It happened at a time when the world is increasingly worried about climate change for which, among others, burning coal is a big time contributor. China and India keep shoving coal into the burners to sustain their energy needs.
The coal lobby in the US keeps promoting "clean coal".
And then this Tennessee accident:
The largest industrial spill in U.S. history, it has created an environmental and engineering nightmare. The cleanup effort, which the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing, could cost as much as $1 billion (though estimates continue to climb) and take years to complete. Meanwhile, the released ash—which is packed with toxins like arsenic, lead, and selenium—threatens to poison the air and water. Congressional committees are investigating the failure, some lawmakers are calling for greater regulation of utilities, and the EPA is probing about 400 other facilities across the country that store ash in similar ways. Yet the debacle has had another, potentially more far-reaching, impact: it has displayed in the most graphic manner imaginable just how dirty coal is. At a time when seemingly everyone from President Barack Obama on down is talking about "clean coal," the spill showed it's anything but. "Kingston opened people's eyes," says Lisa Evans of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental-law firm. "Clean coal is an impossibility."If we have such problems with "benign" coal ash, then I shudder to think what a small mistake with nuclear waste might do. Calling Dr. Strangelove, Calling Dr. Strangelove!