Just to note that 25 years ago today, the Unit 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station exploded. I wrote about the incident on its 20th anniversary (http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/2006/04/chernobyl-26th-april-2006-20-years-on.html). I was working in Russia around this time, and that is maybe why the memory of it is quite acute for me, as it is undoubtedly for many others.
Such a reminder of Chernobyl is all the more poignant in view of the troubles at the Fukushima power station in Japan, triggered by the recent earthquake and tsunami there. It is thought it will be 3 months before all leaks of radioactive material are stopped from the plant and 9 months before the whole is securely buried in concrete. When such catastrophes occur, nuclear power becomes a demon in the public gaze, while mostly it is regarded with a quiet respect such as for a sleeping rottweiler.
I commented about Chernobyl that it is not simply a matter of accounting the magnitude of the disaster in terms of the immediate death count, but that the toll placed upon a regional and national psychology and the effect of despair and powerlessness imposed upon the human spirit constitute a broader and more lingering legacy. http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/2006/05/chernobyl-how-many-really-will-die.html
For the Japanese people, as for the Russian people after Chernobyl, there is undoubtedly a profound sense of uncertainty and of dented national pride. But amid such catastrophes always emerges a deeply rooted courage and resilience and an ability to transcend adversity that defines us as members of the human family, whatever our nation, race or creed.