Saturday, April 09, 2011

Even if you don’t oppose nuclear power, questions have to be asked and things need to be rectified PDQ

Even if you don’t oppose nuclear power, questions have to be asked and things need to be rectified PDQ

Dear Kevin,
On the morning of March 11, I watched with horror as the news came in from Japan about the tragic earthquake and tsunami and their many victims. The power outage at a Japanese nuclear power plant was a footnote to these first reports, so it was hard to comprehend that the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl was underway. Over the last four weeks, the workers at the Fukushima nuclear power facility have acted heroically to get control of the situation and do what they can to manage the dangerous release of radiation. But the events have raised important global questions about nuclear power safety and the future of nuclear power. UCS experts continue to provide daily information and analysis to the public and Congress about what is happening on the ground and what the implications may be. Today I share this information with you in the hopes that we can learn from past mistakes. —Karla

I then sent a letter like this–Kevin

Dear Nuclear Regulators and US Dept. of Energy et. al,

SUBJECT: Make U.S. nuclear plants safer and more secure

What happened in Japan can happen in the United States. It is your job to make sure that it doesn’t and that our nation’s nuclear power plants operate safely. Even as the crisis in Japan continues, I urge you to take immediate action to enact and enforce safety and security reforms that will help prevent a nuclear catastrophe in the United States and improve public safety.

Specifically, I urge you to reduce the risks associated with how used nuclear fuel is stored after it is no longer being used for producing electricity. This dangerous “spent” fuel is currently vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and if a plant loses its ability to keep this fuel cool due to a prolonged power outage–such as what we witnessed in Japan–the plant risks the release of life-threatening radiation.

Experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Academy of Sciences say that by requiring plant owners to store more of its used fuel in dry casks instead of pools of water, many of these dangers can be reduced.

I also urge you to adopt a zero tolerance approach to safety violations and stringently enforce existing NRC regulations. The NRC must no longer ignore or tolerate problems at nuclear facilities and instead require plant operators to fix these safety and security issues.

See: for more info

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