nuclear safety

Fukushima + 5

What’s happened since then?

Five years ago today, Japan was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the Fukushima reactor meltdowns.  Where do things stand today?  Here’s a quick wrap-up: Compensation.  TEPCO, the utility operating the reactors, now estimates that it will pay $56 billion in compensation to victims. Clean-up.  The plant has been stabilized, according to …


The NRC Ducks the Hard Questions

As Fukushima revealed, the Japanese nuclear industry had a very cozy relationship with regulators.  That kind of coziness is not unheard of in the U.S. context, either. After the Three Mile Island accident, Congress divided the responsibilities of the Atomic Energy Commission, giving its mandate to promote nuclear power to DOE and its regulatory authority …


Seismic Uncertainty

What happened last March 11 wasn’t supposed to be possible. The seismic hazard maps didn’t entertain the idea of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the Tohoku coast of Japan. But the Earth paid no heed to scientific orthodoxy. A massive slab of the planet’s crust lurched 180 feet to the east. It rose about 15 …


Concerned about nuclear power safety? Be not ashamed.

Should an individual state be able to decide whether or not there will be an active nuclear power plant within its borders? And whether it should or not, would federal law allow it? These are questions that I am left with after a recent trip to Vermont. Any day now, a federal judge will decide …


Japan Update

Not good, on a number of fronts: The official death count is now past 7000, as reported by CNN. Another ten thousand are still missing. The NY Times reports that the Japanese government has finally raised the level of the event to 5, the same level as Three Mile Island. Here’s a really scary statement …