Are you worried about nuclear facility safety? Could the US suffer a disaster similar to Japan? Just this week three nuclear facilities have been threatened by the power of nature. The Fort Calhoun nuclear reactor 19 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska has been overtaken by floodwaters of the Missouri River, which reached 33 feet above flood stage and left the facility under two feet of water. This places the reactor within six feet of its critical levels. Too close for comfort. The Fort Calhoun plant has been taken off the grid and is currently operating off emergency diesel generators to maintain cooling systems of the fuel rods. You know what happens if those generators fail.
Floodwaters at Nebraska’s second nuclear reactor are threatening that facility, and if water levels continue to rise, that plant will also be shut down. The Cooper plant 80 miles south of Omaha is within a few feet of critical levels. A third reactor downstream on the Missouri river near Hamburg, Iowa faces similar issues. If water takes out the cooling systems at any of these plants, as it did at the Fukushima plant in Japan, then the US could face a similar catastrophe, despite agency and government reassurances.
In the meantime another facility in New Mexico faces a real danger from wildfires. The Los Alamos nuclear laboratory that stores tons of plutonium has been threatened by a wildfire that has spread within a mile of its border. The town of Los Alamos has been completely evacuated, but the stores of radioactive materials are in perilous danger.
Nuclear facilities are fragile and dangerous, as we have seen at previous accidents. The Fukushima disaster has resulted in nuclear fallout that will undoubtedly claim an astronomical toll on the Japanese population in the form of cancers and deaths. The Chernobyl disaster resulted in at least a million deaths as a direct result of that explosion. And Japan’s nuclear meltdown is still not under control.
How many similar disasters will occur before we recognize the need to dismantle these nuclear facilities? It is time that every responsible country join Germany and Switzerland in their pledge to shut down all nuclear power plants and rely on safe and renewable energy production.