Advanced Ceramics / Columns

Letter to the Editor

May 1, 2011
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Dear Editor,

The nuclear industry has taken somewhat of a beating over the past few weeks, due to the recent chain of events at the Fukushima Nuclear Facility in Japan. A lot of questions have been raised, some legitimate, about control under extreme circumstances. Similar questions arose because of the lack of control surrounding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

How do we control what seems uncontrollable? At some levels, we simply cannot. We could not have controlled, prevented nor adverted the recent natural disasters in Japan. The situation at Fukushima developed due to the unstoppable, the uncontrollable and the unpredictable. Now, we as humanity reflect on the "what ifs" and second guess our decisions in hindsight-a very natural but somewhat ineffective methodology in debating the choices of mankind.

So what now? Do we abandon the pursuit of nuclear power in the wake of recent events? Do we accept the consequences of continuing to rely on our carbon-based energy sources? Or maybe, do we collectively revert to accepting minimal consumable energy that results in no air conditioning, lights, refrigeration, heat and other "luxuries"? Maybe health care, the global living standard and the "pursuit of happiness" should be compromised to have greater control. I hope not.

As the human race has experienced throughout the annals of time, I hope we continue to learn. We learn how to minimize risks. We understand the weaknesses and flaws exhibited under such adverse conditions. We join together in making ourselves stronger. We move on.

Nuclear energy is a viable alternative to meet the growing demand for clean energy. While the nuclear power debate will continue, the recent stumbling block must not be allowed to hinder our continued efforts to learn and advance.

Ceradyne Boron Products continues to advance high-purity chemistries in an effort to better address the ramifications of catastrophic events when nuclear power plants are damaged and the requirement for controlling radiation is extreme.

The loss of control is not exemplified in setbacks caused by events, but in the inability to learn and improve.

-Dennis Manning, VP and General Manager, Ceradyne Boron Products

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