Concerns Over Nuclear Power Continue to Mount

The debate over nuclear power continues to rage in environmental circles. Proponents of nuclear power argue that it presents a viable alternative to more carbon intensive methods of energy generation. While opponents suggest that the risk of a Chernobyl-like disaster far outweighs the potential benefits. Concerns also remain over the environmental impact of transporting and storing nuclear waste. Meanwhile, a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists could provide another valuable talking point in the argument against nuclear power. The Union's analysis suggests that nuclear facilities are prone to long and costly shutdowns as a result of safety concerns. More importantly, the study suggests that these shutdowns occur regardless of a facility’s age or management. Of the 130 nuclear plants to be licensed in the U.S., 41 were closed for at least one year, and 10 were closed twice. In general, the report suggests that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has failed to ensure that reactor staff are capable of properly maintaining nuclear facilities. Subsequently, plants are allowed to operate until problems accumulate that require shutdowns. To read more, see The New York Times.

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