American Nuclear Industry Suffers a Meltdown

American Nuclear Power Fizzles

Even though the American government has done everything possible to encourage nuclear power – by wholly subsidizing nuclear power, reducing safety standards after Fukushima, forcing Japan to re-start its nuclear program, covering up the severity of the Fukushima accident, raising acceptable radiation limits and agreeing to buy radioactive Japanese seafood – the so-called “nuclear renaissance” is over in the U.S. (and worldwide).

Duke Energy charged its ratepayers $1.5 billion dollars to build a nuclear power plant in Florida, and then pulled the plug … and refused to refund the money to its ratepayers.

An attempt to secretly ramp up production at the San Onofre plant in California caused massive problems at the plant.  An internal letter reveals that the plant operator knew of defects at the crippled reactors … but misled federal regulators to get and expedited license.  A judge has now permanently shut down the plant.

Virtually all other American nuclear rectors have suffered problem after problem, and plans for new plans have been mothballed.

The problem is that America’s nuclear reactors are old … and are falling apart piece by piece.

But – even after the Fukushima meltdown – regulators have reduced safety standards.

The Nuclear Regulator Commission say that the risk of a major meltdown at U.S. nuclear reactors is much higher than it was at Fukushima (and Fukushima is worse than ever.)

And an accident in the U.S. could be a lot larger than in Japan … partly because our nuclear plants hold a lot more radioactive material.

Indeed, nuclear is expensive and bad for the environment.  Nuclear is wholly subsidized by the government … and would never survive in a free market…. and it doesn’t really reduce global warming.

And it’s not helping inspire confidence in the our ability to safely handle radioactive materials that the former governor of Washington said that the Hanford Nuclear reservation is leaking 1,000 gallons a year, and that there is “no available technology to plug the leaks”.  And see this.   60 of the 177 underground tanks have already leaked and all of the tanks are at risk, which threatens the Columbia River.   There is a chance that the place may explode.

And it’s not helping that a “mass release of floating radioactive particles in metro St. Louis” may be released by the inferno at a landfill containing 8,700 tons of nuclear waste (and all efforts to stop it have failed so far).

Nuclear energy can be cheap, or it can be safe … but it can’t be both. If we want safe nuclear plants, we have to demand that the plant operators spend real money to maintain their reactors, and prevent easy-to-prevent risks.

And – instead of staying with an archaic design chosen solely because it helps to make nuclear bombs – we must decentralize, to more economical and environmentally friendly energy sources … nuclear or otherwise.

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