Do you think it would be a bad thing if you got what you wanted? Getting what we want is not intrinsically good or bad. It all depends on what we want and how we pursue it. Even if we want good things, we have to be realistic and rational in how to attain them.
You and I would both like to see humanity drastically scale back its use of fossil fuels, and there seems to be broad consensus that this would be a good thing. The question is how best to attain this goal. Your preferred solution is for everyone to experience raised consciousness, and for them to scale back, eliminate everything frivolous, and make a retrograde transition in lifestyle. And presumably you would want for them to do this voluntarily rather than have this be forced upon them. That much of your goal seems benign to me, and it accords with my notions of free agency. But you have also described how very few people get it when you try to present your case. Global consciousness raising may be a lofty goal, but your own experience says nothing encouraging about the likelihood this is going to happen–especially in the short timeframe we are facing.
The particular news item here was indeed a complete non-event. If it had reached the ocean, it would have increased that day’s radioactive outflow by less than a thousandth, but as it was, it was contained by the gates and went nowhere.
Whatever problems you have with nuclear power of the past, you can’t use that as an argument against developing forms of nuclear power which don’t have those problems. That would be like invoking the poor safety record of cars without seatbelts and airbags as an argument against developing cars with seatbelts and airbags.
But even if we develop forms of nuclear which effectively solve all the waste and safety and environmental problems, that will still leave your biggest objection–that it could provide people with the energy to do things you deem frivolous. And while I can understand your disapproval of casinos and boob jobs and other shallow pursuits, opposing the development of benign nuclear power is likely to be both ineffective and ultimately dangerous–in a world where fossil fuel providers will be only too happy to have the opportunity to supply that energy instead.
And it is true that a modern large reactor contains many times the potential radioactivity of Little Boy. That’s because they also contain many times the potential energy. An atomic bomb is destructive because its energy is all released over a very short interval of time. If you tried to spread that energy out, it would not go very far. Little boy released about the same energy as you’d get from burning 300,000 gallons of heating and transport fuel. A city of 70,000 people can easily consume that amount of energy in a day. Another way of saying that is that a modern city consumes enough energy each day to destroy that city, if that energy were to be concentrated into bomb form. Or you could just take the gasoline a city consumes in a day and burn down the whole city with it. The fact that there are destructive ways to use energy does not argue against the useful ways to use it.