Unreported nuclear accident at Three Mile Island

A story published on Nov 21, 2009, in the Baltimore Sun, reported a hitherto unreported accident in November 09 at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant where 150 workers were evacuated.

In what should be a blow to a new nuclear power plant to be sited in southern Maryland, scheduled to be the first nuclear power plant to be ordered since the1979 Three Mile Island accident, 20 workers were exposed to radiation in what has simply been described as a 'radiation leak'.

This serves to remind us, and this is probably why this story remained very quiet, that when an accident happens, and accidents do happen, at a nuclear facility, what comes out is radioactive and dangerous; it is not like a solar panel falling off a roof, or even a windmill falling over. There is no simple 'fix'.

Electricité de France (EDF), Europe's largest nuclear power provider, has a 50% share in the new project and is coming under increasing fire over its safety record and its dumping of nuclear waste. In October 09 it was accused of dumping more than 1,500 tons of spent fuel near a town in Siberia, where the waste was discovered in metal cans.

EDF has been plagued by accidents and large maintenance costs at its ageing nuclear power fleet, and Reuters reported Nov. 3 that British, Finnish and French nuclear safety bodies had jointly issued a criticism and demanded changes in the security systems in the new European pressurised reactor designed by AREVA and used by EDF in its new plants.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that EDF's debt will grow from $42 billion euro to $50 billion euro by 2013, and that it will have to raise $27 billion euro to meet its nuclear obligations. The Economist reported Nov. 19 that its debt "stands at $37 billion euro ($53 billion) and could rise to $65 billion euro by 2017-2018." This has pushed up the price of nuclear electricity, which was 4.3 cent/kwh and is now 7-10 cents/kwh, which makes it more expensive than wind power which is currently7 cents and projected to drop to 4 cents by 2020.

With nuclear power producing 25 times the emissions of wind, the outlook for nuclear power is getting worse. This is perhaps why there has been a heightened push over the last several years from the nuclear lobby promoting nuclear power as a greenhouse solution as the industry is about to fall over.

This has been taken from Accident casts fresh doubt on nuclear safety by Dr. Gwen L. DuBois, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and an internist at Sinai Hospital.

For more information on EDF's troubles, and that of the nuclear industry in general, go to the original article.

Related to - Nuclear Power

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