Waste & Health: Nuclear Spent Fuel & Homeland Security
There are real concerns about what to do with the high level waste, stored in fuel pools at reactor sites around the country. The most vulnerable fuel pool is at Mark 1 and 2 reactors. The Vermont Yankee fuel pool is located outside of a containment, suspended several stories in the air with only a metal roof. The National Academy of Sciences recommended in 2005 that filled to capacity fuel pools should be emptied and the waste moved to on site dry-cask storage. The NAS found that Mark 1 and 2 reactor fuel pools were the most vulnerable to terrorism as well as accidents. It is important that the fuel is moved to protect local communities and provide a greater assurance of safety.
Download Presentation: The Case for Robust Storage
Safety and Security: Risks and Solutions
Nuclear reactors continue to pose unacceptable risks of catastrophic releases of vast quantities of radioactivity. In fact, the odds of accidents occurring are probably greater than they ever have been, as existing reactors are all approaching their original retirement ages, and the industry is proposing to build new reactors with untested designs. As the record of equipment failures at reactors like Vermont Yankee and Indian Point show, the combination of aging, outmoded equipment and profit-driven inattention to maintenance poses real and growing safety risks.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Nuclear power reactors are recognized as terrorist targets. Reactor sites contain more than 1,000 times the radiation released in one Hiroshima sized atomic bomb. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimated a single attack could bring about 100,000 deaths in the first year after the accident, an additional 600,000 immediate injuries and 40,000 long term cancers. The land and property destroyed would remain useless for decades. Significantly, homeowner's policies do not cover nuclear disasters. One nuclear reactor, successfully destroyed, would instill the kind of fear sought by terrorists.
The nuclear industry responds to the prospect of a terrorist attack as a public relations problem. It attempts to conceal the grim reality of increased vulnerability that reactor communities live with. Public relations will not solve the problem. The awful truth is that nuclear waste will always be vulnerable to terrorism. Reactors should be shuttered since as long as they operate they create more deadly waste, making reactor communities hostage to terrorist attacks and suffering.
Risks: Nuclear Spent Fuel & Homeland Security - The Case for Robust Storage
Solutions: Hardened On-Site Storage of Nuclear Waste
Solutions: Deterrents to Terrorist Attacks on Reactors