June 14, 2011 (Miller-McCune) -- When Italy decided in the mid-’70s to add nuclear power to its power portfolio, young mechanical and nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi was among those attracted to the opportunities it presented. His work centered on nuclear safety issues -- in particular, what might happen if something unexpected struck a power plant.
Corners he saw cut there eventually soured Silvi on that endeavor. His next position -- at the Italian Commission on Nuclear and Alternative Energy Sources, which included work on nuclear disarmament -- eventually soured him on nuclear energy itself.
“[If we] continue with nuclear power, there will definitely be worse accidents,” he argued in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Over the weekend, Italian voters agreed and overwhelming rejected restarting nuclear power in their country.
“Why not consider Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima as warnings of greater catastrophes to come and avoid the inevitable by shutting them down, much like changing your diet and/or lifestyle after finding out that your cholesterol or blood pressure is elevated, rather than continuing down the same path until a heart attack or stroke strikes?”