If you have been watching reports coming out of Japan, or reading about the situation, it must by now have made you reach this conclusion: nuclear power is just not worth it. I have seen the talking heads go at it on television, and some babble about how "safe" nuclear power is. I feel like saying, "Tell that to the ten thousand plus dead and the stricken survivors in Japan."
By all accounts the Japanese thought they were prepared for the big one; they had built the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant with expectations of an earthquake. What it seems they were not ready for was the tsunami that followed, which knocked out the plant's cooling systems and caused this catastrophe. Now the world waits to hear good news each day, but all we get is more of the same grim reports and the possibility of even worse things to come, like plutonium being found in the soil outside the plant.
This inevitably gets me thinking of the other nuclear problem: weapons. The notion of anyone using nuclear weapons should by now have reached a complete zero option. For years I have heard about a "limited nuclear response" in various situations. In other words, your country hits my country with one, so I will hit you back with one. The greatest fear comes from countries like India and Pakistan which both have nuclear weapons and have at times been on the brink of hostilities.
After seeing what has happened in Japan, any rational person would realize that it is bad enough if something goes wrong with a nuclear reactor in a plant meant for generating power, but to intentionally use a weapon that will also release these harmful materials into the atmosphere should now be seen as a reprehensible and inconceivable act of barbarism. A small scale nuclear exchange could devastate this planet, causing climate change that would alter life as we know it forever.