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CountAllVotes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:36 PM
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Jimmy Carter and Fukushima
THREE weeks after Japan's earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant, spewing radiation as far as Iceland, clean-up crews have been working around the clock to bring the reactor under control and contain the leakage. Their life is a nightmare. "Crying is useless," wrote one worker in an e-mail to a colleague. "If we are in hell, all we can do is crawl up to heaven."

Workers who were already facing deadly radiation exposure were forced to sleep on a floor with barely enough to eat and drink, until the Japanese media exposed their terrible conditions. Some workers were sent into the toxic plant without basic protective gear like rubber boots, and needed to be hospitalised. On April 1st the government revealed that the plant's operator, TEPCO, had not even provided dosimeterssmall, inexpensive badges that record radiation exposureto all workers.

The fear and danger is beyond comprehension for most people, and in particular the political leaders who must order men in to danger. But interestingly, it is not unfamiliar to former American president Jimmy Carter. Nearly half a century ago, as a young naval officer, he led a 23-man team to dismantle a reactor that, like Fukushima, had partially melted down.

The reactor in Chalk River, Canada, about 180 kilometres (110 miles) from Ottawa, was used to enrich plutonium for America's atomic bombs. On December 12th 1952 it exploded, flooding the reactor buildings basement with millions of litres of radioactive water. Lieutenant Carter, a nuclear specialist on the Seawolf submarine programme, and his men were among the few people with the security clearance to enter a reactor. From Schenectady, New York, they rode the train up and got straight to work.


Thank you President Carter for walking that talk! :patriot:


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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:51 PM
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1. Jimmy Carter was a proponent of nuclear power and an opponent of reprocessing spent fuel.
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 08:05 PM by enough

Nuclear Power Policy Statement on Decisions Reached Following a Review. (Official Statement by President Carter)
April 7, 1977

There is no dilemma today more difficult to resolve than that connected with the use of nuclear power. Many countries see nuclear power as the only real opportunity, at least in this century, to reduce the dependence of their economic well-being on foreign oil--an energy source of uncertain availability, growing price, and ultimate exhaustion. The U.S., by contrast, has a major domestic energy source--coal--but its use is not without penalties, and our plans also call for the use of nuclear power as a share in our energy production.

The benefits of nuclear power are thus very real and practical. But a serious risk accompanies worldwide use of nuclear power--the risk that components of the nuclear power process will be turned to providing atomic weapons.

We took an important step in reducing the risk of expanding possession of atomic weapons through the nonproliferation treaty, whereby more than 100 nations have agreed not to develop such explosives. But we must go further. The U.S. is deeply concerned about the consequences for all nations of a further spread of nuclear weapons or explosive capabilities. We believe that these risks would be vastly increased by the further spread of sensitive technologies which entail direct access to plutonium, highly enriched uranium, or other weapons usable material. The question I have had under review from my first day in office is how can that be accomplished without forgoing the tangible benefits of nuclear power.

We are now completing an extremely thorough review of all the issues that bear on the use of nuclear power. We have concluded that the serious consequences of proliferation and direct implications for peace and security--as well as strong scientific and economic evidence--require:
--a major change in U.S. domestic nuclear energy policies and programs; and
--a concerted effort among all nations to find better answers to the problems and risks accompanying the increased use of nuclear power.


Fourth, we will increase U.S. production capacity for enriched uranium to provide adequate and timely supply of nuclear fuels for domestic and foreign needs.

much more>

I lived through this period. Carter was worried about the proliferation implications of reprocessing of fuel for nuclear weapons. He was not worried about the safety of operating nuclear power plants domestically.
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