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Morning Bell: Nuclear Facts to Remember While Following Japan
Posted By Jack Spencer On March 14, 2011 @ 8:52 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled
The true scope of the devastation in Japan caused by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami are still unknown. While the official death toll has surpassed 1,000, the police chief of the Miyagi Prefecture said Sunday there is “no question” that at least 10,000 people have died  in just his region alone. Japan has mobilized 100,000 troops  for rescue missions, and at least three U.S. Navy ships of the USS Ronald Reagan strike group are assisting  in relief efforts. Yet, despite the gravity of the situation, some on the left in this country are already politicizing the disaster to score points against the nuclear power industry.
Representative Edward Markey (D–MA) released a statement  Saturday comparing the current situation in Japan to Chernobyl and called on the Obama Administration to impose a moratorium on all new nuclear reactors. What is happening in Japan right now is nothing like Chernobyl, and imposing a moratorium on the nuclear industry would be as big a policy blunder as the Obama Administration’s offshore drilling moratorium after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
The cable news networks and newspapers are filled with frightening headlines like “Radioactive Releases in Japan Could Last Months”  that will aid Markey’s anti-nuclear crusade. But the reality is far removed from the hype. Here are some cold hard facts to keep in mind as news continues to come in from Japan:
The danger that Japanese engineers are currently grappling with should not be minimized: what is happening right now with Japan’s reactors could lead to a meltdown and significant release of radiation. You could also get hit by a car on your way to work today. But that is not what is likely to occur. What is likely to occur is that Japanese officials will continue to operate professionally and oversee the orderly cooling of these plants.
Events unfolding in Japan ought to have no impact on the current U.S. reactor fleet or future plans to expand that fleet. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not need to regulate more in response to this. We need to remember that nuke plants are privately owned and that their owners have every incentive to maintain safe operations. The government’s role should simply be to set and enforce fair, efficient, and effective safety and environmental standards and allow private industry to meet them. Anti-nuke crusaders like Markey make this balance impossible. If the risk of nuclear power is too great, investors will put their money somewhere else.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/14/morning-bell-nuclear-facts-to-remember-while-following-japan/
URLs in this post:
 at least 10,000 people have died: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/13/AR2011031302393.html
 are assisting: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/US-Delivers-Aid-in-Disaster-Stricken-Japan-117854063.html
 statement: http://markey.house.gov/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=4255&Itemid=125
 “Radioactive Releases in Japan Could Last Months”: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-reactor.html
 Chernobyl disaster: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/03/Three-Mile-Island-and-Chernobyl-What-Went-Wrong-and-Why-Todays-Reactors-Are-Safe
 create as many as 1.9 million jobs: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/10/us-energyprojects-idUSTRE7296CZ20110310
 Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/10/us-ceraweek-usa-offshore-idUSTRE7294XS20110310
 resigned Sunday: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/13/AR2011031303730.html
 the world’s highest: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/03/tax-foundation-us.html
 ignored death threats: http://m.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/03/13/abc-cbs-msnbc-nbc-and-npr-ignore-death-threats-wisconsin-republicans
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