'll tell you something about solar energy that you will think is brilliant: once it stores enough to power the house for the day IT FEEDS BACK INTO THE POWER GRID
I don't know about you, but it seems to me solar already has efficiencies worth developing. If everyone started using solar energy tomorrow, there would still be a plentiful supply the next sunny day. We won't have changed the course of streams or dumped tailings in them. We won't have gouged Mother Earth or displaced her indiginees. We won't be spreading toxins or pollutants. We will be treading lighter at no loss to ourselves. And that paradise is possible in the here and now.