Bloomberg: Fukushima a global disaster with huge environmental consequences… like all nuclear catastrophes — UC Berkeley Nuclear Expert: There’s ‘clear and obvious’ consequences from radiation release… citizens should be prepared… ‘cold truth’ is accidents will always occur

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
By Paul Martin
April 9th, 2014

Bloomberg, Apr. 4, 2014: World Needs to Get Ready for the Next Nuclear Plant Accident– Three major atomic accidents in 35 years are forcing the world’s nuclear industry to stop imagining it can prevent more catastrophes and to focus instead on how to contain them. […] scientists warn the next nuclear accident is waiting to happen […] the causes of the three events followed no pattern, and the inability to immediately contain them escalated the episodes into global disasters with huge economic, environmental and political consequences. […] according to the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev it was a factor in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union […]

Joonhong Ahn, professor at the Department of Nuclear Engineering of University of California, Berkeley: “The cold truth is that, no matter what you do on the technological improvements side, accidents will occur — somewhere, someplace.” […] The consequences of radiation release, contamination and evacuation of people is “clear and obvious” […] That means governments and citizens should be prepared, not just nuclear utilities […] The problem with an engineering solution [is] those defense systems can also fail […] “This is an endless cycle. Whatever is your technology, however it is developed, we always have residual risk.” When the next nuclear accident occurs the world needs to have better knowledge of how to limit the spread of radiation and do the clean-up, including removing radiation […] We also need more understanding of the impact of low-dose radiation on organisms […] “This is about recovery from an accident, not preventing an accident […] It’s completely different. And I think this concept is very necessary for the future of nuclear utilization.”

Gregory Jaczko, ex-chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: “We have this accident and people will say, you know, it was caused by this and that […] But the next accident is going to be something different. Nobody can tell you where or when or what exactly it is going to be […] Once you have an accident, a low-probability and high consequence event, you can no longer call it a low probability event […] It is an event that’s happened and you cannot ignore the consequences simply because it was never supposed to happen. The consequences are real. Probabilities are always hypothetical.” […] The cost of cleaning up Fukushima may be more than the total cost of building all the world’s nuclear plants to date […] “If we look at this technology and we challenge ourselves to make technology that meets this standard then we’ll see that there are ways to do it […] But if there aren’t ways to do it — economically viable ways to do it […] this is perhaps then not a technology that we want to rely on well into the future.

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