Saturday, November 19, 2011
Fukushima and the safety of US nuke plants—special coverage in IEEE Spectrum
“The NRC has a list of 47 nuclear power reactors in the United States that do not meet fire protection regulations. The agency doesn't care. The NRC has a list of even more nuclear power reactors that have illegally leaked radioactively contaminated liquids. The agency has done nothing about it. The NRC cannot watch plant owners limbo beneath its safety bar until Americans die. The NRC must enforce regulations now to prevent that future disaster.” (IEEE Spectrum, November 2011, What Next for Nuclear)
by Larry Geller
Is Fukushima “so yesterday’s news?” We need to think again about that disaster, not yet resolved, and apply its lessons to our own aging nuclear plants—before one becomes tomorrow’s news.
IEEE Spectrum has evolved into the modern day “Scientific American.” Although issued by and for electrical engineers, it has too much fascinating, well-investigated news for us to keep it away from the general population. And the IEEE is very generous about sharing content on its website.
So hurry up and click over to the cover story from the November, 2011 issue, 24 Hours at Fukushima: A blow-by-blow account of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
In exclusive coverage, an article reviewing the use of robots at Fukushima relates information from blog posts since deleted.
The material also raises questions about whether Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant’s owner, is acting with adequate speed and providing enough robots and supporting resources for the robot teams. It's ironic that, although the robots are remote controlled, the operators still have to work close to the highly damaged and radioactive reactors. There is no communications infrastructure, combining wired and wireless capabilities, that would allow the operators to do their work from a safer location.
[IEEE Spectrum, Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog, 8/23/2011]
The pull-quote at the top of this post should give Americans reason to demand our government act now to protect our safety. Perhaps we need an Occupy movement to bang on the doors of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and wake them up.