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Fukushima and the Future of Safe Energy in the United States David Richardson, PhD Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH.

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Presentation on theme: "Fukushima and the Future of Safe Energy in the United States David Richardson, PhD Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fukushima and the Future of Safe Energy in the United States David Richardson, PhD Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH

2 Occupational risks Photo: REUTERS Medical staff arrive at Fukushima Medical University Hospital to treat radiation exposed workers from Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima City, Japan, March 24, 2011. Photograph: Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency/AP Plant workers collect data in the control room for Unit 1 and Unit 2.

3 Environmental releases Photograph: Reuters. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are continuing the efforts to make the stricken No 3 reactor safe.

4 Environmental releases Photograph: EPA. Wednesday 23 March: A farmer looks on as radioactive milk is poured into the soil at a dairy farm in Mito town, Ibaraki prefecture


6 v Variation over the life span in susceptibility to an exposure’s effect

7 Maternal Irradiation During Pregnancy LeukemiaOther Malignant Disease Case/Contr ol RR (95%CI)Case/Contr ol RR (95%CI) None202/222referent202/225referent Other25/231.19 (0.65, 2.16) 33/321.15 (0.68,1.94) Abdomen42/241.92 (1.12, 3.28) 43/212.28 (1.31, 3.97) Stewart, 1956 Ionizing Radiation and Chilldhood Cancer: Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancer

8 v Variation over the life span in susceptibility to an exposure’s effect

9 Ratio of Observed to Expected Deaths Lifetime Cumulative Dose Ratio of Observed to Expected Deaths Cumulative Dose >=45 yrs Adjusted for Dose < 45 yrs

10 Alternative Descriptions of Age-at-Exposure Effects on Solid Cancer Incidence, Life Span Study, 1958-1998 Preston et al., Radiation Research, 168:1-64, 2007

11 Source: US Department of Energy, 1996

12 Nuclear Power Plants in the US 104 operating nuclear power plants and 36 non-power reactors in the US 11 operating plants in Northern Illinois Produce 19% of the nation’s energy

13 Nuclear plant safety-Could it happen here? Core protected by containment dome Coolant supply critical and must be maintained after chain reaction shutdown (20,000-500,000 g/m) Spent fuel pools vulnerable

14 Spent Fuel Storage After 12-24 months in the reactor, fuel is offloaded into cooling ponds Must remain until cool More than 10x the radioactive material than the core (20-50 million curies Cs-137) -Chernobyl released 2 million curies

15 Accident/Attack at Braidwood PWR producing 2500 MW at full power 50+ mi SW of Chicago Two scenarios: Reactor vessel breach Spent fuel pond fire

16 Analysis Tools HPAC- Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency CATS- Consequences Assessment Tool Set from the Federal Emergency Management Agency

17 Braidwood Scenario 1 Catastrophic coolant failure Core exposed causing fire and breach 4% of core/hr burned Summer Day Normal Temperatures Broken Clouds

18 Braidwood Total Effective Dose Equivalent South Bend Fort Wayne Joliet

19 Braidwood Evacuation Area Grand Rapids

20 Medical Consequences The number of acutely ill people would overwhelm all available care facilities Many facilities will not be available due to contamination: 113 hospitals would fall within the occupational exposure zone (including two VA hospitals) affecting more than 32,000 potential beds. Nearly 20,000 physicians in five counties would receive greater than occupational maximums for radiation exposure from the plume itself, let alone that from contaminated patients.

21 Medical Consequences First responders, like firefighters would also be badly affected. The 25 firefighters of Essex Fire Department would possibly receive lethal doses, and the 67 firefighters of Braidwood and Herscher departments would be suffering from radiation sickness. Another 10,500 firefighters in 355 other departments would have exceeded occupational exposures from the plume itself and would be unavailable to respond within the highly contaminated area. Police departments would also be hard hit in Essex, Braidwood and Herscher with the 38 police officers receiving potentially lethal doses of radiation.

22 Indian Point Comparison 3,500-44,000 immediate deaths 100,000-500,000 long term deaths due to cancer Economic damages within 100 mi range from $1.1-2.1 trillion



25 Carbon and Nuclear Free Future


27 12 Recommendations Enact a physical limit of CO 2 emissions for large users of fossil fuels Eliminate all subsidies / tax breaks for fossil fuels /nuclear power Eliminate subsidies for biofuels from food crops Build demo plants Leverage federal, state and local purchasing power Ban new coal-fired power plants w/o CCS Enact at the federal level high efficiency standards Enact stringent building efficiency standards Enact stringent efficiency standards for vehicles Reward early adopters of CO 2 reductions Adopt vigorous research, development, and pilot plant construction Establish a standing comm. on Energy and Climate

28 For More Information R. Alvarez et al., “Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power- Reactor Fuel in the United States,” Science and Global Security 11 (2003): 1-51. D. Hirsch, “The NRC: What, me worry?,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 58(1): 38-44. E. Lyman, “Chernobyl on the Hudson?,” Union of Concerned Scientists, September 2004: 1-54. Http:// COmNdgHr628 mary.pdf Visit PSR’s website at: or contact PSR at: 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1012 Washington, DC, 20009 Telephone: (202) 667-4260 Fax: (202) 667-4201





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