It's been a few decades since the nuclear power industry had a headline-grabbing event such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. People were starting to forget the damage that could be caused by these installations.
But the powerful earthquake that struck Japan March 11 is bringing the issue of nuclear safety back to the fore, just as the nuclear power industry is beginning to push for building more power plants in the U.S. Among the plans is an addition to Detroit Edison's Fermi plant.
Will watching a nuclear power plant building blow up on television as happened in Japan make a difference in how people view nuclear power? According to the New York Times, hundreds of thousands of people in Japan have been evacuated. At least three people have serious radiation sickness.
Core meltdowns are thought to have happened in two reactors.
And we're only at the beginning of knowing what happened, let alone understanding it. Bad news is likely to continue for days or even weeks.
And all this despite all the assurances we've heard over and over about the safety record of nuclear power and how we should build more of them instead of trying to curb demand for power through conservation.
They may have convinced a lot of people that it was safe to go back into the water, but with nuclear power the sharks just keep showing up.