Thursday, July 19, 2012

Attack of the radioactive B-movie monsters

Despite the seriousness of nuclear disasters, it's hard not to have a little bit of morbid humor about the subject. Perhaps the most famous version is Blinky, the three eyed fish from a Simpsons episode, here in LEGO by car_mp.

Monsterbrick's Two heads are better than one.

Jerrec's Oops.

All fun aside, the nuclear disasters have had a huge impact on public perception of nuclear energy. Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power altogether, and even in France, which has relied largely upon nuclear plants, there is a growing move to prefer other power sources. However, as horrible as the two serious incidents were, there are estimates that coal causes about 1000 deaths for every 1 death due to nuclear energy. This includes things like black lung disease, mine collapses, etc, and doesn't even consider the long term impact of coal on the environment including the release of carbon dioxide, acid rain, and the runoff from mining. Now, some may argue that that is all an argument that we shouldn't have either coal or nuclear, but instead should depend on things like wind, solar and hydroelectric. All well and good, but could those provide enough energy to maintain our western lifestyle? Not to mention allow those in developing nations to get to a modern lifestyle? Every time there is a major power outage, there are reports of deaths due to people losing their air conditioning or heat. Also think about medicine. Without modern hospitals, which use power, my daughter would have died at birth due to complications, and possibly my wife as well. My sister would have died last year due to her cancer. My father probably would have died due to complications of his heart condition, and I'm sure there's no way my grandfather would still be alive in his 90's. And that's just my immediate family. So when we say 'maintain our western lifestyle', it's not just about having big screen TVs and iPhones. The lack of electricity would cause many more deaths than these various ways of making electricity. So until we can all make unlimited power from dilithium crystals, we're stuck with having to weigh our different options. I'd say that, despite the big headlines of Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear power is going to have to remain a piece of our energy puzzle for many years to come.

Okay, off my soapbox. Tomorrow I'll get to some of these other alternative ways of making electricity.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, have you considered making projects on Lego Cuusoo? Because your Lego Blinky is very good. It would make a good project.