Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pitfalls of nuclear power

Book titled 'Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer' by Dr Helen Caldicott is summarised at this web site

Dr. Caldicott is President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. She has become "perhaps the world's leading advocate for the abolition of a technology too unsafe to be tolerated any longer."

Human error gets several mentions. See quotes below

"Many experts agree it's only a matter of when and where, not if, a devastating meltdown will occur in one or more of the 438 nuclear power plants located in 33 countries worldwide. It may result from human error, a plant owner's unwise or unsafe attempt to minimize operating costs, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) imprudent accession to industry pressure to allow 20 year operating extensions to plants designed to run only for 40 years, the effects of a tsunami or high enough magnitude earthquake in areas vulnerable to them or from a deliberate attack or internal sabotage."

"Every US power plant is moving into the old-age cycle" because no new ones have been built here since the TMI accident in Pennsylvania in 1979. As a result, the number of near-misses and near-meltdowns has increased mostly resulting from human error, aging equipment and inadequate maintenance and regulatory oversight. With the dangers so high and inevitable and the supposed benefits totally without merit, why would the leaders and residents of any community ever be willing to allow the construction or operation of a nuclear power plant near enough to them to destroy their lives should a catastrophic nuclear event happen as it surely will potentially at any of the world's nuclear plants.

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