By Hamish Johnston
This Sunday marks one year since the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami wreaked destruction on the east coast of Japan. One of the casualties of the day was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which, having survived the earthquake was then inundated by a 15 m wave. This initiated a chain of events leading to the meltdown of three of the plant’s six reactors.
The Fukushima incident is second only to the Chernobyl disaster as the worst nuclear accident ever, and it has blighted the lives of thousands of people living around the plant – some of whom may never be able to return to their homes. However, proponents of nuclear power might point out that the situation was eventually brought under control and only a handful of deaths have been directly attributed to the Fukushima incident – whereas the earthquake and tsunami claimed more than 10,000 lives.
So our Facebook poll question this week is:
How has the Fukushima incident changed your attitude to nuclear power?
It’s hardened my opposition
It’s strengthened my support
No change at all
Have your say by casting your vote on our Facebook page. As always, please feel free to explain your response by posting a comment.
If you would like a bit of background reading before you cast your vote, check out this opinion piece by Mike Weightman, who led a team of nuclear inspectors to Fukushima less than three months after the incident.
Last week we asked you what level of computer-programming proficiency is appropriate for a physicist. The overwhelming majority of you thought that some programming knowledge is needed, with 51% saying that physicists should be conversant in machine code and 42% saying that some knowledge of FORTRAN is essential.