This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
This is not a good week to be the nuclear industry.
Multiple nuclear power plants have exploded and leaked radiation in Japan in a horror show that matches some Hollywood disaster movies.
The visceral fear of radioactivity is such that the spectacle of burning reactor complexes has sometimes overshadowed the vastly greater devastation and loss of life wrought directly by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami.
Many Americans are now understandably nervous about this country’s 104 nuclear plants – including the Columbia Generating Station at Hanford, which is very similar in design to the stricken Japanese reactors.
The crisis is good reason to step back and look at the way America is re-licensing its oldest reactors, some of which have been operating for 40 years. It’s not a good reason to fly into a panic about nuclear energy in general.
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