Editorials

“Nuclear Reactions” by Michel Lee

“To the Editor:

“Idiotic” would be a more accurate than “probabilistic” as a characterization of the risk model used by the nuclear industry.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant, 24 miles from New York City, exemplifies the defiance of common sense. The plant has an extensive history of safety problems, including fires, explosions, cooling system malfunctions, backup generator failures, emergency communication system breakdowns, pipe breaks and radiation leaks.

A few years back, testing revealed that a fire protection system for critical electrical cables was defective, subject to rapid disintegration and a potential threat to safe reactor shutdown in the event of fire. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission simply recalibrated potential fire duration to 24 minutes and gave Indian Point an exemption to federal fire safety rules. (The nuclear plant fire which had led to the rules, by the way, had lasted nearly seven hours.)

Michel Lee

Scarsdale, N.Y.”

To view the complete editorial, click on the link below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/science/05lett-reactions.html

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