- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As we have seen many times in the recent past - especially during Hurricane Katrina - during disasters, our nation’s leaders attempt to manage fallout reactively rather than proactively (“GOP lawmaker warns against overreaction to Japan nuclear crisis,” Web, Thursday).

We knew of serious limitations and weaknesses on the dikes in New Orleans before Katrina, and each time devastating hurricanes roar across Florida, there is a repeat of damage in the same areas, affecting the same population bases.

Here we are again, following the same behavior regarding the potential nuclear plant disaster in Japan after the tsunami. President Obama has announced that he intends to shut down the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors as they undergo their first-ever across-the-board safety inspection. About half of those units are more than 30 years old, and nearly half of them were operating when the Three Mile Island incident occurred in 1979. An alarming 16 of those reactors sit on known, active earthquake faults.

What is Mr. Obama thinking? Why has it taken until 2011 and an earthquake-triggered panic to take a serious look at our outdated nuclear plants?

As the most powerful nation in the world and as one of the few genuine democracies, we can and must do better than we have in the past. Nuclear energy is a vital part of our energy sources and it is here to stay, regardless of what happens in Japan. We must prepare for disasters before they occur.

JAMES W. ANDERSON

Talladega, Ala.


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