It appears virtually no American politician has lost any faith whatsoever in nuclear power. It also appears from numerous pro-nuclear power commentators that none of Japan’s problems could happen here (although their plants are based on U.S. designs and we have 54 virtually identical ones).
Please read the first “happy, happy, U.S. Number 1” story and then compare it with story number 2 and 3.
It gives an excellent picture of our American beltway political fantasy versus unpalatable facts.
Graham: U.S. nuclear regulations are ‘gold standard’ (via McClatchy)
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday that the Japanese crisis hasn’t shaken his confidence in nuclear power and praised President Barack Obama for moving ahead with federal loan guarantees to build new plants.
Graham said four new reactors planned for South Carolina and Georgia — two in each state — have different designs than the Fukishima Daiichi plant facing possible core meltdowns at as many as six reactors.
“These new designs are completely different than the Japanese reactors built in 1971,” Graham said. “The new designs do not depend on electrical pumps or mechanical systems to cool the reactors. The water going into the cooling system is gravity fed, so it’s not reliant on electricity to cool the reactor.”
House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn said the Japanese catastrophe will deliver “important lessons,” but he also pushed back against calls from some lawmakers to freeze all permitting of new nuclear plants in the United States.
“I have absolute confidence in the rigorous inspection and licensing regime in place at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Clyburn, of Columbia, said. “I remain convinced that a clean energy future will not be possible without an investment in a diverse set of energy sources, including a renewed commitment to nuclear energy.”
U.S. nuclear plants store more spent fuel than Japan’s (via McClatchy)
U.S. nuclear plants use the same sort of pools to cool spent nuclear-fuel rods as the ones now in danger of spewing radiation at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, only the U.S. pools hold much more nuclear material. That’s raising the question of whether more spent fuel should be taken out of the pools at U.S. power plants to reduce risks. Workers in Japan have been struggling for days to get water into the spent-fuel pools at the plant, so that the fuel rods won’t be exposed to the air, burst into flames and set off a large radiological release.
Experts are debating whether America’s spent fuel pools would fare as badly or worse in an accident, and whether they could be made safer.