Mother Nature vs. US Nuclear Power Plants

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan teeters on the brink of a nuclear meltdown following the 8.9 earthquake and the enormous tsunami. Meanwhile, many in the U.S. are pondering the state of our nuclear power plants if they ever faced a similar bout with mother nature. The U.S. is the home of 104 nuclear reactor sites, four of them along the west coast — famed for its fault line and earthquakes — one in Washington, two in California, and three in Arizona. 

Are U.S. nuclear power plants prepared to handle the extremities mother nature has to offer? To help us answer that is Michael Corradini, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of engineering physics, and is an expert on nuclear power and nuclear safety. Corradini ensures us that the reactors in the United States are absolutely safe.

Guests:

Michael Corradini

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [1]

Charles

I appreciated the decision to put Prof. Corradini on-air. He's clearly a knowledgable expert; probably the best nuclear engineering physics expert on the program today, or this week.

It is a pity that his interview was turned into something of a cross-examination, in rather stark contrast to the free-ranging and welcoming interview done with Simon Winchester, who is neither a nuclear power engineer nor a physicist. The difference, clearly, was that Professor Corradini is of the view that nuclear fears can be minimized, and writer Simon Winchester sees merit (and book sales) in raising fears.

Here is what we see in Japan, and before that, at Three Mile Island: nuclear power generation is not killing anyone, even as a result of an extraordinary natural catastrophe. And we would surely not question the existence of the business of natural gas production or home-heating oil refineries if, as a result of a once-in-300 years-earthquake, there were deaths or injuries at a refinery fire or a supply-line explosion. As has in fact happened in Japan.

In Japan, what we've see with this quake is less damage and human injury, by an order of magnitude, thanks to Japan's technologically advanced society and infrastructure, than in undeveloped Haiti or rural China. We should be praising Japan's new construction, its industry and, underlying all of that, its energy production industries, including nuclear power generation.

Finally; nice picture you've got accompanying this story. The stark photo of cooling towers; the ominous surreal-colored sky; the apocalyptic messaging through combinations of iconic themes. It is not a real photo, of course. It is a widly manipulated image. Much like the reporting on this "news" program.

Mar. 15 2011 12:36 PM

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