Fukushima disaster could happen in the US, believes David Lochbaum, a former nuclear engineer, director of the Nuclear Safety Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
At present, US regulators have already been warning operators about the possibility of Fukushima-type disasters in the US. The safety preparations at the plant before the accident, he says, weren’t that different from the precautions taken at US plants.
“It’s not that Japan was behind the standards of the rest of the world, or that the Japanese regulators or [Fukushima Daiichi operator] TEPCO was especially inept. They’re on par with everyone else,” David Lochbaum says, who is also one of the authors of the new book “Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster.”
One of the dangers is floods that can cause reactor’s meltdown. As nuclear reactors require a lot of water to carry away their waste heat, they are often built next to oceans, lakes or rivers. And if the territory is flooded, the reactor could lose power. That is what happened at the Japan’s Fukushima.
At the moment, there are about 35 reactors in the US out of the 100 that are vulnerable to floods, says Lochbaum.
Recently, a letter listing various actions to mitigate the risk of floods was sent to South Carolina’s operator, the Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca. It was said that the station had a 100 percent chance of having three reactors to melt down, if no security is taken.
Another risk of nuclear plants is fire. Like floods, flames can disable safety systems and their backups.
Continue reading at US to spend $3.6 billion to avoid Fukushima-like radiation leak at its potentially dangerous 35 nuclear plants