The Cassandras of the media beat the drums of fear concerning Japan’s millennial tragedy, which has been a confluence of perfect storms. There has been a great deal of bad news coming out of Japan which the press has spun into a blanket condemnation of the entire nuclear industry. It is only a matter of time until investors recognize that the media is spinning fear that goes beyond Fukushima. Undoubtedly, their tactic’s intention is to sell commercial TV time, even if it means destroying a major source of clean, efficient, and safe energy; nuclear is a vital component of clean and independent energy.
Imagine if we had stopped mining coal after Massey Energy’s (MEE) mining disaster. Consider if we had stopped oil exploration after BP’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon malfunctioned. But now nuclear energy (Market Vectors Uranium+Nuclear Enrgy ETF (NLR)) and uranium mining (Global X Uranium ETF (URA)) are being unfairly painted in the wake of Fukushima Daiichi. Would such an industrial world without nuclear power be less dangerous or cleaner? Let’s be rational: For more than 50 years, the American fleet of nuclear reactors has sailed millions of miles without radioactive calamities.
Admittedly, the radiation leaking from Fukushima has created grave risks to human health, but who among us can deny the dangers that fossil fuel pollution poses everyday? Critics can question whether the reactors at Fukushima were deficient in design or antiquated. The media doesn’t say that the Fukushima Daiichi Unit was only two weeks away from its 40-year expiration date when the disaster struck.
What the media chooses not to say is the that plants being built by today’s standards are 1,600 times safer than the nuclear plants of yesteryear. The media fails to say that China is reviewing their reactors, but they are beginning this month to build new-generation, state-of-the-art, safe reactors which are nothing likeJapan’s 40-year-old reactors.
They choose not to show the vote of confidence that has been given to the Southern Company (SO) by US nuclear regulators to build two plants near Augusta, Georgia, who said that this project does not present environmental dangers. This decision was made only a few days ago in the face of the media’s slant on Fukushima. The Commission stated they found nothing to stop it from granting licenses to the Southern Company. This is the first time that approval has been granted to build new nuclear reactors in the United States in over 30 years.
We have learned from Fukushima and the new generation of nuclear plants will be stronger and safer than ever. In the 10 years moving forward from 1995, US nuclear generation avoided the release of billions of tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and radioactive coal ash into the atmosphere. One can only wonder if we had gone ahead in 1979 after Three Mile Island and built all the planned nuclear power plants, how much further down the road we would be toward energy independence and compliance with the Kyoto Accords. Now the US is at the mercy of Middle Eastern oil and is mired in global conflicts.
There is no form of energy production that is without risk; coal mines can collapse, oil rigs and pipelines can explode, and dams can be breached. Don’t forget that Three Mile Island killed no one. Chernobyl was really a Russian weapons factory without a containment structure and was designed to produce material for nuclear bombs.
Overreaction to the Japanese disaster may in the end be worse than the accident itself, if it results in a delay of the nuclear renaissance. We should consider this as the rest of the world leaves the US far behind as they move on with safer and more reliable atomic power and removing their reliance from Middle Eastern fossil fuels.
Uranium investments will once again be seen as a hedge against the Middle East, and we may see a very powerful bounce as the selling seems to be coming to an end. Remember there are 440 reactors currently operating worldwide and many coming online which need uranium. If you can think a few years ahead, then you will realize that this media-induced hysteria was an incredible buying opportunity. Look for sanity to return.
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