Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

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Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake
A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.
Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.
The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.
Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.
A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”
That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.
New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.
Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.
That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).
It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.
Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.
Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.
His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.
Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.
These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.
Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.
You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.
In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.
The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.
Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?
“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”
He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.
“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.
He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.
“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.
What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.
That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.
Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.
“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”
Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.
He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.
He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).
“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”
Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Before The BIG Leak At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)


Highly radioactive leak found at N.Y. nuclear plant
CBS/AP
Feb 7, 2016 7:25 AM EST
BUCHANAN, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation after an apparent overflow at the Indian Point nuclear power plant spilled highly radioactive water into an underground monitoring well, but nuclear regulators said the public isn’t at risk.
Officials at Indian Point in Buchanan reported on Friday that water contaminated by tritium leaked into the groundwater under the facility.
The contamination has remained contained to the site, said Cuomo, who ordered the state’s environmental conservation and health departments to investigate.
“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat,” Cuomo said Saturday in a statement, according to CBS New York. “This latest failure at Indian Point is unacceptable and I have directed Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to fully investigate this incident and employ all available measures, including working with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, cause and potential impacts to the environment and public health.”
The leak occurred after a drain overflowed during a maintenance exercise while workers were transferring water, which has high levels of radioactive contamination, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Normally, a sump pump would take the water and filter it into another treatment system, but the pump apparently was out of service, Sheehan said. After the drain overflowed, the water seeped out of the building into the groundwater.
It was unclear how much water spilled, but samples showed the water had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter, a 65,000 percent increase from the average at the plant, Cuomo said. The levels are the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point, and the normal number is about 12,300 picocuries per liter, Cuomo said.
Contaminated groundwater would likely slowly make its way to the Hudson River, Sheehan said, but research has shown that water usually ends up in the middle of the river and is so diluted that the levels of radioactivity are nearly undetectable.
“We don’t believe there’s any concern for members of the public,” Sheehan said. “First of all, this water’s not going anywhere immediately — and, again, because of the dilution factor, you wouldn’t even be able to detect it were you to take a direct sample.”
A spokesman for Entergy Corp., the New Orleans-based company that operates Indian Point, said the overflow was “likely the cause of the elevated tritium levels.”
“While this instance of tritium in the ground is really not in accordance with our standards, there really is no health or public safety consequence,” spokesman Jerry Nappi said.
In a statement, Entergy also said, “While the effect of these elevated values is less than one-tenth of one percent of federal reporting guidelines, Entergy made voluntary notification to the NRC, state agencies and key stakeholders.”
There has been a history of groundwater contamination at Indian Point. A federal oversight agency issued a report after about 100,000 gallons of tritium-tainted water entered the groundwater supply in 2009, and elevated levels of tritium also were found in two monitoring wells at the plant in 2014. Officials said then the contamination likely stemmed from an earlier maintenance shutdown.

Too Late To Prevent The Spill: The Sixth Seal

Indian-Point-Power-Plant

WATCH: ‘The beginning of the end of NY’s nuclear power?’

Has the endgame begun for Indian Point? Sure looks that way.
Riverkeeper is fighting on every legal front to stop this dangerous, aging plant from operating, and there’s no doubt we are closing in.
Riverkeeper has raised awareness about the hazards posed by this plant – including the 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste that are stored onsite, on the banks of the Hudson River, with no solution in sight. Our commissioning of reports by Synapse Energy Economics helped document the availability of replacement power once the facility is decommissioned. And our attorneys wrapped up arguments that will deny Entergy, the plant’s owner, a means to renew the licenses it needs to continue operating.
Even Entergy seems to have gotten the memo. The plant’s owners are saying openly that it’s time to reach a deal with New York State about the the plant’s closure: An industry publication quotes CEO Leo Denault that Entergy “would be willing to strike a ‘constructive’ agreement with New York officials on early closure of the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant, provided that Entergy received ‘certainty’ and proper compensation for near-term operation … to meet grid reliability and environmental needs while the state pursues a major revamp of its electricity system.”
The state has already signaled its confidence that New York can do without Indian Point’s power. The state Public Service Commission ruled in November 2013 that New York can count on other sources of safe, reliable, affordable energy.
The transformation is already happening, with energy supplies and transmission lines that are in some cases built, in other cases breaking ground. The future is arriving sooner, perhaps, than Entergy thought it would.

– See more at: http://www.riverkeeper.org/blog/watchdog/watch-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-nys-nuclear-power/#sthash.fJtko3g0.dpuf

Too Late To Prevent The Spill: The Sixth Seal Will Occur

WATCH: ‘The beginning of the end of NY’s nuclear power?’

Indian-Point-Power-Plant

Has the endgame begun for Indian Point? Sure looks that way.
Riverkeeper is fighting on every legal front to stop this dangerous, aging plant from operating, and there’s no doubt we are closing in.
Riverkeeper has raised awareness about the hazards posed by this plant – including the 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste that are stored onsite, on the banks of the Hudson River, with no solution in sight. Our commissioning of reports by Synapse Energy Economics helped document the availability of replacement power once the facility is decommissioned. And our attorneys wrapped up arguments that will deny Entergy, the plant’s owner, a means to renew the licenses it needs to continue operating.
Even Entergy seems to have gotten the memo. The plant’s owners are saying openly that it’s time to reach a deal with New York State about the the plant’s closure: An industry publication quotes CEO Leo Denault that Entergy “would be willing to strike a ‘constructive’ agreement with New York officials on early closure of the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant, provided that Entergy received ‘certainty’ and proper compensation for near-term operation … to meet grid reliability and environmental needs while the state pursues a major revamp of its electricity system.”
The state has already signaled its confidence that New York can do without Indian Point’s power. The state Public Service Commission ruled in November 2013 that New York can count on other sources of safe, reliable, affordable energy.
The transformation is already happening, with energy supplies and transmission lines that are in some cases built, in other cases breaking ground. The future is arriving sooner, perhaps, than Entergy thought it would.

– See more at: http://www.riverkeeper.org/blog/watchdog/watch-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-nys-nuclear-power/#sthash.fJtko3g0.dpuf

Too Late To Prevent The Spill: The Sixth Seal

Indian-Point-Power-Plant

WATCH: ‘The beginning of the end of NY’s nuclear power?’

Has the endgame begun for Indian Point? Sure looks that way.
Riverkeeper is fighting on every legal front to stop this dangerous, aging plant from operating, and there’s no doubt we are closing in.
Riverkeeper has raised awareness about the hazards posed by this plant – including the 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste that are stored onsite, on the banks of the Hudson River, with no solution in sight. Our commissioning of reports by Synapse Energy Economics helped document the availability of replacement power once the facility is decommissioned. And our attorneys wrapped up arguments that will deny Entergy, the plant’s owner, a means to renew the licenses it needs to continue operating.
Even Entergy seems to have gotten the memo. The plant’s owners are saying openly that it’s time to reach a deal with New York State about the the plant’s closure: An industry publication quotes CEO Leo Denault that Entergy “would be willing to strike a ‘constructive’ agreement with New York officials on early closure of the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant, provided that Entergy received ‘certainty’ and proper compensation for near-term operation … to meet grid reliability and environmental needs while the state pursues a major revamp of its electricity system.”
The state has already signaled its confidence that New York can do without Indian Point’s power. The state Public Service Commission ruled in November 2013 that New York can count on other sources of safe, reliable, affordable energy.
The transformation is already happening, with energy supplies and transmission lines that are in some cases built, in other cases breaking ground. The future is arriving sooner, perhaps, than Entergy thought it would.

– See more at: http://www.riverkeeper.org/blog/watchdog/watch-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-nys-nuclear-power/#sthash.fJtko3g0.dpuf

The Great Lie Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

LETTER: Indian Point nuclear power plant is ‘unequivocally safe’

The Indian Point nuclear power plant
The Indian Point nuclear power plant File photo by Tony Adamis
Dear Editor:
A culture of unfailing vigilance; a team devoted to safety first and foremost; and a plant operator that empowers its professionals to act to prevent the slightest risk to the public.
For all of us who live and work in the Hudson Valley, these are the virtues proven by the recent voluntary shutdown of Indian Point’s Unit 2 (“Indian Point 2 back online after water pump fixed,” June 30, 2017) in response to a water pump malfunction. Thanks to the team’s immediate action, the water pump was repaired and the plant went back online promptly.
It’s no surprise that Indian Point has consistently received the highest safety ratings from Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the most demanding such body in the world. And the plant receives those ratings while remaining up and running 24/7, nearly every day of the year, providing abundant and affordable baseload electricity while emitting no carbon or other pollutants into our environment.
What the team at Indian Point does is the definition of reliable. The plant is categorically and unequivocally safe, and the integrity of its culture and its professionals assures that we can trust it to stay that way.
Rob DiFrancesco, Executive Director
New York Affordable
Reliable Electricity Alliance
New York City

America’s Fukushima Shuts Down Again (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point 2 Shut Down Over Water Pump Issue

In New York, one of Indian Point’s nuclear power plants was shut down Monday following an issue with a pump on the non-nuclear side.
Control room operators shut down Buchanan-based Indian Point’s Unit 2 following a problem with the speed control system on one of the unit’s two main feedwater pumps. These pumps distribute water to the plant’s four steam generators to be reheated to make the steam required to generate electricity. This comes as Indian Point 3 returned to power June 22 after being taken offline June 12 to replace two water seals that sit between the lid of the reactor and the reactor vessel. In both cases, there was no release of radioactivity and no threat to the safety of workers or the public.

New York’s Fukushima Back in Service

 
Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant Returns to Service
Jerry Nappi
06/22/2017
Buchanan – Indian Point’s Unit 3 nuclear power plant returned to service Thursday, generating electricity. Control room operators removed the plant from service on June 12 for a planned maintenance shutdown to replace two water seals that sit between the lid of the reactor and the reactor vessel. The seals were replaced prior to returning the plant to service.
Indian Point Unit 2 continues to operate at full power and has been online for 351 continuous days.
Indian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating nuclear power plants, Unit 2 and Unit 3, which generate approximately 2000 megawatts of electricity for homes, business and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and nearly 13,000 employees.

Another Leak At Indian Point (Revelation 6:12)

Entergy Corporation says the Unit 3 power plant 30 miles north of New York City will be shut down Sunday night to replace two water seals between the lid of the reactor and the reactor vessel.
The company says operators have been monitoring slight water leakage for several weeks, but there was no threat of radiation release or danger to public or worker safety.
Unit 3 returned to service May 18 after a $100 million maintenance and refueling project. Unit 2 is currently operating at full power.
Indian Point has been on the shores of the Hudson River in Buchanan, New York since 1962. It’s just 25 miles from New York City.
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a longtime opponent of Indian Point, and Entergy reached a deal to shut down Indian Point entirely by April 2021.

41.262038 -73.938194

Missing The Indian Point Nuclear Disaster (Revelation 6:12)

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Nuclear spent fuel fire could force millions of people to relocate — ScienceDaily

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from the occurrence of a catastrophic nuclear-waste fire at any one of dozens of reactor sites around the country, according to an article in the May 26 issue of Science magazine. Fallout from such a fire could be considerably larger than the radioactive emissions from the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan.

Published by researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists, the article argues that NRC inaction leaves the public at high risk from fires in spent-nuclear-fuel cooling pools at reactor sites. The pools — water-filled basins that store and cool used radioactive fuel rods — are so densely packed with nuclear waste that a fire could release enough radioactive material to contaminate an area twice the size of New Jersey. On average, radioactivity from such an accident could force approximately 8 million people to relocate and result in $2 trillion in damages.
These catastrophic consequences, which could be triggered by a large earthquake or a terrorist attack, could be largely avoided by regulatory measures that the NRC refuses to implement. Using a biased regulatory analysis, the agency excluded the possibility of an act of terrorism as well as the potential for damage from a fire beyond 50 miles of a plant. Failing to account for these and other factors led the NRC to significantly underestimate the destruction such a disaster could cause.
“The NRC has been pressured by the nuclear industry, directly and through Congress, to low-ball the potential consequences of a fire because of concerns that increased costs could result in shutting down more nuclear power plants,” said paper co-author Frank von Hippel, a senior research physicist at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security (SGS), based at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Unfortunately, if there is no public outcry about this dangerous situation, the NRC will continue to bend to the industry’s wishes.”
Von Hippel’s co-authors are Michael Schoeppner, a former postdoctoral researcher at Princeton’s SGS, and Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Spent-fuel pools were brought into the spotlight following the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, disabling the electrical systems necessary for cooling the reactor cores. This led to core meltdowns at three of the six reactors at the facility, hydrogen explosions, and a release of radioactive material.
“The Fukushima accident could have been a hundred times worse had there been a loss of the water covering the spent fuel in pools associated with each reactor,” von Hippel said. “That almost happened at Fukushima in Unit 4.”
In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the NRC considered proposals for new safety requirements at U.S. plants. One was a measure prohibiting plant owners from densely packing spent-fuel pools, requiring them to expedite transfer of all spent fuel that has cooled in pools for at least five years to dry storage casks, which are inherently safer. Densely packed pools are highly vulnerable to catching fire and releasing huge amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere.
The NRC analysis found that a fire in a spent-fuel pool at an average nuclear reactor site would cause $125 billion in damages, while expedited transfer of spent fuel to dry casks could reduce radioactive releases from pool fires by 99 percent. However, the agency decided the possibility of such a fire is so unlikely that it could not justify requiring plant owners to pay the estimated cost of $50 million per pool.
The NRC cost-benefit analysis assumed there would be no consequences from radioactive contamination beyond 50 miles from a fire. It also assumed that all contaminated areas could be effectively cleaned up within a year. Both of these assumptions are inconsistent with experience after the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.
In two previous articles, von Hippel and Schoeppner released figures that correct for these and other errors and omissions. They found that millions of residents in surrounding communities would have to relocate for years, resulting in total damages of $2 trillion — nearly 20 times the NRC’s result. Considering the nuclear industry is only legally liable for $13.6 billion, thanks to the Price Anderson Act of 1957, U.S. taxpayers would have to cover the remaining costs.
The authors point out that if the NRC does not take action to reduce this danger, Congress has the authority to fix the problem. Moreover, the authors suggest that states that provide subsidies to uneconomical nuclear reactors within their borders could also play a constructive role by making those subsidies available only for plants that agreed to carry out expedited transfer of spent fuel.
“In far too many instances, the NRC has used flawed analysis to justify inaction, leaving millions of Americans at risk of a radiological release that could contaminate their homes and destroy their livelihoods,” said Lyman. “It is time for the NRC to employ sound science and common-sense policy judgments in its decision-making process.”