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Bob Alvarez, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies became the focus of intense character assassination by the nuclear industry when he wrote in April 2012: Why Fukushima Is a Greater Disaster than Chernobyl and a Warning Sign for the U.S. He explained: "The radioactive inventory of all the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools at Fukushima is far greater and even more problematic than the molten reactor cores."
"Spent" fuel is a misnomer, far from being harmless, irradiated fuel remains too radioactive to handle for 5 years and thermally and radiologically dangerous way beyond that period. When the US government was looking for permanent storage for high level waste, which includes fuel rods, they were looking for a site that would remain safe for at least 100,000 years. Not surprisingly they found none, and had to recognize that Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was not safe either.
Pacifica Radio did the recording
The US Government Accountability Office considers spent fuel one of the most hazardous substances on the earth. Nevertheless the NRC allows nuclear plant operators to keep fuel rods past the 5 year mark in ever more densely packed fuel pools in unreinforced building that resemble a WalMart or car dealership.
Alvarez urges us to learn from the lessons at Fukushima. The same type nuclear power plant, The General Electric Mark I and II with dangerous fuel pools situated on the top of the buildings, are in use in the US. Alvarez demands that fuel be removed from the pools and placed in dry storage in caskets or casks. A suggestion the nuclear industry resists because it is cheaper to keep the fuel rods in the pools.
Alvarez spoke on March 12, 2013 at the Fukushima Symposium, held at the New York Academy of Medicine, New York City. The two day event with speakers from across the world was a project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation, cosponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility.
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