(Let me preface this blog entry with clarification on my thoughts on nuclear power. As a clean energy proponent, I think nuclear power has a place in our more sustainable future. This is based on years of weighing the upside/downside of known alternatives and the fact that there is no one single power solution without a downside.)
Now I feel better. On with the show. The media frenzy around Japan’s still unfolding tsunami/earthquake tragedy has the public riveted on “breaking news” and the human horror and attendant heroes surrounding the sad scene. As soon as the nuclear power plant failures began to cross the wire, I told my friends this is going to be used by extreme opponents to kill nuclear initiatives for a decade to come. That tsunami of negative news is just beginning to grow.
In this rush to headlines, Japan’s government must consider it’s words carefully. Transparency is the watch word for effectively handling the crisis communications without use of inflammatory comments. If they try to hide information or fail to tell the complete story, the whiplash will be severe on Japan’s credibility, as well as the nuclear industry.
Other governments (and companies) including my own state, Utah, as well as Japan could take a lesson from past failures in transparency like Watergate. Utah lawmakers are now taking flack for fast-tracking House Bill 477 which protects legislators from public scrutiny of text and e-mails.
Our thoughts and prayers and charitable contributions go out to the people of Japan. And, my hope goes out to that country’s government to be transparent on the unfolding nuclear crisis. Though painful, it is expected in today’s hugely connected age.