Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nuked

Dear Readers, please for a moment unglue yourselves from CNN, BBC or TVN24 and the images of exploding Japanese nuclear power plants. We have something to say on the issue! Please! Please! No? All right, but we are going to say it anyway.

Let me start by saying I feel sorry for the Japanese nation and all the loss created by this terrible tragedy as it continues with the main question on everyone's lips being "is it gonna blow" as thousands remain homeless even as snow has begun falling.

Now, of course the repercussions of this little mishap in the "safest energy technology in the world" are global with such seismically active countries like Germany already pulling the plug on their nuclear expansion plans. Similar fears have reached Poland, but the Civic Platform (PO)-led government is so far sticking to its dream of having a nuclear plant ready sometime in 2020.

Many don't like it and say we should rethink our approach. Prime Minister Donald Tusk has a short answer for them: "we are not a seismically active country, and besides OUR plant will be safe." Now this of course does not really inspire such confidence. I don't think that 40 years ago the Japanese PM was telling his voters "Oh yeah, if a tsunami hits this plant its gonna go KABOOOM, but we are gonna build it anyway."

However, Tusk has a point in a twisted way. That is, if we do build that nuclear plant by 2020, it will probably be the ONLY building in Poland designed and built to withstand a major earthquake of a magnitude similar to the one that hit Japan. I urge you to call your building administrator and ask "is this building earthquake-proof" or call a nearby chemical factory or call the Gdansk-based Lotos refinery and ask "are you ready for a 10-metre tsunami?"

Think about it for a minute. If a disaster of this magnitude hit Poland, the damage would be far far far worse and the consequences for the nuclear plant would be very low on the list of our priorities, somewhere after "where is my family/food/home/, how am I going to survive?," even if the fate of the plant would be the only thing  CNN gave a shit about.

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