NIMBYism Everywhere

With my two subscribers wondering what I was up to, I’ve decided to triumphantly return to the blogosphere. With my work dealing mostly with municipal issues and my favoured writing involving only 140 characters or less (follow me @priyanKaruvelil if you like West Wing/Star Trek/Star Wars references and Calgary politics), I thought it might be time to renew my longer writing on International Relations.

With events happening in Egypt and Libya being squarely in my area of interest, you would have thought that I would have started blogging sooner. But no, the thing that got me riled up enough to write was all the misinformation about nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan.

The taboo around the “nuclear” term is a double-edged sword- on the one hand it has kept an all-out devastating world war from breaking from more than half a century, while on the other it has prevented us from fully utilizing a clean energy source.

It is imperative that nuclear energy needs to be a part of a smart energy mix (just like renewable resources need to be used in this mix), especially for a country like Japan that doesn’t really have any energy resources to maintain self-sufficiency. Other than the obvious takeaway of not building volatile infrastructure on major fault lines, its not reasonable to equate the unfortunate circumstances to a death knell for nuclear energy everywhere.

By playing to people’s fears of a nuclear meltdown (think Three Mile Island), it’s very easy to call for reactionary actions with regard to nuclear energy, which for the most part is stable and clean (though I don’t think it will ever be a perfect alternative for most conventional sources of power). All that does is set us back in our need to address climate change and issues of growing economies like Brazil, India and China that end up using dirtier fuels because of their low cost points.

Energy needs are a vital component for economies to flourish, without which it is hard to maintain a military or secure a border. With energy security becoming a part of the security nomenclature, one can’t discount the importance of renewable fuels to maintain strong and stable states. Because the alternative is much too costly to sustain.

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