NRDC's Response to Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Lessons of the disaster can be used to strengthen the regulation of nuclear power generation in the U.S. and worldwide
In March 2011, the world was witness to the grave risks of nuclear fallout posed by nuclear power. The severe accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, involving a simultaneous loss of control over six nuclear units, demonstrates how little we still know about anticipating and mitigating those risks. Since the beginning of the disaster, NRDC has actively engaged with policymakers and the public to explain the causes of the meltdowns and how such incidents can be avoided in the future.
Following the accident, President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of nuclear reactor safety in the United States. NRDC further calls for an independent inquiry into key safety issues, including nuclear reactor siting, regulation, and licensing, for the 104 operating nuclear power plants in the U.S. and any new plants that may be built. Current practices need to be thoroughly examined and reconsidered in light of the serious events at Fukushima and our more modern understanding of both man-made and natural threats to these facilities.
While the long-term and full extent of the damage from Fukushima remains unknown, it is already clear that clinging to the status quo offers inadequate insurance against the occurrence of such a catastrophic nuclear event in the U.S. This is a critical chance to move the nation to a safer energy future – to phase out reliance on older nuclear technology with known design weaknesses, to responsibly manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel, and to reassess emergency preparedness requirements for all operating and planned nuclear power reactors in the United States.
last revised 3/8/2012
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