UPDATE June 2011 — For a recap of recent news coverage of the Fukushima disaster, see this post.
The unfolding nuclear emergency in Japan has raised questions amongst the staff of Public Interest Network organizations and in our own communities. We have prepared this factsheet to attempt to provide answers where information is available.
Questions about the situation in Japan:
- What are the main threats posed by the crisis at Fukushima? – Overheating spent fuel pools and compromised reactor vessels
- What do the radiation levels reported in the media mean?
- What level of radiation exposure is “safe”?
- How are other countries advising their citizens to react to the Fukushima disaster?
- What is Japan’s long-term policy response to the disaster?
Questions about the nuclear industry in the United States:
- Could a similar nuclear crisis happen in the United States?
- How many U.S. nuclear plants are located near earthquake faults?
- How large of an earthquake could U.S. nuclear plants withstand?
- Which U.S. reactors have the same design as the reactors that suffered cooling system failures in Japan?
- How many people live within 50 miles of a U.S. nuclear plant? (See a map here; and download the data here).
- What are the risks of spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear reactors?
- What are other people saying about the unfolding emergency?
- When has the door been open to potential nuclear catastrophe in the United States?
Questions about alternatives to nuclear power in the United States:
- Do we need nuclear power to keep the lights on?
- Isn’t nuclear power cheap?
- Don’t we need nuclear power for “baseload” electricity?
See the links to the above blog posts for our most current answers to these questions.
We will also be maintaining a mirror of this blog on the website of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a member of the Public Interest Network. U.S. PIRG is actively pursuing a Campaign for Safe Energy in the wake of the unfolding crisis in Japan.
Please forward any additional questions you are encountering to [email protected].