The Associated Press “ignored abundant evidence of the [nuclear power] industry’s strong safety record and outstanding operating performance,” writes Tony Pietrangelo of the Nuclear Energy Institute in a letter to the editor sent to the Concord Monitor and presumably other papers that ran the AP’s two stories, June 20 and 21.
Over the past decade, he says, federal safety reports on “abnormal occurrences” and “accident sequence precursors” show that the nation’s 104 nukes have had only one “significant event,” and “even that did not result in the release of radiation.”
Mr. Petrangelo is only doing his job, as a P/R guy for the nuclear industry, but did he even read the two articles?
The first reported that the reason the nation’s aging reactors have good-looking safety records is that officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have a pattern of weakening their standards when the power plants fall below regulatory thresholds.
The second revealed that three-quarters of the reactors have leaked radioactive tritium into the environment. “Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard – sometimes at hundreds of times the limit,” the report said.
The only conclusion I can draw is that the release of radiation is a normal occurrence, not an abnormal one. And if the nuclear regulators don’t see that as “significant,” that only demonstrates that their standards are inadequate.