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Jun-10-2011 20:14printcomments

Reactor Reax

Weekly roundup of the latest nuclear power and weapons articles from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Atomic tree

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Myriad questions surrounding the future existence of nuclear power and human life are growing exponentially in this world.

While we in no way downplay the current and future tragedy in Japan based on the catastrophic disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Facility, we are learning that the problems that caused it may just be the tip of the iceberg.

While some call for an end to the inherent dangers of nuclear power, others seek more clarity and transparency and still others seem content with simply raising the levels of safety associated with radioactivity-based energy in the world.

We also learn that the trickle down effects of nuclear disaster can be very effective, and that the US Clean Energy Standard has itself become a casualty of nuclear meltdown, Environmental Finance reported 9 June 2011 that, "The nuclear disaster in Japan has killed the chances for a US clean energy standard (CES), according to a top Congressional staffer." Those attending the SNL Power Policy Forum in New York on Tuesday learned this news.

"Fukushima pretty well killed the CES. Its chances were very, very slim beforehand, but without nuclear to supply the baseload, we just cannot get there'." is glad to be able to bring this valuable information to our readers who have many questions about both the U.S. and world military industrial complex.

United States should re-evaluate nuclear power, (op-ed), The (Jonesboro, TN) Herald & Tribune, June 7, 2011. "Opinion polls in March and April, show it is opposed by a large majority of the American people. The Obama administration, however, is seeking an additional $36 billion for it, for nuclear-energy expansion and support. Like other industrial nations that are re-evaluating nuclear power, one might have hoped that the United States, under President Obama, would do the same."

Markey says NRC should create nuclear moratorium, The (Fall River, MA) Herald-News, June 6, 2011. "In a press release, Markey's office said that since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Congressman has written to the NRC and President Obama for information on the implications for U.S. reactors. In addition, Markey recently introduced legislation, The Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act of 2011, to make changes by imposing a moratorium on all new nuclear reactor licenses or license extensions until new safety requirements — that reflect the lessons learned from the Fukushima reactor meltdowns — are in place."

New US Nuclear Plants' Visibility Turn on Gas Prices, Dow Jones Market Talk, June 9, 2011. "The economic viability of building a new nuclear-power plant in the US "will depend mostly on the future of gas," says Jefferies' Paul Fremont. The sharp drop in natural gas prices seen in recent years because of new shale supplies has pressured wholesale electricity prices, and gas-fired plants have become the low-cost alternative to building new generation. It costs about $4,500-6,350/kilowatt to build a new nuclear plant, based on recent estimates from power producers NRG and Southern (SO), versus $33.50 for a combined-cycle gas plant based on natural-gas prices at $4.80/MMBtu. Such disparity makes it difficult to justify building new nuclear."

America's increasingly oblivious energy policy, (op-ed by David Sirota, author), Slate, June 10, 2011. "Laugh me off as the idealistic son of a physician (which I am), but I still thought the doctor's ethos of "first do no harm" was a notion we could all agree on. Even in this hyper-polarized Era of the Screaming Red-Faced Partisan, I thought we would witness the recent Fukushima reactor meltdown or footage of Americans setting their tap water on fire and at least agree to stop pursuing energy policies that we know endanger our health and safety -- if not out of altruism, then out of self-interest."

Nuclear power is still too costly and too risky, (op-ed by Dr. Maureen McCue, a University of Iowa faculty member and coordinator for Physicians for Social Responsibility), Des Moines Register, June 10, 2011. "As long as the world continues to use nuclear power, we need experts like Heising to ensure the safest possible operation of the existing power plants and safeguard nuclear waste. But with all the cost, risk, and other problems of nuclear power, Iowa's future is best served by investing limited resources in safe, proven, growing options like energy efficiency and renewable energy."

US clean energy target: casualty of nuclear meltdown, Environmental Finance, June 9, 2011. "The nuclear disaster in Japan has killed the chances for a US clean energy standard (CES), according to a top Congressional staffer. 'Right now there is no plausible political path forward," Campbell told attendees of the SNL Power Policy Forum in New York on Tuesday. "Fukushima pretty well killed the CES. Its chances were very, very slim beforehand, but without nuclear to supply the baseload, we just cannot get there'."

Neb. nuclear plant briefly loses pumps that cool spent fuel during suspected electrical blaze, Washington Post, June 8, 2011. "A small fire briefly knocked out the cooling system for used fuel at a nuclear power plant in Nebraska, but temperatures never exceeded safe levels and power was quickly restored, federal officials said Wednesday. The pumps are a key piece of safety equipment because if pumping systems fail for several days and are not fixed, cooling water could boil away and eventually cause radioactive releases."

"Reactor Reax" is featured on, a Web site maintained by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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