The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant continues to escalate. The word Chernobyl has not been uttered this many times in the media since the twentieth anniversary of the disaster in 2006. Yet the U.S. nuclear industry is doing its best to try to convince politicians and voters alike that there’s no problem here, folks… just move along.
Under the headline story, “Third blast rocks Japanese nuclear facility,” the March 16th edition of NEI SmartBrief (“News about the nuclear technologies industry”) continues with the following stories:
“Jaczko allays U.S. radiation concerns from damaged Japanese reactors” – wherein Gregory Jaczo, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission attempts to reassure us by stating, “Hazardous radiation levels from the damaged reactors in Japan are ‘unlikely’ to reach the U.S.”
(HEY! Were you the same guy that told us that a disaster of the magnitude of Chernobyl was unlikely to happen again?)
Then, as if the entire rest of the world doesn’t, in fact, exist, he continues to make us feel safe with, “You just aren’t going to have any radiological material that, by the time it traveled those large distances, could present any risk to the American public.” Phew. (Wait. Did he actually just say that out loud?)
Next the brilliant minds at the NRC (the very same governing body that just tried to green light a twenty year license extension for a leaking plant in Vermont that is roughly the same age and type as the UNSTABLE plant in Japan) are featured in the next piece, “NRC: U.S. reactors are capable of handling disasters.” I’m sorry, were they unaware that the plant in Japan is the same age and type as Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant? Because it seems to me that we now have the dubious fortune of seeing exactly what will happen to the plants of this type and this age when faced with disaster. THEY WILL BECOME THE DISASTER.
And just to cap it off, I’ll share this last pathetic morsel from the newsletter. “Sen. Alexander: U.S. must continue using nuclear energy”
And I quote:
“The U.S. shouldn’t give up on nuclear energy because of the Japanese reactor crisis, said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. “The lesson that America can take away is this: learn all we can from this Japanese experience to make the operation of American reactors as safe as possible,” he said. Alexander, who has advocated 100 new nuclear facilities in the next two decades, cited the nuclear industry’s positive track record on safety.”
I can’t even comment here. I can’t type. I’m choking. But if he were within arms reach, I’d smack him myself.
On a positive note, however, some of the good, smart people who have been trying to spread the WAKE UP call are being heard. In a CNN article published this afternoon, Tom Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council stated, “”We’ve watched Exxon Valdez, the BP oil spill, numerous coal mining accidents, Chernobyl, TMI, now Fukushima, slag ponds, TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) reactors giving way. You have got to ask yourself, how many wake-up calls do you need before you get serious about building a safe, renewable-energy economy?”
Thanks, Tom. I’m hoping for the best.