One year after Fukushima, safety upgrades slow to come at U.S. reactors

March 7, 2012

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(AP/Yoshikazu Tsuno)
A journalist checks the radiation level with a dosimeter near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. This one-two punch resulted in widespread, almost unimaginable, destruction. Some of the lasting images, of course, are of the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, where inside, workers were frantically trying to mitigate a nuclear catastrophe. Though the worst possible outcome was avoided, estimates are that it will take decades to clean up all the radioactive debris in the region.

A year later, some lessons have been learned.  According to a new report just released from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the U.S. government’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission could be doing more to ensure that our nuclear reactors – and the 116 million Americans who live within 50 miles of one – are safe.

The report’s co-author, Dave Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists, discusses the vulnerabilities of U.S. nuclear reactors.