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No Fail-Safe Option by Eugene Robinson Essay

In Eugene Robinson’s article, “No Fail-Safe Option,” he addresses that nuclear power is beginning to look like a “bargain with the devil” (Robinson 226). Robinson, a journalist for The Washington Post, aims his article at the Chernobyl disaster and the unlikeliness of the Fukushima crisis ending with the same result. Even though Japanese engineers struggle to keep the catastrophe from escalating even higher, Robinson says we cannot ignore the fact that nuclear fission is “inherently and uniquely toxic technology” (226). He points out that the “most powerful earthquake in Japan’s recorded history” began a declining chain of events, starting with system failures, fractional meltdowns, and hydrogen detonations at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (226). The Fukushima reactors are an older design and helped lead to the crisis.

Robinson explains that the Earth is alive with tectonic movement; furthermore, with the improvement of technology, we have computers that are close to infallible. With the data produced, it has to be interpreted with human intelligence, configuring decisions under pressure when disaster strikes. After the Chernobyl incident, there is still a twenty-mile radius surrounding the nuclear plant that is radioactive and uninhabitable twenty-five years later. He says that it seems unlikely that the Fukushima crisis will turn into another Chernobyl because there is a decent chance prevailing winds would blow any radioactive cloud out to sea (227).

Robinson comments that engineers can create nuclear power plants ensuing that another Chernobyl disaster will almost never happen, but eliminating it is different. He says the best-case scenario would be the Japanese engineers would eventually get the plant under control. After that, it would be safe to conclude that the system worked. Robinson states that we would be fooling ourselves because the “improbable does not mean impossible” (227). It can happen anywhere.

Works Cited
Robinson, Eugene. “No Fail-Safe Option.” Writing & Reading for ACP
Composition: Second Edition. Eds. Christine R. Farris and Deanna M. Jessup. New York: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013. 226-227. Print.

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