The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Linda Gunter, Beyond Nuclear: 301.455.5655

What's Next at Fukushima? Are U.S. Nuclear Plants Still at Risk?


The Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe in Japan is about to enter its fourth year. Many questions remain unanswered. Little has been done to shore up the 31 U.S. reactors that are identical in design. Interviews with specialists at Beyond Nuclear are available.

Kevin Kamps Radioactive Waste Specialist. 240.462.3216;

"The condition of the high-level radioactive waste storage pools at the Fukushima-Daiichi reactors remains perilous. Another big earthquake could prompt a sudden drain-down of the Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool. The Unit 3 pool may be in even worse shape," Kamps said.

"Few lessons from Fukushima have been learned in the U.S. One of the most important should be that high density U.S. pools are emptied into hardened on-site storage as soon as possible, before the worst happens, whether due to natural disaster or terrorist attack."

Cindy Folkers, Radiation and Health Specialist. 240.354.4314;

"Considering the constant misinformation regarding how much radioactivity has and is being released into the Pacific Ocean from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, we must continually monitor the ocean and ocean life, particularly food sources," Folkers said.

"The American Medical Association has passed a resolution pressing for seafood testing for the U.S. But independent testing is almost non-existent. We have the highest allowable limit of radioactive cesium in the world, but not the robust food testing needed to see if we are exceeding it."

Paul Gunter, Reactor Oversight Director. 301.523.0201;

"In a bid to restart Japan's reactors, none of which are currently operating, the regulator there ordered utilities to install costly countermeasures to another severe accident. Here in the U.S., the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to stall those same countermeasures for the identically flawed nuclear technology to protect the fragile economics of nuclear power and keep vulnerable reactors running full throttle," Gunter said.

"The Japanese Diet reported that Fukushima was a 'man-made disaster' caused by the collusion of government, regulator and industry to protect a nuclear production agenda. 'Nuclear Regulatory Capture' of the NRC by industry here in the U.S. has put financial protectionism, aging reactor systems and the roll of the dice on converging courses for an American Fukushima."

Linda Gunter, International Specialist. 301.455.5655;

"Japan's early decision to choose nuclear power, rather than renewable energy, now means Japan will temporarily worsen climate change as the country imports stop-gap fossil fuels while its reactors are down. The alternative favored by the Abe government, to restart its nuclear plants, poses unacceptable consequences," Gunter said.

"Japan must now move to rapid implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Japan's predicament spotlights exactly how detrimental the nuclear energy path has been to preserving our planet. We cannot take back the disastrous releases of radioactivity. But Japan, like Germany, could now choose to renounce any further such risks."

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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