An easy first lesson is emerging from Japan's nuclear mess: No nuclear reactors should be in operation anywhere unless they have robots ready to fend off disaster, writes William Saletan in Slate. He's not talking about run-of-the-mill robots that replace humans at menial tasks. He means expensive, radiation-resistant robots that can get close to out-of-control reactors to help cool them down.
Fukushima Dai-ichi had none of these and has had to pull out human workers repeatedly, raising the risk of a meltdown. "This is crazy," he writes. "Robots have to be available within hours, hardened to radiation, and equipped to help." From here on out, this should be a no-brainer: No reactor gets fired up unless the right robots are standing by.