|The earthquake triggers a massive|
Keep in mind that this earthquake has literally removed entire towns. They'r gone. The buildings don't exist anymore, except as rubble, swept miles away. Under these circumstances, the low death toll (5000-10000, estimated) is a tribute to Japan's excellent preparedness. There's no one sitting a block away from the power plant wondering, "oh dear, is it going to affect me?" No, everyone is either dead or evacuated. Thousands are dead. Thousands more are missing. The fact that a nuclear power plant is suffering a failure is quite simply not changing the scope of this disaster.
But still, we continue to raise alarms and demand stricter regulations as a result of our irrational fear of what is clearly our safest form of power generation. We continue to put out gas fires and clean up oil spills at an ever-increasing rate, but after a 9.0 earthquake a nuclear plant is damaged? It must be time for stricter regulation!
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for strong safety surrounding nuclear power. I think Chernobyl teaches us what happens when basic safety technology is ignored. However, you don't then ratchet up the level of regulation every time a new worst-case scenario occurs. You perform reasonable risk assessments and regulate as a result of their findings when necessary. It's actually not very hard.