Nuclear Drive Trumps Safety Risks and High Cost  

Posted by Big Gav in

TruthOut has a look at the nuclear power industry in the US - Meltdown, USA: Nuclear Drive Trumps Safety Risks and High Cost and Part II: Energy Department, NRC Back Nuclear, Ignore Industry’s Dirty Little Secrets.

The pro-nuclear Department of Energy is set to offer this month the first of nearly $20 billion in loan guarantees to a nuclear industry that hasn't built a plant since the 1970s or raised any money to do so in years. But although the industry is seeking to cash in on global warming concerns with $100 billion in proposed loan guarantees, environmentalists, scientists and federal investigators are warning that lax oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the nation's aging 104 nuclear plants has led to near-meltdowns along with other health and safety failings since Three Mile Island - including what some critics say is a flawed federal health study apparently designed to conceal cancer risks near nuclear plants.

All that is joined by the dangers and risks posed by at least 30 tons yearly of radioactive, cancer-causing, nuclear waste produced at each 1,000 megawatt plant; projected costs of $12 billion to $25 billion for any new plants (built largely through taxpayer support); and their ongoing vulnerability to terrorist attacks at sites like Indian Point, 35 miles from New York.

For instance, a meltdown of the two reactors at Indian Point, dubbed "Chernobyl on the Hudson," could quickly kill nearly 50,000 people with radiation poisoning in a 50-mile radius and cause over 500,000 cancer deaths within six years, according to research by the Union of Concerned Scientists and other experts.

"Nothing's changed," said Paul Gunter, director of Reactor Oversight for the Beyond Nuclear reform group, about nuclear plants. "They're still dirty, dangerous and expensive."

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