Fukushima has been an unfortunate wake-up call to the planetary fallout that nuclear power harnesses. As the ongoing meltdown continues in Japan, it is forcing many to investigate myriad similar reactors that directly threaten other parts of the globe.
This past week the San Onofre reactor located in Southern California came under intense scrutiny, as it was revealed that a “small” leak had occurred, prompting a shutdown.
There are clear indicators that other nuclear power plants in the East and Midwest are showing signs of deterioration, which some are concluding increases the likelihood of a Fukushima-style meltdown, or worse, inside the United States if nature were to push one of these facilities beyond its breaking point, as we witnessed in Japan.
Cassandra Anderson recently wrote about the vast dangers of these leaky nuclear reactors, which she highlighted within the ongoing battle over Vermont’s Yankee nuclear facility; just one of several that have similarly off-vented radioactive steam. As Anderson points out, Yankee is “identical to Fukushima Reactor #1,” and “75% of US reactors are leaking radioactive material.”
Furthermore, in addition to the physical threat to both humans and the environment, Anderson succinctly points out the true economic cost of nuclear power:
Nearly 20% of energy in the US is produced by nuclear facilities. Nuclear energy is far more expensive than other energy sources, but the real cost is hidden because of government subsidies, tax breaks, insurance schemes and legal loopholes. Nuclear energy is estimated to be 60% greater than the cost of electricity from coal or gas fuel power plants. Therefore, nuclear energy would die without massive taxpayer handouts because it could not survive in a free market.
It is becoming clear that the powerful interests behind the promotion of nuclear power, as well as the compromised bureaucracy of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, are only adding to a grave threat by politicizing this issue. The planetary effects of provably increased radiation levels across much of the globe should be one area where we all can agree that a proper solution needs to be discussed immediately, regardless of party lines. We certainly cannot rely upon the very same agencies who have demonstrated that their idea of a solution is merely to raise the acceptable levels of radiation exposure.
The apparent threat of additional mega meltdowns requires all of us to consider this issue thoroughly. Some have proposed that individual states begin to assert their rights and properly decommission these leaky plants, or declare a State of Emergency that would put the authority back in its rightful place. It is a costly initiative to implement a shutdown, but the alternative could very easily result in irreparable regret for not having acted sooner.
Please offer your own comments and solutions for how we best can safeguard our planet against ongoing nuclear contamination.
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