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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections
Obama Administration: Build More Nukes
As the nuclear disaster in Japan intensifies, US Secretary Steven Chu calls on Congress for $36 billion to build new nuclear plants in the US.
Tuesday, March 15—Today at Fukushima’s desperate deteriorating nuclear complex in Japan, there was a fire in Unit 4 for the second time in as many days.
Two workers have been missing since the first fire yesterday.
The fires were in the unit’s spent fuel pool, which contains vast amounts of high level radioactive waste. Like the reactor fuel, it must be kept under cool water, or else it will heat up and melt down. The fires have released large amount of radioactivity into the environment.
Units 1, 2 and 3 remain imperiled. Their reactors may be melting down. An explosion at Unit 2 "may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel,” according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
An explosion at Unit 2 yesterday blasted a 26 foot hole in its containment building, and damaged an area below the reactor as well, the Associated Press reported.
This means it may well be releasing high levels of radioactivity into the environment as well.
Pressure inside units 5 and 6 was increasing because of hydrogen buildup, msnbc reported. This has led to explosions in the other units.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, announced to the nation after the fire yesterday “The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out.”
Just south of Fukushima, radiation levels were 100 times above normal, msnbc reported.
As the winds blew from Fukushima towards Tokyo, radiation levels there grew to 10 times above normal, Reuters reported.
And the Washington Post reported that US Nuclear Regulatory spokesperson David McIntyre stated “Right now it’s possible that there could be some radiation floating over the US.”
When Will They Ever Learn?
Meanwhile, US Secretary Steven Chu told a House panel that “Regulators should press ahead with approving construction for new [US] nuclear power plants despite Japan’s nuclear crisis,” msnbc reported.
“The American people should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly,” Chu asserted.
In the US 23 commercial reactors have the same General Electric design as the Fukushima ones. They are old and many have troubled safety records.
The Obama regime wants Congress to vote $36 billion for guaranteed loans to build new nuclear plants in the US.
This means that if the nuclear utilities default on these loans, the US taxpayer picks up the tab. It’s like a prepaid bailout.
The administration pushed $8 billion is such loans through Congress last year to build new nukes in Georgia.
Chu said the Obama administration would learn from Japan’s nuclear disaster.
But it appears it’s taking its lessons from its corporate masters once again.