The earthquake-caused explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant caused terrible damage and posed real dangers, but it is worth noting that no one died from the events (11 workers were injured). Even as Japan continues to take control of the plant and the nation’s power grid, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) used a White House briefing today to announce that events in Japan will not affect its day-to-day operations, including permitting of nuclear power plants in the United States.
The NRC briefing also reaffirmed a statement the commission released Sunday via Eliot Brenner, its spokesman, who said: “NRC’s rigorous safety regulations ensure that U.S. nuclear facilities are designed to withstand tsunamis, earthquakes and other hazards. In addition to those plants in recognized earthquake zones, the NRC has been working with several agencies to assess recent seismic research for the central and eastern part of the country. That work continues to indicate U.S. plants will remain safe.”
Nevertheless, some lawmakers in Washington are calling for a halt in nuclear energy developments. Such a reaction would have an overwhelming negative impact on the many people who have dedicated their lives, time and energy in working on these nuclear energy reactors. The nuclear energy industry remains a clean and safe source of energy. We ask that those lawmakers whose first instinct is to call for the halt of all aspects of nuclear energy to hold off on their speculations and demands. Policymaking requires facts and deliberation, not immediate impulses.