New-kew-lar

Yes, I know it’s pronounced “new-klee-ar” but as Katherine Barber, The Word Lady, says “Don’t have a meltdown” when someone pronounces it like this post’s title.

So the letter of the day for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is “N” and the recent events at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan, triggered by the damage caused by a massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, led me to think of using nuclear as the topic of today’s post – although I’m not going to say anything more about that particular incident, as there’s been plenty said about it already.

Rather, coming as I do from the first generation to grow up with nuclear energy – and the spectre of imminent nuclear war – I have seen the ups and downs, the positives and the negatives,  of the nuclear age.

I was born in the latter half of the 1950s and during my childhood the news was filled with stories both ominous and, for a propellerhead like the young me (OK, so I’m still pretty much a propellerhead…), full of promise for a bright future.  That was a time when nuclear brinksmanship between the USA and the USSR brought the doomsday clock perilously close – within 2 minutes – to chiming the eternal midnight signalling the end of mankind.  Cheerful stuff, that.

But it was also a time when civilian uses of nuclear power became a symbol for a fantastic future – the path to better living through technology.  And while the nuclear genie has certainly helped meet our increasingly voracious appetite for more power, we need to remember that once released from its bottle it may be impossible to get back in, so we’d better think very carefully about what we ask it to do for us.

In the end, I am neither a nuclear apologist nor an anti-nuclear activist – like most technologies, I find that the most dangerous aspects come from blindly taking an extreme position at either end without fully acknowledging or understanding both the risks and benefits that can result from the use of that technology.

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3 Responses to New-kew-lar

  1. You sound like such a reasonable person…must be a Canadian…

    good post – mostly because I agree with everything you say…as I’ve mentioned before, there was an air raid siren in the corner of my school yard. Tends to leave a wee bit of a imprint on pretty much the entire generation. And there’s no such thing as bad or good in reference to technology only stupid or careful…

    G’night, Rob…

    moe

    • Rob says:

      While writing the post I recalled that episode of Baba’s Beach where you talked about the air raid siren – it was a good’un, and I think need to go back and re-listen to them all again. Or you and Mr Mark could serve up some new episodes… 🙂

      As well as stupid or careful, a healthy dose of luck is often a useful thing to have when dealing with technology. Although when the luck wears off… let’s hope there was more careful than stupid in the implementation.

  2. I will tell Mr. Mark to put the one up we recorded just around Christmas…in his defence, he has been a busy boy…oh well, his spring cruise is coming up so maybe he’ll do something while sailing off the west coast deploying his buoys…

    xxoo
    moe

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