The “nuclear renaissance” that we have long waited for is falling short. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the number of new projects has drastically dropped. Among other things, they’ve been plagued by huge cost overruns, lower cost competitors, public fear, an aging workforce, rare required materials, and often unmanageable waste problems.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from the occurrence of a catastrophic nuclear-waste fire at any one of dozens of reactor sites around the country, according to an article in the May 26 issue of Sciencemagazine. Fallout from such a fire could be considerably larger than the radioactive emissions from the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan.
With the bankruptcy of Westinghouse and thepending dismemberment of its Japanese parent Toshiba, two ongoing – and way behind schedule and over budget – U.S. nuclear projects are in deep jeopardy.
The Department of Energy declared a state of emergency at the Hanford (Washington State) nuclear site after a tunnel storing contaminated radioactive materials collapsed. The collapse, which was discovered Tuesday, forced hundreds of workers to take cover to avoid potential exposure. Hanford is the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site.
A portion of an underground tunnel containing rail cars full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at a sprawling storage facility in a remote area of Washington state, forcing an evacuation of some workers at the site that made plutonium for nuclear weapons for decades after World War II.