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Chan Lowe: Japan's nuclear nightmare


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When J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project, beheld the first atomic fireball in the New Mexican desert, he famously quoted a line from the Bhagavad Gita, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

He had devoted his life for the previous few years to developing a theoretical process into a weapon of mass destruction. During the course of his work, he probably mused about the possible peaceful applications of the monster he had created, but he also knew that the difference between a weapon and a controlled power source was only one of degree and intent, not one of substance.

When you combine that with mankind’s record in battling the unforeseen forces of nature, it leaves you a little less credulous of the reassuring claims made by the nuclear power industry.

The Japanese probably know more about the effects of earthquakes than any other nation, and to their credit, the nuclear plant safety mechanisms they designed survived the earthquake part of their apocalypse. What they hadn’t banked on was that the backup diesel generators, which would have pumped water into the reactor vessels to cool the fuel, would be swamped by the resulting tsunami. Mere humans can’t think of everything.

Just when you think the Japanese people have had more disaster visited upon them than any nation ever deserved, this new horror looms above them. Even more tragically, they⎯uniquely among nations⎯are no strangers to the devastating capabilities of nuclear fission.

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Comments

I'm reminded of that character from MAD magazine-Alfred E. Newman...
"What- Me Worry ?"
We can't stop earthquakes or tsunamis, but we can avoid nuclear reactors melting down. If there wasn't nuclear plants in Japan,we'd be talking about the tragedy that just happened....Not about the tragedy yet to come....
If the BP oil spill can't stop high risk drilling,then why would it stop the dangers of nuclear power.?
What-Me Worry.? When several U.S. reactors are on/near fault lines in San Diego,Ca.? Or Japans tsunami-prone coastlines/earthquake faults.?
Now-All together folks, Let's all sing "Don't Worry-Be Happy." ! !


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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