Spinning (and Unspinning) Nuclear Power Worldwide

"The nuclear industry took steps ... to head off a growing public relations -- if not health -- problem, promising to closely monitor leaks of slightly radioactive groundwater at power plants," reports AP. "Water containing tritium has been released into groundwater at half a dozen plants over the past decade," including in Illinois, Arizona and New York. The industry group Nuclear Energy Institute is launching "a voluntary program to closely monitor such leaks." A recent AlterNet article describes the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, an industry / Bush administration plan to "dramatically expand nuclear energy production at home, encourage new nuclear generation abroad and import other countries' spent fuel for reprocessing in the United States." And a new website by our European colleagues at SpinWatch, called Nuclear Spin, tracks "key pro-nuclear advocates in the UK," where the government's energy review was criticized as window dressing for plans to expand nuclear power.


From [http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/local/14607606.htm the Tribune] of San Luis Obispo, California (emphasis added):

Under the new industry guidelines, nuclear plants must disclose tritium leaks that stay confined to the power plant site just as they would leaks that pollute public water sources. Plants also must report such leaks to local health authorities within a few days of the release.

The new industry guidelines exceed rules established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and are intended to increase public confidence in nuclear power, said Ralph Andersen, chief health physicist with the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry's trade association.

"Even in the instances where inadvertent radiological releases in groundwater occur at levels that do not require formal reporting, we should inform local and state leaders and the public as a matter of openness and transparency," Andersen said.

The talk about nuclear power as a renewable energy source is troublesome. There have been countless disasters that have proven the utlitmate dangers of this technology. Besides that, we still have no safe way to dispose of radioactive waste. Therefore it should be clear that nuclear energy is no solution to the peak oil problem. We should be redirecting nuclear funding to truly safer and renewable energy sources such as geothermal power, solar power, tidal power or wind power. Imagine the amount of progress that could be made using those financial resources.