Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Nuclear Leak in France

Uranium-bearing liquid has leaked from a broken underground pipe at a nuclear plant in southeastern France, the national nuclear safety authority said Friday. It was the second leak discovered at a French site this month.

The Nuclear Safety Authority said experts were trying to determine how much leaked uranium was present at the plant, which is owned by the electricity company Areva.

Areva, which is owned by the French government, is at the forefront of President Nicolas Sarkozy's effort to sell home-grown nuclear energy technology to the rest of the world.

Among all nations, France is the most dependent on nuclear power, with 59 reactors churning out nearly 80 percent of its electricity. The Nuclear Safety Authority said the pipe was believed to have ruptured several years ago. It added that the pipe "was not in line with the applicable regulations, which require shock resistance ability sufficient to avoid rupture."

This is a vivid reminder of how dangerous Nuclear Power can be. It has no carbon imprint on the environment, true unless you live in the town where Chernobyl is, where it is common to see kids with leukemia and cancer, no limbs and the mortality rate deathly low. My friends where I grew up used to house some children from this ravaged area, two girls who were diagnosed with leukemia who came to the states for health care (because Yeltsin made it very clear he was more interested in capitalism than feeding and keeping healthy the Russian population). The outlook for their lives was bleak, but coming to the states for a summer relieved the radiation in their bodies and they became stronger outside of Chernobyl.

Fifteen years after Chernobyl, the world has moved on. But for Belarus the problems are only beginning. Thyroid cancer rates have risen by 2,400 per cent since the explosion . . . It is the country of Belarus which has suffered, and continues to suffer, most from the disaster: 70 per cent of the radiation has fallen on its land and people. . . . Medical research has shown that radioactive elements (primarily caesium 137 and iodine 131) cross the placental barrier from mother to foetus, contaminating each new generation. Faced with soaring levels of infertility and genetic changes, the gene pool of the Belarussian people is now under threat.

Well, I think of course Nuclear power should be discussed with the new "energy diversity" dialogue, I think it's too risky to move in this direction. Wind, Solar and Hydro power is the way to go. We can show the world the way. Why not?


magda flores said...

I was once very anti-nuclear power, then I was forced to do a policy project on it. What I learned in my project is that nuclear power isn't as bad as we think. I DO believe that we need more unslanted research on the subject though. It was impossible to find any information that was not funded by the pro or anti nuclear groups. We can not change our national policy on slanted information. Chernobyl was a reactor that is nothing like today's reactors. I think the only way out of our energy crisis, is REDUCTION of use, but nuclear should certainly be added to the US's options.

putzy lepew said...

Agreed as an option, "energy diversity" as Naomi says. It scares the hell out of me though at the damage that can be done. On the other hand, England and France are 80% using it. Hmmmm...