The nuclear crisis following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has revived the debate on whether we should or shouldn’t build more nuclear power plants. To meet Region Forward’s Sustainability targets we definitely need to adopt carbon-free sources of energy however before expanding nuclear (which emits no greenhouse gases but has a toxic by-product and immense safety risks) it is necessary to ask ourselves what trade-offs we are willing to accept.
As The New York Times reported recently until the crisis expanding nuclear energy in the U.S. was one area that many Democrats (including President Obama) and Republicans seemed to find an agreement. However whether that support will (or even should) persevere is now unclear. A nuclear power plant in Calvert Cliffs Maryland appears to be safe from earthquakes but may be vulnerable during a hurricane or tornado [editor’s note: the article indicates that the plant is designed to shut down in the event of significant seismic activity]. Also close to our region expansion plans to add a third reactor at the nuclear power plant in Lake Anna Virginia are now under renewed scrutiny by a concerned public. The state Department of Environmental Quality is currently reviewing the expansion proposal.