In 2009, a review of the safety of the Fukushima Daiichai nuclear plant was conducted. According to David Nakamura and Chico Harlan of The Washington Post, one official involved with Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), which had been tasked to study the integrity and safety precautions in place at 19 facilities was “rebuffed” by a Tepco official when he suggested the facility might not withstand a tsunami. Tepco’s response was all too typically corporate. After all, acknowledging this risk might have meant spending extra money to build a higher wall.
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Had the panel paid closer attention to one of its members, the tragedy might have been prevented.
Nakumara and Harlan go on to report:
‘The diesels were in a very low area,” said Ken Brockman, former director of nuclear installation safety at the U.N.-backed International Atomic Energy Agency. ‘That would make them very susceptible to a tsunami or even an internal flooding event.”
The U.S. has 104 nuclear plants. Twenty-three models of the same older version GE nuclear facility models are in operation in the U.S., including along coastlines.
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Many contend that more should be done to protect us from this sort of tragedy happening here. But who will do it? Do we trust corporations to do the right thing? Or will they do as they often do, and do the cheaper thing?
Rather than wait and see, we should halt our expansion of nuclear power, stop relicensing aging reactors and turn to sources of energy — such as wind and solar — that don’t threaten annihilation if things go awry.