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Archive for Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama asks for review of nuclear plants

March 18, 2011

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— President Barack Obama, trying to reassure a worried nation, declared Thursday that “harmful levels” of radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster are not expected to reach the U.S., even as other officials conceded it could take weeks to bring the crippled nuclear complex under control.

The situation remains dangerous and complicated at the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors in northeastern Japan, U.S. officials said.

“We’ve seen an earthquake and tsunami render an unimaginable toll of death and destruction on one of our closest friends and allies in the world,” Obama said in brief remarks at the White House after a visit to the Japanese Embassy to offer his condolences.

Obama said he had asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the safety of all U.S. nuclear plants.

“When we see a crisis like the one in Japan, we have a responsibility to learn from this event and to draw from those lessons to ensure the safety and security of our people,” Obama said.

There are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States, providing roughly 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Report: U.S. nuke plant problems ignored, including in Vt.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report released this week that federal regulators “overlooked or dismissed” serious safety problems in 2010 at U.S. nuclear plants, including at the Vermont Yankee plant near the Massachusetts border.

The report also says there there were 14 “near-misses” at U.S. nuclear plants during 2010 — inspections launched by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in response to “troubling events, safety equipment problems and security shortcomings at nuclear power plants.”

“While none of the safety problems in 2010 caused harm to plant employees or the public, their frequency — more than one per month — is high for a mature industry,” the report states.

Read more: Report: U.S. nuke plant problems ignored, including in Vt. | Boston Business Journal

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2011/03/18/report-nuke-plant-problems-ignored.html

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

The Japanese nuclear crisis worsens as Japanese authorities race to cool the overheating reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

Earlier today, Japan raised the nuclear alert level at the crippled plant from a four to a five, on par with Three Mile Island. This decision has shocked many nuclear experts.

“Our experts think that it’s a level 6.5 already, and it’s on the way to a seven, which was Chernobyl," says Philip White of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo.

We also speak with Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility about the long-term health effects from radiation exposure from Fukushima.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/18/underestimating_the_seriousness_of_the_problem

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 1 month ago

Are you forgetting that attribution thing again, planet-killer merrill? Plagiarism is dumb and irresponsible!!!!!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Safety and Security Risks

* Nuclear power poses unique safety and security threats, relative to other sources of electricity. A severe accident or attack at a nuclear plant could be catastrophic.

* Accidents do happen, as history has taught us at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and, most recently, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo, Ohio, which came dangerously close to disaster when acid corroded a hole in its reactor head. Don’t forget reports that the al Qaeda terrorist organization considered an attack on a U.S. nuclear power station.

* The insurance industry won’t insure against nuclear power plant accidents. Nuclear power plant operators rely on a government-backed "Price-Anderson" insurance scheme that limits their liability in the event of an accident or attack.

And Expensive Too!

The Department of Energy admits that "Economic viability for a nuclear plant is difficult to demonstrate." Since the inception of commercial nuclear power in the United States 50 years ago, this industry has been propped up by huge government subsidies.

Throwing more tax dollars at nuclear power will not make it safer, cleaner or more economical. Further, these subsidies to a mature industry distort electricity markets by granting nuclear power an unfair and undesirable advantage over safe, clean energy alternatives.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

No contemporary energy source is as environmentally irresponsible, imposes such a high liability on taxpayers, or is as dangerous as nuclear power.

Industry efforts to "greenwash" nuclear energy make a mockery of clean energy goals.

Although nuclear reactors do not emit carbon dioxide, promoting nuclear risks to reduce greenhouse emissions is the classic jump from the frying pan into the fire!

The Real Dirt on "Clean" Nuclear Energy

* The mining, milling and enrichment of uranium into nuclear fuel are extremely energy-intensive and result in the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

* Estimated "energy recovery time" for a nuclear power plant is about 10 to 18 years, depending on the richness of uranium ores mined for fuel. This means that a nuclear power plant must operate for at least a decade before all the energy consumed to build and fuel the plant has been earned back and the power station begins to produce net energy. By comparison, wind power takes less than a year to yield net energy, and solar or photovoltaic power nets energy in less than three years.

* The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has calculated that collective radiation doses amounting to 12 cancer deaths can be expected for each 20-year term a reactor operates, as a result of radioactive emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle and routine reactor operations. This calculation assumes no unplanned accidents and does not consider radiation releases from high-level nuclear waste "disposal" activities. Nor are nonfatal health impacts related to radiation exposure counted in this tally.

* Thermal pollution from nuclear power plants adversely affects marine ecosystems. "Once-through" cooling systems in use at half the U.S. nuclear reactors discharge billions of gallons of water per day at temperatures up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the water into which it flows.
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