The Non-Nuclear Option

Montreal, Canada

The ongoing human tragedy unfolding in Japan is truly one of the saddest things to witness. The reports I’ve been watching on CNN capture the plight of this proud people and the incredible will to remain calm in what has mushroomed into a crisis of unprecedented proportions. I’m making a personal donation this week and I would kindly ask everyone reading this blog to please do the same; it’s the humane thing do to.

The Japanese now have more problems to deal with – in addition to the growing death toll, complete loss of coastal towns or cities, and lack of food and water.

The nuclear facilities along its northern coast are likely to leak (if they aren’t already), possibly causing radioactive material to disperse not only across Japan’s atmosphere, but possibly into the jet-stream or to nearby countries. It’s an unbelievably dangerous scenario.

On Sunday, I began to discount what will happen on Monday once traders got to their desks. Uranium would be sold heavily. Money-flows would head back into depressed alternative energy, like solar. And it did.

Monday was a massacre for the nuclear energy sector as giants like Cameco Corp. (NYSE-CCJ) tanked more than 15% and smaller uranium companies traded in Toronto crashed 25% or more. I suspect the sellers will return in even greater numbers today judging by the overnight action in Japan and the trading activity underway in Europe. The futures in New York look pretty grim.

Nuclear energy will probably survive this disaster. The Chinese and many other countries will continue to grow their infrastructures regardless of this tragedy.

But personally, I think we’d all be better off without this sort of power. The world will always be vulnerable to accidents and no nuclear power plant will ever be earthquake-proof or tsunami-proof. The consequences of a meltdown are radioactivity, and probably, widespread cancer.

If there was ever a time to turn to clean energy, it’s now. That means looking again at solar, wind and other sources of alternative energy that don’t kill people if things go wrong. The United States needs an official energy program; let’s hope lawmakers will turn to clean fuels and make the right choices.

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