Skip to main content

Guest Post: Responding to Anti-Nuclear Fearmongering

Earlier today, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Phillip Lipscy, Kenji Kushida and and Trevor Incert entitled, "Protecting nuclear plants from nature's worst." Steve Kerekes, NEI's Director of Media Relations, left the following comment in response at WashingtonPost.com:
This is a pathetic case of opportunistic fear-mongering. To the extent that there really is public concern about U.S. nuclear plants’ ability to withstand extreme events, it centers around what MIGHT happen in fantastical scenarios. This week, here’s what actually DID happen: The largest Atlantic storm ever recorded slammed into the New Jersey shore, creating record human and property devastation, yet every nuclear energy facility in this super-storm’s path – including the oldest nuclear plant in operation – managed through it safely and expertly with no threat or damage. Every … single … one.

Does this mean we should stop looking for safer ways to operate? Of course not, and we never will. At this very moment, the public has the opportunity to comment to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on draft guidance that nuclear energy facilities would use to perform flooding hazard assessments as part of the response activities under way to the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This is being done with an eye toward providing another layer of protection above and beyond those that already exist and that make nuclear energy facilities exceedingly capable of withstanding extreme events of all kinds.

The authors – who somehow seem to think that natural events can affect only nuclear facilities and nothing else around them – are simply are wrong in claiming that facilities on the Eastern seaboard have “minimal protection” against inundation. The Salem/Hope Creek plant, for example, is designed for a category 4 hurricane arriving during high tide and a full moon. During Hurricane Sandy, the plant saw river levels consistent with some of the highest levels in its past (between 97 and 98 feet). This was still below the facility’s site grade and more than 20 feet below the water levels it is designed for.

As objective observers seek to better cope with devastating events like Hurricane Sandy, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll identify other priorities for action before they feel a need to better fortify the nuclear energy facilities that are our nation’s largest source of low-carbon electricity.
For the latest information on how the nuclear industry has been applying lessons learned from Fukushima since the March 2011 accident, please visit SafetyFirst.nei.org.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…