Cons of nuclear energy | AspenTimes.com

Cons of nuclear energy

Dear Editor:

Utah’s state water engineer, Kent L. Jones, has certified that the proposed Green River nuclear plant has the water to run a nuclear plant. Jones’ decision is one more step toward Utah’s building a nuclear power plant in Green River, Utah, upwind from its neighboring states, such as Colorado. The Green River is the largest tributary running into the Colorado River below Moab, Utah.

Research at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, has found that the world’s 440 nuclear reactors now in operation run a risk of a core meltdown, as occurred with Chernobyl and Fukushima, every 10 to 20 years. The risks are 200 times higher than originally thought.

This research was published in 2012 by J. Lelieveld in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics titled “Global risk of radioactive fallout after major nuclear reactor accidents.” This calculation was done by dividing the operating hours of all the civilian number of nuclear plants in the world by the number of meltdowns that have occurred. The calculation considered only civilian nuclear plants, such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima. It did not take into account other nuclear meltdowns that occurred, such as the one in l959 at the Department of Energy’s Rocketdyne facility near Northridge, Calif.

Catastrophic nuclear accidents, therefore, are more likely to happen, and the researchers also determined that half of the cesium-137 from just one plant meltdown would be spread over an area of more than 1,000 kilometers around the nuclear reactor (about 621 miles). This shows that Colorado is likely to be contaminated by any nuclear accident that might occur from siting a plant in Green River, and it also demonstrates that nuclear risks spread many miles from the place of origin, as is now being demonstrated by Fukushima.

In light of these findings, the German study is suggesting that what is now appropriate is an international phasing- out of nuclear energy.

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Lou Mortensen

Glenwood Springs

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