Shake Rattle and Roll: Part 2


Fairewinds Science Advisor Dr. Leslie Kanat returns as a guest on Fairewinds podcast to dig deeper into seismic issues and nuclear power. Can humans cause earthquakes? Join the Fairewinds Crew and Dr. Kanat to find out! 

Before its triple meltdown, the nuclear power industry claimed that the Fukushima Daiichi atomic reactors were earthquake proof – what the nuke proponents call ‘seismically qualified’. Fukushima Daiichi owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), conducted what atomic utility owners call a “Maximum Credible Assessment (MCA)” (or what the Fairewinds Crew calls the “Maximum Cost Affordable”). According to the nuclear industry, the MCA assesses the maximum magnitude of an earthquake or natural disaster based on industry best guesses in relation to anticipated costs for repair construction budgets. 

Therefore, when a nuclear plant owner like Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) claims that its Diablo Canyon atomic reactors are earthquake proof… that’s not exactly true. What these atomic power producers are really claiming is that they have constructed an atomic reactor that should be able to withstand the worst possible earthquake that corporations believe is affordable. The aftershock earthquake that hit Fukushima Daiichi was a magnitude 6.6 that originated from a magnitude 9 earthquake offshore. As we continue to witness the ongoing tragedy created by the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, we also witness an atomic reactor deemed earthquake proof and ‘seismically qualified’ by the Maximum Credible Assessment suffering a major disaster and meltdown due to an earthquake less than the magnitude limit that the atomic reactor was built to withstand.  

Didn't get the chance to tune in to Seismic Report Part 1? Check it out here.

Fairewinds in the News:

Gendai Business Online:


Gendai Business Online’s top ranked article is an exclusive interview with Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen titled, American nuclear expert warns: "There is a possibility that now in Fukushima recontamination is occurring.” With more than 10,000 likes on Facebook, this Japanese article delves into the truth about nuclear contamination from Fukushima Daiichi as uncovered by Arnie Gundersen during his most recent trip to Japan. Fairewinds, with the help of Japanese translators, provides you with an English translation here.

Atlanta Progressive News:

Utility owner Georgia Power has spent a staggering $3.5 billion so far on the construction of two new AP1000 nuclear reactors at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant. Originally scheduled for completion in 2016-2017, Georgia Power announced at the 14th “semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) review hearing” that its latest projected end date for the project will be some time during 2019-2020. Not only is this project more than three years behind schedule, it is also billions over budget. The hefty price tag of this incomplete project has fallen on Georgia taxpayers and ratepayers as “a colossal boondoggle” according to Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen. As quoted in the Atlanta Progressive, Arnie points out that not only is this project way over budget, but it has also raised some serious questions in terms of credible design. Georgia Power is using a new and untested design for the two new reactors that Georgia Power has assured works “flawlessly for 60-years”. As Arnie points out, “The reactor cooling pumps and the steam generator have never been tried before…To get the cost of Vogtle down, they are amortizing it over sixty years; and no nuclear plant has ever gone more than 48 years.  Twenty percent of the nuclear plants have broken before they got to forty years.” 

Learn more by checking out Fairewinds’ material on AP1000 reactors from 2010 onward here

WAMC Northeast Public Radio:

Allison Dunne, host of WAMC Northeast Public Radio, covers the ongoing mystery of the missing bolts at Indian Point. As related in Fairewinds’ breaking news podcast of a formal press conference hosted by Friends of the Earth regarding its Emergency Petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to prohibit restart of Indian Point Unit 2 and inspect Indian Point Unit 3, Dunne reiterates the seriousness of the situation here. The missing and destroyed baffle bolts at Indian Point hold in place baffle plates, which channel cooling water to the reactor core. There is not a quick fix to the degradation of more than 1/4 of Indian Point’s baffle bolts. Quoting Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen, “Replacing the damaged bolts prior to an ultimate root cause analysis may put significant stress on the reactor causing a meltdown in the future.” 

Energy News:

World Nuclear News: 

In an interesting declaration published by World Nuclear News, the admission that carbon prices do not help the nuclear power agenda speaks an intriguing truth. As the global community looks to fight climate change effectively, there are those who have focused on a pro-nuclear energy strategy as the only route to a carbon free future. As Fairewinds Energy Education has consistently pointed out, apart from the serious environmental and health risks, nuclear power is not an economically viable solution, especially when compared to renewable technologies. What the World Nuclear News article does argue for are “direct benefits” aka government subsidies to the nuclear industry under the assumption that “some of the premium paid for these new nuclear projects should be considered as the cost of controlling carbon emissions.” However, as consumers have experienced in places like Georgia with the slow, costly construction of two new reactors at Vogtle that are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, the promise of nuclear power saving us from carbon emissions seems too hypothetical, impractical, and costly.