The News & Observer
Published: Mar 28, 2005
To the Editor:
Regarding your March 22 editorial on FBI concerns about security weaknesses within general aviation — particularly relating to chemical and nuclear plants — I have one disagreement: A small aircraft packed with explosives could indeed cause damage far exceeding that of 9/11.
Undoubtedly nuclear power plants are prominent targets, with “spent” fuel storage pools that are unmatched nationally in terms of potential social and economic devastation.
The nuclear industry uses its muscle to keep this from the public; terrorists already know. Why? Because the waste dilemma, if made clear, would impede the utilities’ vigorous push toward building more nuclear plants (with taxpayer money).
The media narrowly covered the latest scandal regarding a possible national dump site in Nevada, but avoid clarifying that even if Yucca Mountain ever opens, waste will remain at nuclear plants for decades. Consequently, there’s been little public evaluation of safer storage methodologies advocated by nuclear experts.
An even greater scandal is under way. The National Academy of Sciences now agrees with independent experts and recommends “earlier movement of spent fuel from pools into dry storage…” to reduce risks of a catastrophic nuclear fire.
But for nine months, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has blocked release of a public version of NAS’ study, claiming “security” concerns. NRC’s industry bosses don’t like NAS’ results.
Forty-seven regional and national citizen groups are pressing Congress to order release of the study — and mandate safer storage. Without news coverage, NRC/industry succeed with their dangerous, anti-democratic behavior. Furthermore, if nuclear utilities revive their industry, the media’s duty is to ensure rigorous, open public debate.
NC WARN (Waste Awareness & Reduction Network)