In a previous post, I reported that 58% of Americans think nuclear power is safe. After reading the below reports one has to wonder why that is…
14 Near Meltdowns
Among the litany of violations at U.S. nuclear power plants are missing or mishandled nuclear material, inadequate emergency plans, faulty backup power generators, corroded cooling pipes and even marijuana use inside a nuclear plant, according to an ABC News review of four years of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) safety records.
There are 104 U.S. nuclear power plants, producing 20 percent of the country’s electricity at world-class safety levels, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.
The Union of Concerned Scientists found 14 “near misses” at nuclear plants in 2010. And there were 56 serious violations at nuclear power plants from 2007 to 2011, according the ABC News review of NRC records.
In a statement by the NRC to congress, “the last five years show no abnormal occurrences at U.S. nuclear plants. In fact, America’s reactors produce 20 percent of all electricity at world class safety levels.”
Chicago is in Danger
At the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois, for instance, which is located within 50 miles of the 7 million people who live in and around Chicago, nuclear material went missing in 2007. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the operator — Exelon Corp. — after discovering the facility had failed to “keep complete records showing the inventory [and] disposal of all special nuclear material in its possession.”
As a result, two fuel pellets and equipment with nuclear material could not be accounted for.
Two years later, federal regulators cited Dresden for allowing unlicensed operators to work with radioactive control rods. The workers allowed three control rods to be moved out of the core. When alarms went off, workers initially ignored them.
New York City is in Danger
At the Indian Point nuclear plant just outside New York City, the NRC found that an earthquake safety device has been leaking for 18 years.
In the event of an earthquake, Lochbaum said, the faulty safety device would not help prevent water from leaking out of the reactor. A lack of water to cool the fuel rods has been the most critical problem at the Fukushima plant in Japan after the recent earthquake and tsunami.
“The NRC has known it’s been leaking since 1993,” Lochbaum said, “but they’ve done nothing to fix it.”