Aug 3, 2008
McCain to visit site of near catastrophic meltdown to push for more nuclear power plants
In honor of Republican Presidential candidate Grampy McSame visiting my hometown of Monroe on Tuesday, I am re-reading a book I read several years ago called “We almost Lost Detroit,” by John G. Fuller.
Grampy will be visiting the Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township on the shores of Lake Erie on Tuesday to push for more nuclear power plants. Mr. Fuller’s book is a review of nuclear power in general, but it is also the story of the accident that occurred in Monroe on the afternoon of Oct. 5, 1966. As you may recall, a zirconium plate at the bottom of the reactor vessel became loose and blocked sodium coolant flow to some fuel subassemblies. Two subassemblies started to melt almost causing a catastrophic meltdown. At the time, I was just 8-years-old and I lived just a few short miles from the plant down Dixie Highway in a subdivision near Sterling State Park.
The book was published in 1975, and I read it shortly after that. I just found a copy of the book, at the Book Burrow at the Downtown branch of the Lansing Library. I remember when I first read the book it was a little insulting that it was overlooked that if Detroit would have been lost so would have Monroe.
But it seems ironic that he is visiting a plant that had a near catastrophic accident to promote nuclear energy as safe. The fact is nuclear energy has come a long way since 1966, and the reactor where the accident occurred has been decommissioned. But some danger remains. Perhaps a visit to Three Mile Island might be more fitting.
Sen. Barack Obama also supports nuclear energy, but he also says before, like many people, we expand nuclear energy, we need to address the problem of nuclear waste. That’s an issue no one has found an answer for.
Spent fuel from nuclear power plants is toxic for centuries, and, as yet, there is no safe, permanent storage facility for it. A large nuclear reactor produces 25–30 tons of spent fuel each year, according to the Uranium and Nuclear Power Information Centre. As of 2007, the United States had accumulated more than 50,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. The only solution that has been floated thus far is permanent underground storage at Yucca Mountain.
The fact is renewable energy is the best way to go, but the Bush Administration fought that at every turn.
The high gas prices led to the U.S. House Republicans pulling a juvenile stunt on Friday, and they basically commandeered the House floor after it adjourned and preached propaganda to themselves.
Apparently, Exxon is not content with making $1,500 a second - yes, I said a second - and they want to open up the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) to drilling and lift the ban on offshore drilling. For some reason, the thousands of leases on millions of acres of U.S. land they hold is not enough, and they are using this to get at more to increase profits.
Both oil companies and the Grand Oil Party must know this will have no effect on gas prices. According to the U,S, Energy Department, it would take 10 years before any oil is pumped out of new offshore wells, and about 20 years before those wells would reach peak capacity. There could be no oil production in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge until 2018 and production would not peak until 2027.
As for offshore drilling, there is simply too little oil in these offshore areas to affect global supply. Bush’s own DOE shows that by the year 2025, ANWR drilling would lower crude oil prices by only 75 cents per barrel, which equates to about to about 2 cents a gallon at the pump.