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Despite continuing disaster at Fukushima US approves new nuclear reactors

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The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a construction/operating license for two new reactors in Georgia, at the same time that alarming reports from Japan indicate the Fukushima catastrophe is far from over.


Harvey Wasserman writes:

Reactor pushers have welcomed the NRC's approval of the new Westinghouse AP-1000 design for Georgia's Vogtle. Two reactors operate there now, and the two newly approved ones are being funded with $8.3 billion in federally guaranteed loans and state-based rate hikes levied in advance of the reactors' being completed.


Thousands of tons of intensely radioactive spent fuel are still in serious jeopardy. Radioactive trash and water are spewing into the environment. And nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen reports that during the string of disasters following March 11, 2011's earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima 1's containment cap may actually have lifted off its base, releasing dangerously radioactive gasses and opening a gap for an ensuing hydrogen explosion.


There are some two dozen of these Mark I-style containments currently in place in the US.


Newly released secret email from the NRC also shows its Commissioners were in the dark about much of what was happening during the early hours of the Fukushima disaster. They worried that Tokyo might have to be evacuated, and that airborne radiation spewing across the Pacific could seriously contaminate Alaska.


Reactor pushers have welcomed the NRC's approval of the new Westinghouse AP-1000 design for Georgia's Vogtle. Two reactors operate there now, and the two newly approved ones are being funded with $8.3 billion in federally guaranteed loans and state-based rate hikes levied in advance of the reactors' being completed.


Click here to read the rest of this story on the Common Dreams website.


Writing in the New York Times, world expert on the health effects of radiation, Dr Helen Caldicott, explains how the nuclear industry has been able to continue on, despite the massive risks the industry obviously entails, and the damage and loss of life it has actually caused in Fukushima, Chernobyl and elsewhere:



The nuclear power industry has been resurrected over the past decade by a lobbying campaign that has left many people believing it to be a clean, green, emission-free alternative to fossil fuels. These beliefs pose an extraordinary threat to global public health and encourage a major financial drain on national economies and taxpayers. The commitment to nuclear power as an environmentally safe energy source has also stifled the mass development of alternative technologies that are far cheaper, safer and almost emission free — the future for global energy.


When the Fukushima Daiichi reactors suffered meltdowns in March, literally in the backyard of an unsuspecting public, the stark reality that the risks of nuclear power far outweigh any benefits should have become clear to the world. As the old quip states, “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”


Instead, the nuclear industry has used the disaster to increase its already extensive lobbying efforts. A few nations vowed to phase out nuclear energy after the disaster. But many others have remained steadfast in their commitment. That has left millions of innocent people unaware that they — all of us — may face a medical catastrophe beyond all proportions in the wake of Fukushima and through the continued widespread use of nuclear energy.


Click here to read the rest of this story on The New York Times website.

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