Monday, May 9, 2011

Nuclear waste, power, and New England, a Post-tsunami look

With Japan still combating the worst nuclear power disaster since Chernobyl, Americans have been reintroduced to the dangers inherent in the nuclear fuel cycle, in which events considered too improbable to take seriously can have horrific implications.

With that in mind, I've taken a look at Maine's nuclear risk exposure, both from the high-level waste stranded in Wiscasset and from operational nuclear plants just over our eastern and southern borders. The results are in the June 2011 issue of Down East, which arrives on newsstands this week, and is already available online.

For those wishing to do further reading thereafter, try starting with the documents section of the Maine Yankee website and the monthly safety reports from the State of Maine's nuclear safety officer.

As I previously reported in the Phoenix, there was recently an interruption in the flow of the latter documentation, which is required by Maine law. Since then, reports for last October, November, and December have posted, meaning the site is still roughly three months behind its usual reporting schedule. At a glance, the reports contained nothing unusual, except that both the October and November 2010 reports had references to condition incidents considered too sensitive to disclose to the public. Having read all prior monthly reports, I don't recall seeing such references in the past. Perhaps these incidents, whatever they were, have some bearing on the delay in the filing of the reports.Link

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