EJToday: Top Headlines
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"Amid widening alarm in the United States and elsewhere about Japan’s nuclear crisis, military fire trucks began spraying cooling water on spent fuel rods at the country’s stricken nuclear power station on Thursday, but later suspended the operation, the NHK broadcaster said."
"Facing its biggest crisis in 25 years, the U.S. nuclear power industry can count on plenty of Democratic and Republican friends in both high and low places."
"Behind Japan's escalating nuclear crisis sits a scandal-ridden energy industry in a comfy relationship with government regulators often willing to overlook safety lapses."
"The House Energy and Commerce committee [took] testimony on Wednesday from two witnesses who are suddenly much more prominent because of events in Japan: Steven Chu, the secretary of energy, the chief administration official addressing the crisis involving the Japanese reactors, and Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has sent personnel to Japan and is charged with preventing accidents here in the United States."
"Japan's nuclear crisis intensified dramatically on Wednesday after the authorities announced that a second reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan may have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam."
"The international nuclear watchdog warned Japan in 2008 that powerful earthquakes could be too strong for their nuclear reactors, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks Tuesday night."
"If the containment at the nuclear power plant damaged by Japan's devastating earthquake fails, a potential radiation plume from a full core meltdown could reach Tokyo, a U.S. scientists' organization said on Tuesday."
"Europe's energy chief Tuesday raised the prospect of a nuclear-free future and said the 27-nation bloc is considering 'stress testing' its nuclear power stations to check they can cope with crises."
"In nearly a third of the states with nuclear power plants, nearby residents do not have the protection of federally-supplied potassium iodide pills for treatment in the event of a radiation crisis like that in Japan."
"The warnings were stark and issued repeatedly as far back as 1972: If the cooling systems ever failed at a Mark 1 nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment."
"The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was invited to the White House briefing today to assure Americans that they had nothing to fear from the nuclear radiation coming out of Japan's damaged reactors and that the nuclear reactors in the United States were safe. When he was finished taking questions there was very little reassurance on either front." In Japan, residents are beginning to wonder whether they can trust government reassurances that radiation levels present little threat to human health.
"Even as workers race to prevent the radioactive cores of the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan from melting down, concerns are growing that nearby pools holding spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger."
"The nuclear industry association and 16 of its member companies have filed suit in federal court seeking suspension of the fee that consumers of electricity produced at nuclear energy facilities pay for the federal government's spent nuclear fuel management activities."
"Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe after an explosion further damaged one of the crippled reactors and a fire at another spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air."