There’s a soundbite circulating of Lindsey outside Duke Power’s Oconee Nuclear Power Plant. The Pink Flamingo was forced to chuckle a little. Lindsey grew up in Central. I grew up in Fairplay. One of the things we learned as kids was not to fear nuclear power. I suspect as a kid he had the same tours I had, made the same trips to the visitor center I made, doing the whole Duke propaganda spew.
“…”This nuclear plant I live five miles away. I’ve lived in this area all of my life. A lot of the people I’ve grown up with work here. I have faith in the American nuclear power industry. We’re preparing to build two new reactor in South Carolina and one in Georgia. I think it is imperative we move forward,” said Graham…”This plant has design characteristics that would prevent what happened in Japan from occurring here. We do not sit on an earthquake fault like they have in Japan. It is impossible to have an earthquake of that magnitude in this area of America,” said Graham…”
Growing up, I remember the discussions about earthquakes and the Oconee station.
“…An NRC report released in November said of the 66 nuclear power plants in the U.S., the Oconee facility has the eighth-greatest risk of experiencing damage to one of its three nuclear reactor cores during an earthquake.
But the report said there’s a less than 1-in-23,000 chance that such a scenario could happen, and Duke Energy says its nuclear plants in South Carolina are built to withstand the strongest earthquake on record in the state’s history, the 7.6-magnitude Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886, and other natural disasters…”
Lindsey mentioned something that we, living in the area, always worried about far more than the whole nuclear ‘thing’, and that was a dam break. The whole upstate is more of an island now thinks to all the lakes which were created because of the need for power.
“…Nestled in the mountains five hours from the ocean, the Duke power plant couldn’t be affected by a tsunami, he noted. The reactors also are of a different design that ensures they could continue to operate safely in the event of a disaster, he said. He conceded that a broken dam at Lake Jocassee could affect the plant, but said Duke Energy is working on a plan to address such a disaster.
…Graham said the plant “cannot explode like a nuclear bomb.”
Oconee is one of just four sites in the country that received the lowest marks on one federal scale for safety performance, according to a March 8 news release from the NRC. The Oconee plant had problems last year with clogs in a line and what the NRC said was an unsatisfactory response by Duke Energy.
Graham said, however, that the NRC’s findings show that the system of regulating atomic power plants works. Duke and NRC officials at Tuesday’s media tour said the problems have been addressed.
“If you showed me a reactor site where there was never a safety concern, I’d be suspicious,’’ Graham said. “The fact that we’re identifying safety concerns independent from the company itself, and the company is getting on top of it, is reassuring.’’…”
The hysteria about what is happening in Japan is because of a poorly designed plan with company executives who were criminal in their determination to protect the bottom line. It is amazing that there is no talk of criminal prosecution. Sure, if this sort of thing is happening here, we are in danger, but one would hope safety and the fear of lawsuits would win over the bottom line.