Nuclear Power is back in the news today as Japan’s Prime minister Nato Kan, announces that Japan will be abandoning the 2010 plans to build 14 new nuclear reactors by 2030. In light of the Fukushima Daiichi plant disaster, Kan acknowledges that Japan needs to “start from scratch” when it comes to creating a new energy policy.
Perhaps other countries such as Germany, Russia and even here in the United States will follow the lead of Prime Minister Kan and Japan when it comes to the use of nuclear power as an energy source. Before the quake Japan was planning on increasing the share of nuclear power in its electricity supply from 30% up to 50% by adding 14 new nuclear reactors to the 54 already in operation.
While Japan makes crucial steps to move away from relying on nuclear power, Russia completes a vital pre-launch test at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.
Construction on the nuclear power plant in the Islamic republic began in 1970 with the help of Germany’s Siemens Company and has been strongly opposed by Israel. Israeli has feared that the construction and recent completion of the power plant forms a part of Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons development program. Iran dismissed these charges as Russia’s involvement received the informal blessing of the United States.
Following the natural disaster in Japan that led to the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, President Barack Obama ordered all nuclear power plants located near seismic zones to be evaluated. One of the most feared nuclear meltdowns is that of the Indian Point site located in Buchanon, N.Y. After the 1979 Three Mile Island incident precautionary measures were taken to prepare Indian Point operators for a similar disaster.
Now once again all eyes are on Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center as Gregory B. Jaczko, Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is scheduled to tour the site today. Accompanying NRC on the visit to the plant is two of Indian Point’s biggest critics, Representatives Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission visit comes ahead of its 60-day briefing on the review of the Fukushima disaster that will inform us here in the United States about lessons that can be learned from the crisis in Japan.
A plan to discuss the contingency plans in the event of an Indian Point nuclear crisis are scheduled to take place at Stony Point this upcoming Thursday, May 12, 2011 hosted by New York State Senators, David Carlucci (D), along with Greg Ball (R) and George Maziarz (R).
“The Indian Point nuclear power plant, which sits within two miles of two intersecting fault lines has the highest risk of an earthquake causing its reactors core damage in the United States,” Carlucci said in a statement.
“To ensure the safety of the 20 million people who live within the 50-mile peak injury zone, Senator Maziarz, Senator Ball and I will be holding a hearing focused on detailing plans and precautions in the event of a natural disaster.”