Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, this is the 30 year anniversary of North America's worst nuclear accident: Three Mile Island. True to form for nuke incidents, we've been kept in the dark concerning the actual scope of the disaster.
Robert, over at Blast Furnace Blog, had a piece on TMI and I left a bigass comment. I'm recycling that comment here.
We're only just learning about the cover-ups at TMI.
In 1983, Metropolitan Edison was busted for falsifying documents related to the accident and reactor safety. They pled guilty to six, and no contest to one, of the 11-count indictment.
(The) thousands of people who received the same dose as an x-ray included pregnant women and children under the age of five. Pregnant women, fetuses and young children are more easily damaged by small doses of radiation. Acceptable doses are based on "reference man" -- a 20-30 YO Caucasian male.
Until we have a permanent, safe, passively secure site for storing spent fuel, we sure as hell shouldn't be adding to the stockpile.
While (Robert's) assertion that CANDUs are safer than other types is arguable, AECL has abandoned the old heavy water CANDU and is promoting the ACR 1000, a EPR (Generation 3) type reactor. All 3 of the reactor designs shortlisted for Ontario are EPR types.
In the past couple weeks, the Oxford Research Group, UK think tank, released a study for the Institute for Public Policy Research. They warn that these third generation (EPR) reactors, like the three models on OPG's shortlist for Ontario and Bruce Power's shortlist for Nanticoke, pose proliferation risks that could lead to “nuclear anarchy.” The report notes that the new type of reactor produces high grade plutonium as a by-product. Plutonium is used to make the most efficient nuclear weapons.
It's been nearly 60 years since the "Atoms for Peace" campaign started promoting nuclear electricity generation. Back then, the scientists were heady from successes like the Manhattan Project. They saw the problem of spent fuels but were understandably confident the problem would be solved quickly. After all , the world's best minds were working on a solution. After 60 years, the best they came up with was Yucca Mountain and that has just been kiboshed by Obama after 20 years work and $11 Billion thrown down the drain.
Reprocessing doesn't work either. A reprocessing plant in West Valley, NY, just across Lake Erie must be decommissioned at taxpayer expense. The operator went broke. NY State taxpayers are looking at a $27 billion estimate to decontaminate the site. Remember though, nuke projects typically come in at least 50% over budget.
Why on earth would any sensible person even consider a technology that leaves behind waste that must be guarded by paramilitary swat teams for 250,000 years?
Here's picture from Bruce Power bragging about their security team. The stuff they're guarding will need to be guarded for more than 100,000 years. Who's going to be responsible for securing the waste we're creating today? What right do we have to burden future generations and civilizations with the toxic legacy of our wasteful lifestyles?