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NEIS Comments on PBS Frontline’s “Nuclear Aftershocks” program

NEIS submitted the following Comment to Frontline concerning the show they aired on Tuesday, January 17th – “Nuclear Aftershocks.” This show examined the aftermath of
the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011 in Japan, and also its effects on the
nuclear industry worldwide.

If you missed seeing the show, fret not. You can watch it and then comment on it at:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/nuclear-aftershocks/


We would like to complement Myles O’Brien and Frontline for taking on this extremely complex and urgent issue of both the ramifications of the Fukushima disaster, and also the future of nuclear power.  While we are sympathetic to the limitations that a 54 minute program must endure, there were 3 major topics that could have fit into the show that would challenge a good deal of what was presented:

1.)    At 18:22 O’Brien asks the crucial question point blank, “What did TEPCO know, and when did they know it?”  One answer not covered in this segment were reports that, according to onsite workers, and even one TEPCO report itself, radiation alarms were going off BEFORE the tsunami hit.

The significance of this bit of data is that is suggests that the earthquake itself did some as yet unknown damage to the plant, resulting in radiation releases.  If true, this has two major implications: 1.) this severely damages the current popular explanation for the Fukushima nuclear disaster – loss of offsite power – as the only reason for the Fukushima reactor failures, and 2.) means that all the efforts worldwide to beef up back-up power supplies to GE Mark-I type containment BWRs are necessary but not sufficient to insure the integrity of these reactors. While this will not be ascertained for some time due to the intense radiation still persistent at Fukushima, it suggests that nuclear safety planners may be going down a self-deluding false path.  Of the 104 US reactors in operation, 24 are GE Mark-Is and IIs.  This was not mentioned in the program. Continue reading NEIS Comments on PBS Frontline’s “Nuclear Aftershocks” program