Shortlink: http://wp.me/p4njL-4O The only reason my family survived the 20th Century is by escaping the pogroms, then escaping the nazis. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT THINK LIKE MY FAMILY HAS, and they died horribly. If you have loved ones in Asia, they need to be ready in case they need to leave, and need to be in readiness alert. If this gets bigger than Chernobyl, you'll want to put as much distance as possible between Japan and your family.
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“Serious Danger of a Full Core Meltdown”: Update on Japan’s Nuclear Catastrophe
(…)JUAN GONZALEZ: Karl Grossman, you have been following now for decades the claims of the industry, the politicians, about nuclear energy, both in the United States and around the world. Your assessment of what has happened here and what it will mean in terms of nuclear power in the future?
KARL GROSSMAN: (emphasis mine, FP) What has happened here is an enormous nuclear power tragedy, and we’re on the cusp, I fear, of an even more horrific tragedy, with a loss of cool down accident—and we have multiple loss of cool down accidents underway—and, importantly, breach of containment. And as Paul said, that’s quite possible now. Just the most enormous disaster, except for a loss of water accident in a spent fuel pool, where you have tons upon tons of nuclear poisons—no containment, except for some corrugated steel ceiling. That stuff gets out in a loss of water accident, and it would get out explosively, because of the fuel rods being made of zirconium. And I could explain that. It will just burst into the environment, become airborne, affect not only Japan but much of the world.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And Karl, in the reporting that you’ve done in the past on the battles over the siting of nuclear plants in the United States, because, obviously, all of the reports are saying, “Well, that’s all happening in Japan; here in the United States, we’re in a much better situation with our plants.” But one of the things that you uncovered was an assessment that the government did back in the 1980s of the potential—the potential deaths and injuries that might occur from a reactor accident and a breach of containment in the United States. Could you talk about that memo?
KARL GROSSMAN: Yeah. They have known the consequences all along. This is a report—it’s called “Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences 2″—done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not Greenpeace, and it projects peak early fatalities, peak injuries, peak cancer deaths, scale cost in billions in terms of property damage, and a large hunk of the earth being rendered uninhabitable for millennia. And just, for example, for the Indian Point 3 nuclear plant, which is about 35 miles from where we sit now in New York, 50,000 peak early fatalities; 167,000 peak early injuries; cancer deaths, 14,000; scale cost of billions, they say $314 billion—in 1980s dollars, we’re talking about a trillion.
As to the likelihood of a severe core melt accident, in 1985 the NRC acknowledged that, over a 20-year period, the likelihood of a severe core melt accident to be basically 50/50 among the 100 nuclear power plants—there’s 104 now—in the United States. They’ve known all along here in this country that disaster could come, and there’s a good likelihood of it coming, and they’ve known the consequences.
JUAN GONZALEZ: You’re saying that the NRC itself estimated a 50/50 chance of a meltdown in our plants here within 20 years?
KARL GROSSMAN: Over a 20-year period. That was formal testimony provided to a watchdog committee in Congress chaired by Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, when he asked the question, “What does the NRC and its staff believe the likelihood to be of a severe core meltdown?” So, you know, when you hear these lines about, “Oh, the chances of a severe core meltdown, infinitesimal,” and if there is, like you’re hearing these reports out of Japan, an accident, “Oh, just some minor effects among the population”—not at all.