The world’s governments are worried about contamination of fish and farm produce from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The graphic above, taken from the Korea JoonAng Daily, shows the world’s reaction. The graphic below shows the specific bans on food imports by South Korea.
Is the danger exaggerated? Maybe it is. There’s no way to be sure except to let people eat contaminated fish and farm produce and see what happens. I wouldn’t want to try the experiment.
Is this an argument for getting rid of nuclear power? Maybe it is. South Korea gets more than a third of its electricity from nuclear generating plants. Are they in a position to give that up?
If (1) we don’t want to burn oil from deep water drilling or tar sands processing, natural gas from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or coal produced by mountaintop removal, (2) we’re worried about global warming from burning fossil fuels and (3) we’re not ready to give up the blessings of industrial civilization, we’d better be sure we have something in reserve.
At the very least, the world’s people need to make sure that nuclear power plants are operated by managers who don’t have financial incentives to cut corners on safety. We need to be sure they are located on geologically stable sites, run by top-notch experts according to stringent standards and decommissioned on their due dates.