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Over a Dozen Nuclear Power Plants in Hurricane Sandy's Path

Eight of these plants have the same design as the Fukushima plant

- Common Dreams staff

Over a dozen nuclear reactors are in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

The Salem and Hope Creek plant in New Jersey. (photo: peretzp via flickr) Reuters reported on Friday that 16 reactors are in Sandy's potential path, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports today that it is dispatching additional inspectors to provide "enhanced oversight" at 8 reactors: Calvert Cliffs, in Lusby, Md.; Salem and Hope Creek, in Hancocks Bridge, N.J.; Oyster Creek, in Lacey Township, N.J.; Peach Bottom, in Delta, Pa.; Three Mile Island 1, in Middletown, Pa.; Susquehanna, in Salem Township, Pa.; Indian Point, in Buchanan, N.Y.; and Millstone, in Waterford, Conn.

The Oyster Creek plant, according one former nuclear power industry executive, may be the biggest concern.

Speaking to Democracy Now! Monday morning, Arnie Gundersen said, "Oyster Creek is the same design design, but even older, than Fukushima Daiichi unit 1. It’s in a refueling outage. That means that all the nuclear fuel is not in the nuclear reactor, but it’s over in the spent fuel pool. And in that condition, there’s no backup power for the spent fuel pools. So, if Oyster Creek were to lose its offsite power, and frankly that’s really likely, there would be no way cool that nuclear fuel that’s in the fuel pool until they get the power reestablished," according to Gundersen, who has 40 years of nuclear power engineering experience.

"The most important lesson we can take out of Fukushima Daiichi and climate change, and especially with Hurricane Sandy, is that we can’t expect to cool these fueling pools," said Gundersen.

Oyster Creek isn't the only nuclear power plant in the path of Sandy with the same design as the Fukushima plant, says Gar Smith, co-founder of Environmentalists Against War and Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal.

"Especially worrisome are several GE Mark 1 reactors that share the same design flaws as the three GE-built reactors that lost power, suffered meltdowns and exploded in Fukushima, Japan," writes Smith. "The eight Fukushima-style reactors located in Sandy’s path are: Fitzpatrick (New York), Hope Creek (New Jersey), Nine Mile Point 1 (New York), Oyster Creek (New Jersey), Peach Bottom 1 & 2 (Pennsylvania), Pilgrim (Massachusetts), and Vermont Yankee (Vermont)."

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