Home > Environment, Nuclear Energy > Comparing Notes: 500,000 Japanese in Shelters

Comparing Notes: 500,000 Japanese in Shelters

March 18, 2011


Let’s talk numbers. 500,000 Japanese are in shelters today barely surviving. Now let’s talk reality. Food is scarce. Medicine scarce or non-existent. Many of their loved ones and friends dead, missing or injured. People are traumatized. Their lives ruined. Homes gone. Businesses gone. State of emergency exists due to dangerous radiation levels from severely damaged nearby nuclear plant is adding insult to injury. This is their reality for an indefinite period of time. This could happen right here in California or the Midwestern United States where active earthquake zones exist and nuclear power plants are near millions of residents.

While reading this post think about what would happen in your area if a major earthquake hit and/or a nuclear crisis ensued due to a power failure. What is your plan? Where would you go? What is the civil defense plan? Is there is a civil defense plan, or are we still adhering to former VP Cheney’s ridiculous plan of using duct tape to seal our homes from radiation from terrorist dirty bombs? When are Americans going to take this threat seriously and demand nuclear power plants be shut down?

Think about it, please.

BTW. The California Department of Education reports that almost 75% of California’s public school buildings are more than 25 years old. Are they earthquake proof? Will they protect our children? Could they be used as emergency shelters?

During the briefing in committee yesterday, California Senator Boxer (D) demanded repeatedly of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission witnesses how many U.S. nuclear power plants are located on or near earthquake faults.

Neither Chairman Jaczko nor Bill Borchardt, NRC’s executive director for operations, could provide an answer.

Alternet reports: Citing the nuclear emergency in Japan, California’s two U.S. Senators called on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to perform a thorough inspection to evaluate the safety and emergency preparedness of the state’s two nuclear power plants, both located on the Pacific Ocean and near earthquake faults.

Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dr. Gregory Jaczko asking for evaluations of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente and the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant near San Luis Obispo.

The senators, both Democrats, asked the NRC to respond to questions about plant design and operations, type of reactor, and preparedness to withstand an earthquake or tsunami, in view of Japan’s current nuclear plant crisis following Friday’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

The San Onofre power plant is located 45 miles southeast of the city of Long Beach, California, while the Diablo Canyon power plant is located 12 miles west southwest of the town of San Luis Obispo.

“Roughly 424,000 live within 50 miles of the Diablo Canyon and 7.4 million live within 50 miles of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station,” the senators wrote. “Although many safety measures have been taken to address potential hazards associated with these facilities, we need to ensure that the risk is fully evaluated.”

As workers at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant struggle to keep the fuel rods covered with water even without power to the pumping systems, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission today advised U.S. residents within 50 miles of the Fukushima reactors to evacuate.

In the United States, the evacuation radius around nuclear power plants is only 10 miles, but the NRC said in its advisory, “Under the guidelines for public safety that would be used in the United States under similar circumstances, the NRC believes it is appropriate for U.S. residents within 50 miles of the Fukushima reactors to evacuate.”

At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee briefing today on what Japan’s nuclear emergency means for nuclear power plants in the United States, and again in the letter to Chairman Jaczko, Senator Boxer brought up a 2008 California Energy Commission report that presented “very clear warnings of potential threats at both of these plants.”

“This report found that the San Onofre plant could experience ‘larger and more frequent earthquakes’ than the maximum 7.0 magnitude earthquake predicted when the plant was designed,” she said.

2008 Report Ignored

There is an additional fault near the Diablo Canyon plant that should be taken into consideration as part of NRC’s relicensing process, the 2008 California Energy Commission report found.

“It is our understanding,” wrote the senators, “that the NRC has not taken action to address these warnings in the report.”

In addition, said Boxer in the briefing today, “It is our understanding is that NRC has not taken this report into account and has done nothing about this report.

“We want to know if the NRC will address all of the threats, including seismic threats, described in the 2008 report at these facilities,” the senators wrote.

Sourced from Environment News Service via Alternet
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