DeVore touts nuclear power as Japan shuts down its plants

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore has been pushing the idea of building more nuclear power throughout the year. Here is a typical quote, “Modern nuclear power will allow us to add jobs while improving the environment. There are really no other options capable of generating the large amounts of power we need,” DeVore said.

Reuters reported on July 11, that “DeVore will try to put an initiative on the ballots in June 2008 for Californians to decide whether the state should allow construction of nuclear power plants, his office said on Wednesday.”

You have to wonder if the guy ever reads the paper or watches the news on T.V.

The world’s largest nuclear generating station – the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear complex, in Japan, was damaged in a strong earthquake this Monday. Here are just a few excerpts I found in online news accounts:

  • Tokyo Electric spokesman Akitsuka Kobayashi said today that the water was actually 50% more radioactive than they had initially calculated. The company apologized on its website for the error. (USA Today)
  • A series of missteps has tainted the nuclear industry in Japan. Last year, a judge shut down Japan’s second-biggest nuclear plant, saying it was not prepared to withstand an earthquake. (USA Today)
  • The company also said that tremors had tipped over 400 barrels of radioactive waste, not 100 as it reported Tuesday, and that the lids had opened on 40 of those barrels. (Globe and Mail)
  • Earthquake damage to the world’s biggest nuclear power station has thrown Japan’s nuclear industry into crisis as seismologists recommended that up to a third of the country’s 55 atomic power stations be closed for inspection. (The Australian)
  • Seismologists revealed yesterday that the Kashiwazaki nuclear power station stands directly above an active earthquake fault-line, which provoked an atomic spill this week. (The Australian)

The L.A. Times published a lengthy list of nuclear accidents that have previously occurred in Japan, including:

  • Aug. 9, 2004: Five workers at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in western Japan are killed and six are injured after a corroded pipe ruptured and sprayed plant workers with boiling water and steam.
  • September 1999: Two workers are killed in a radiation leak at a fuel-reprocessing plant in Tokaimura when they try to save time by mixing excessive amounts of uranium in buckets instead of using special mechanized tanks. Hundreds are exposed to radiation, and thousands of residents evacuate. The government assigned the accident a level 4 rating on the International Nuclear Event Scale ranging from 1 to 7.
  • March 1997: At least 37 workers are exposed to low doses of radiation at a March 11 fire and explosion at a nuclear reprocessing plant operated by Donen in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo.

Okay, so you might say, what do the nuclear plant problems have to do with us? For one thing, California is FULL of earthquake faults. For another, the plant in San Onofre has had a lot of problems, many of them recent. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting the inspection following the June 20 manual reactor shutdown of one of two units at the plant due to a failed pipe connection in a compressed air system.” (Examiner)

Many experts are concerned. Here are just a few news items to consider:

  • Critics such as the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Ralph Cavanagh, who has staunchly defended the California moratorium, said talk of a nuclear revival is “as predictable as the spring.” He said there are still concerns about waste disposal, the lingering threat of nuclear proliferation and the high costs of building plants. (Contra Costa Times)

  • Nuclear power is hardly the safe panacea its supporters claim it to be,

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.