Official: 'We See the Possibility of a Meltdown'


rita's picture

Yet another reason, as if we needed any more reasons, to oppose the use of nuclear energy.

Suverans2's picture

G'day rita,

After talking with one of the engineers who worked at Rancho Seco I would have to agree with you.

"Only its position near the top of the corporate welfare rolls enables the nuclear industry to hang on." ~ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Government subsidies to the nuclear power industry over the past fifty years have been so large in proportion to the value of the energy produced that in some cases it would have cost taxpayers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and give them away, according to a February 2011 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists." ~ Nuclear Power Subsidies: The Gift that Keeps on Taking

ProtoGoth's picture

Clearly we must abandon a proven source of energy since we can't be sure whether or not nuclear reactors can withstand a FREAKIN' 8.9 earthquake! Those are just so common that it's not worth investing in nuclear any further.

Suverans2's picture

G'day ProtoGoth,

"..a proven source of energy...", young goth? You may want to research that statement. Here are a couple of examples; and as you can see from the first one, it doesn't have to be a "common" occurrence to effect an awful lot of people.

Explosion at Chernobyl

On April 26, 1986, a nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire at Chernobyl in Ukraine, spewing 200 times more radiation into the air than the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings combined. To date, Chernobyl is the worst accident in the history of nuclear power.

More than 600,000 workers called "liquidators"--without proper equipment or training--extinguished the fire and constructed a cement tomb around the reactor. In all, an estimated 17.5 million people suffered serious radiation exposure, 2.5 million of them children. The Ukraine Ministry of Health estimates that 125,000 people have died in Ukraine alone as a result of radiation effects; almost all liquidators are seriously ill or dead. Thyroid (throat) cancer alone is 79 times more prevalent since the accident.

A few million people--many too poor to move--still live in the contaminated zone and experience daily exposure to low-dose radiation, eating radioactive meat and crops, and drinking contaminated water and milk. Many people suffer from what has been called "Chernobyl AIDS"--they're chronically sick because their immune, or disease-fighting, systems can't ward off disease. (Source:

The Downside
* It’s expensive low carbon power ($0.9-$0.10/kWh delivered) compared to $0.025-$0.030 for end-use efficiency improvements; $0.06-$0.07 for wind; and $0.026-$0.04 for recovered heat co-generation)
* Long gestation/construction period and huge capital costs increase risk of market obsolescence and “stranded costs” (i.e., costs that cannot reasonably be recovered by continuing to operate the plant for its planned life)
* Subject to infrequent, but prolonged and costly planned and unplanned shutdowns (a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists documents 12 year-plus reactor outages since 1995, 11 of them “safety-related)
* Large “lumpy” increments of nuclear capacity require expensive overall power system excess capacity to ensure grid reliability
* Any nuclear power investment may at any moment become hostage to the conduct of the worst performer—or even the average performer on a bad day—in the event of a reactor accident or near-accident anywhere on the globe
* No licensed path (yet) to opening first longterm geologic repository for safely isolating spent fuel, and nuclear “renaissance” will require either additional expensive and hard-to-establish geologic repositories, or even more expensive and hazardous spent-fuel reprocessing
* Nuclear security concerns and risks are heightened in an age of transnational terrorism
* Acute proliferation concerns arise if advanced fuel cycles are used, or if uranium enrichment capability spreads to additional countries that are not already nuclear weapon states
* All stages of the nuclear fuel cycle involve potentially harmful, or in some cases disastrous environmental impacts (e.g., Chernobyl), requiring continuous and vigorous regulation, with significant financial penalties exacted for poor environmental and safety performance to ensure compliance
* Huge heat dissipation requirements demand either large evaporative cooling withdrawals and/or thermal discharges into already overburdened lakes and rivers, or massive and expensive fan-driven air-cooling towers
* Climate change in the direction of hotter, drier summers spells trouble for reactors that rely primarily on cheaper once-through or evaporative water cooling
* Offer little prospect of increasing “energy independence,” as the bulk of world uranium resources are located outside the United States (Source: