I have heard on the news that nuclear power plants in Europe are being shut down in response to the tragedy in Japan.
Further, it was suggested that we should do that in the United States.
The analysis that followed seemed designed to frighten. It was also loaded with incomplete information. Nothing false, just leaving out many pertinent facts.
I would like to offer an observation on all of this.
So far I have not heard one word about the hazards of fossil fuel power plants. It is true that if a nuclear power plant is damaged, there is potential for environmental pollution. If that plant is undamaged and operating normally, it does not pollute.
On the other hand, a fossil fuel power plant operating normally does pollute. I have heard it argued that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. That is another discussion. Various other pollutants such as mercury are produced by fossil fuel power plants.
I would feel much safer and less threatened by living near a nuclear power plant than near a fossil fueled power plant. I do not hear any calls to close them down.