The State of Virginia's Department of Health, while repeatedly stating that there is no public health concern to be feared from the low concentrations of radioactivity falling out, has nonetheless warned Virginians to avoid drinking rainwater, out of "an abundance of caution."
Rubbish! NPR finally hauled out Patrick Moore, yet again referring to his distant Greenpeace credentials, to show that environmentalists are split on nuclear power safety. The story ran on March 28th, the same day the Three Mile Island accident happened. Does NPR really think that Patrick Moore is the definition of an environmentalist? A paid spokesperson for the nuclear industry and polluters like the chemicals and plastics industries and others like GM crops and clear-cut logging? Yet again, we urge you to lodge your complaints with N(uclear) P(owered) R(adio). One nuclear industry shill does not a movement-split make. Contact NPR using this form: http://help.npr.org/npr/includes/customer/npr/custforms/contactus.aspx. Or you can call the Office of the NPR Ombudsman at 202-513-3245.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko stunningly told a House Appropriations subcommittee that there were no discernable safety differences between spent fuel pools and dry casks at U.S. reactors, reports Greenwire. Using a decidedly poor choice of metaphor, he added: "The likelihood of anything happening is so small, it's hard to say that one is safer than the other. It's like [the odds of] winning the Powerball versus winning another lottery."
Far from a win-win situation, casks and fuel pools at reactors are more likely equally dangerous than equally safe. Beyond Nuclear and scores of other groups have called instead for hardened on-site storage as the least worst option for securing radioactive waste at reactor sites.
Additionally, Greenwire reported: "NRC is currently conducting a two-pronged safety review as a result of the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactor, Jaczko said. There is a 90-day review that he termed a "quick look" to see if there are any immediate changes suggested for the United States as a result of the overheating reactor."
Here's the excerpt from Obama's speech today: "Now, in light of the ongoing events in Japan, I want to just take a minute to talk about nuclear power. Right now, America gets about one-fifth of our electricity from nuclear energy. And it’s important to recognize that nuclear energy doesn’t emit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So those of us who are concerned about climate change, we’ve got to recognize that nuclear power, if it’s safe, can make a significant contribution to the climate change question.
And I’m determined to ensure that it’s safe. So in light of what’s happened in Japan, I’ve requested a comprehensive safety review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make sure that all of our existing nuclear energy facilities are safe. And we’re going incorporate those conclusions and lessons from Japan in design and the building of the next generation of plants. But we can’t simply take it off the table."
Er, yes we can! And does the idea of the NRC conducting a "comprehensive safety review" fill you with confidence? Isn't that their everyday job?