• On the Nuclear Power 2021 Act and the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act of 2011

    Testimony on S. 512, “The Nuclear Power 2021 Act,” and S. 1067, “The Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act of 2011,” before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, 7 June 2011 Good morning.  On behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists, I would like to thank Chairman Bingaman, Ranking Member Murkowski, and […]

  • Nuclear Power: The Safety of Generation IV Designs

    In addition to the Generation III+ designs of commercial reactor vendors, the DOE is sponsoring R&D on advanced reactor systems at national laboratories and universities (see Box 8, p. 59).  Two are thermal reactors and three are fast reactors that would use plutonium-based fuels.  One goal of these designs — known as Generation IV — […]

  • The U.S. Government Response to the Nuclear Power Plant Incident in Japan

    Testimony at a hearing entitled “The U.S. Government Response to the Nuclear Power Plant Incident in Japan,” held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the U.S. House of Representatives, 6 April 2011 Summary The crisis underway at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has revealed serious nuclear safety shortcomings […]

  • US Nuclear Power Plants: Internal NRC Documents Reveal Doubts about Safety Measures

    In the weeks following the Fukushima accident, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and nuclear industry officials have been asserting that US nuclear plants are better prepared to withstand a catastrophic event like the March 11 earthquake and tsunami than Japanese plants because they have additional safety measures in place. According to internal NRC documents, however, there […]

  • Fukushima: IAEA Confirms Very High Levels of Contamination Far from Reactors

    Today the IAEA has finally confirmed what some analysts have suspected for days: that the concentration per area of long-lived cesium-137 (Cs-137) is extremely high as far as tens of kilometers from the release site at Fukushima Dai-Ichi, and in fact would trigger compulsory evacuation under IAEA guidelines. The IAEA is reporting that measured soil […]

  • IAEA Data Appear to Show Increased Ground Contamination.  Why Doesn’t the IAEA Just Say So?

    It’s difficult to make any sense of the data being reported from various quarters regarding dose rates and contamination levels at varying distances from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could do a public service by establishing a consistent reporting framework so the public can assess whether radionuclide release rates […]

  • Japan: Squandering the Chance for Orderly Evacuation

    Given the large amount of radioactivity that could be released from the damaged reactors and spent-fuel pools at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility, the Japanese government was wise to evacuate residents within a 12 mile (20 kilometer) radius of the reactor site. Unfortunately, the crisis in not over.  Given the uncertainty over future releases, we believe […]

  • Sunday Update on Fukushima Reactors

    As of 7 pm EDT Sunday 3/13/11 We reported earlier about the situation at Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactor Unit 1.  The nuclear crisis in Japan took a turn for the worse as serious problems developed in reactor Unit 3. Officials from Tokyo Electric reported that after multiple cooling system failures, the water level in the Unit […]