JONI EVANS: The Fukushima accident strikes me as more of a learning experience than a dead end. It’s now clear, for instance, that nuclear plant reactors should not be built too closely to each other … a basic lesson to learn. There are dangers in all sources of fuel as we have seen. The risks in nuclear energy may be more scary than the others simply because radiation is not visible … but their actual record is one of the safest and most tightly regulated forms of power generation. Only Chernobyl resulted in actual deaths (though, granted, we haven’t yet heard the outcome at Fukushima). I’m staying hopeful.
CANDICE BERGEN: The thing is, despite all the reassurance people pound me with (the total success of nuclear power plants in France, for example), I still believe (correctly) that the Radioactive Shoe is going to drop. It is not and never can be completely safe, and we must work harder and faster to develop other fuel sources.
JOAN GANZ COONEY: I’ve always been ambivalent about nuclear power and the tragedies in Japan certainly haven’t changed my feelings. However, we are living with so much danger — natural disasters, gas line explosions, oil spills (very dangerous for the environment, if not for people) — that I suspect we or the next generation will be living with a lot more nuclear power plants. Our appetite for new energy sources is unabated and the population is not getting any smaller, so I assume we’ll consider the dangers something we can live with.