A Visit to Japan: Reflections from the Chairman

NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane exchanges documents after a signing ceremony with her counterpart Chairman Shunichi Tanaka of the new Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority. The documents establish, among other activities, a joint steering committee between the two regulatory agencies.
NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane exchanges documents after a signing ceremony with her counterpart Chairman Shunichi Tanaka of the new Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority. The documents establish, among other activities, a joint steering committee between the two regulatory agencies.

This past weekend I had the honor of leading a delegation of U.S. officials to an international conference in Japan designed to keep up the global momentum of enhancing nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident.

We met in Koriyama City, some 30 miles west of the scenic Japanese coast, where recovery work continues on the four Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors that were damaged by tsunami-induced flooding and the explosive force of pent-up hydrogen.

In my remarks to our counterparts in the newly installed Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (JNRA) and to the roughly 400 delegates at the conference from across the globe, I stressed that national nuclear regulatory bodies must be independent and buffered from political winds and whims. And at each opportunity, our delegation said that a regulator’s work should be carried out in an open and transparent manner so all can see the reasoning behind decision-making, and that regulators should be funded and staffed at a level to get this important work accomplished.

One of the more important sessions I held was with the newly appointed chairman of the JNRA and three of his Commissioner colleagues. We discussed the challenges ahead as the JNRA embarks on the demanding task of creating an effective independent nuclear regulatory program for Japan. This will be a major undertaking, not easily accomplished. If asked, the NRC will enthusiastically assist JNRA. I am confident that other nations and non-governmental organizations with nuclear experience and expertise will also step forward if their help is requested.

On our first day in Japan we visited the crippled reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi. We approached the scene through silent villages, devoid of people, with weeds growing in abandoned parking lots, and japanmapnow-empty crop fields. I saw the immense beauty of the countryside and the Japanese coastline. This striking land is now empty and may be unusable for a considerable period; 160,000 people are displaced because of the radiation that escaped these reactors.

We stood atop the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima site, next to the now-covered spent fuel pool. We witnessed the progress made by a full contingent of cleanup workers in remediating the site, a testament to the resilient spirit of the people of Fukushima and Japan. This said, immense work is still ahead at the Fukushima site and the surrounding areas – work that will take decades to complete.

On reflection, I can’t help but be reminded of the important role the NRC performs for the nation; the work we have underway to further enhance reactor safety; and the renewed importance of ensuring no accident like this happens in the United States. I want to be sure that we continue to take the steps necessary to be certain that communities surrounding nuclear reactors are protected and that we’ve done all we can as regulators to prevent and mitigate severe accidents that displace people and contaminate land.

Allison Macfarlane
NRC Chairman

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

41 thoughts on “A Visit to Japan: Reflections from the Chairman”

  1. Well I read what I thought was a well informed, sensitive post about Fukushima. It was only when I got to the comments that I realized just how much debate there is to be had about these issues. Whilst an interesting debate I think the main focus has to go into avoiding the issues when there is an inevitable next time, decision making at that time will be more informed – hopefully.

  2. To : dwbd
    But how much Plutonium is on the beach in Brazi, we have outlawed asbestos, isn’t the same amount of plutonium in body moisture as danger’s or more than asbestos?

  3. Well now, we find out about Xe133 that has increased dramatically after 3/11, what else? The nuclear industry has known and kept it quiet, on the net searches, sites have been taken down surprise surprise. Used in medical area with great control on storage and application by strict government requirements for use.

  4. “…Bringing up wind direction, how bad would 3/11 be if the winds would have blown south…”

    Actually most of the relevant radioisotopes did blow to the west onto a strip of land that has ~20 uSv/hr or 175 mSv/yr, considerably less than beaches people like to lay on in Brazil. Harmless. Inside the plant boundaries only a very few areas, a tiny portion of the total area is unsafe to habitat continuously and certainly apart from a few areas right inside the plant or immediately outside, no big danger, just use precaution. Wind direction would not have had significant impact – still zero long term deaths. Whereas just one carcinogen – asbestos – most assuredly will cause many deaths long term of asbestos related lung disease, a Japanese official admitted that, you think all those asbestos fibers released by collapsed buildings & oil & gas fires is harmless? Why NOTHING on the paid-by-oil mass media about that?

    “..persuaded me to use solar, the problem is the cost of storage for night production, this seems to be a problem yet the cost to deal with nuclear waste is higher so for me use solar…”

    Solar is an expensive joke. Do some research, far more expensive than Nuclear and not practical in even the best locations. Avg latest cost in USA is $5.85/peak watt – openpv.nrel.gov. That’s $40k/avg kw, not including high Grid Integration costs, > 10X the cost of nuclear:


  5. But at Fukushima they have Plutonium mixed with the radioactive fuel, add a few snow flake size plutonium particles in to your cup of tea and drink it! This is a big problem compared to nuclear bombs that smashes the few pounds of bomb material compared to a plant blow up with a few tons of fuel of all sizes getting into everything, take your chances ever day for years. Not many meters read Plutonium and alpha producing radiation or do not tell you the percent that is Plutonium in the tested area or object. Meters can be + or – 100% (check manufactures user guide). The lies and deceit with TEPCO leads me to believe that they maybe comparing meters performance to select the ones that reads the lowest, do they make readings over hard surface that clean easy, we know about some metering sites deliberately put the battery in front of the sensors to read far less than actual, do they look for windblown hard surfaces, do they prewash the area, do they take an average of several readings or do they publish the lowest reading, when they get a low reading at first do they stop and if high take more readings to average it lower, do they use a clear tape over sensors to reduce the reading of Alpha particles, do the staff lie to make their industry look good so they have a good job, do they meter at high ground level where decree is washed away with rain, how many other thing can reduce the meter readings. Most of these listed have been done before, so how many times higher is the actual reads that are published. After seeing the miss use, it would not surprise me that meters that are bought in bulk or destined for Nuke plants are set to read as low as they can get away with, so that their product will be on a favored list of products. If some of these are not done, their past actions have made us dist trust them forever and ever. I sure wish that they would have built plants in proper location and to handle natural and manmade mistakes, how long before a drugged up or mental case person causes a meltdown. This is enough for now, thanks listening.

  6. If the Wind’s had been in the right direction, if Tokyo had been damaged more, if the Fire trucks and services were disrupted or frozen waterlines, if other gas pipelines had exploded, then a Firestorm could have been started that would have destroyed Tokyo, and killed almost everyone. And released MILLIONS OF TONS of deadly carcinogens into the air, land & water. Protect against that risk.
    Bringing up wind direction, how bad would 3/11 be if the winds would have blown south and the plant would have been on the west side of the island, how bull shit lucky that 100 or more times of the radiation went out to sea. Are these plants still spewing radiation into the air and sea and when will it stop, now in north America we receive radiation in the wind and rain intermit as high as 1.4 microSv/h, do we get much carcinogens material here, is it still spewing like 3/11. I know nuke plants produce well when running without problems and would be the solution for the worlds energy requirements but we are finding out with difficulty that the owners are too greedy and demand the manufactures and service industry to keep costs low enough to be competitive and able to make a profit on the huge upfront cost which now is as low as it ever will be because interest is very low not like several years ago when it was 8% and higher with short terms for renewals. The info on the net has persuaded me to use solar, the problem is the cost of storage for night production, this seems to be a problem yet the cost to deal with nuclear waste is higher so for me use solar. What would it be like if solar was the only energy for every requirement, no oil required equals no middle east conflicts with distant countries (BILLONS saved on armament, lose of life and health compared to the damages with other energies). I emagen pumping water from existing salt and fresh lakes or seas to a higher elevation where life is sparse like mountain and desert areas creating great living areas and abundant life around water soars. The new water sources are then fed back to the source, generating electrical power. This will also reduce the water levels around the world. I cannot see a better out come for the world and it is possible at a price we can live with.

  7. Funny how you don’t give a damn about all those natural gas pipeline explosions you have been having that ACTUALLY killed people (by roasting them alive) and ACTUALLY destroyed entire neighborhoods. Not worried about that though. Or those Oil refinery fires you’ve been having. You don’t care about them either. Do you even know what a carcinogen is? Notice the Oil & Gas infrastructure failed to survive the mag 9 Earthquake. The Chiba Oil refinery near Tokyo erupted into a giant 10 day long inferno due to the Tohoku Earthquake. The heat was so intense that firefighters couldn’t get close enough to put the fire out, so it basically just burned itself out. This is a massive failure of Oil Infrastructure FAR from the epicenter of the quake. And of course plastics, mercury, lead, antimony, cadmium, PCBs, asbestos and a hundred other deadly toxins were vaporized and released into the atmosphere to settle all over the countryside. Every citizen in Japan, is eating, drinking and breathing those deadly Mutagens, Carcinogens, Teratogens, Neurotoxins, Embryotoxins and Endocrine Disruptors. Transformers filled with PCB’s are converted into some of the most deadly carcinogens human civilization has ever created, like Polychlorinated dibenzofurans, 0.1 gms is a fatal dose for an adult.

    If the Wind’s had been in the right direction, if Tokyo had been damaged more, if the Fire trucks and services were disrupted or frozen waterlines, if other gas pipelines had exploded, then a Firestorm could have been started that would have destroyed Tokyo, and killed almost everyone. And released MILLIONS OF TONS of deadly carcinogens into the air, land & water. Protect against that risk.

    permanent evacuations are a Mud Volcano caused NG drilling in Indonesia, 13000 families already have had their homes buried to the roofs with another 80 years of Mud flow. Radioactive Mud flow. And historic towns in Germany that are being forcibly evacuated and destroyed to make way for giant Coal Strip Mines. And large areas, much larger than Fukushima evacuation zone, permanently evacuated of more persons, for a smaller energy production from Hydro Reservoirs in many places around the World. And giant Coal Ash ponds and spills covering vast areas of land. Get some perspective dude.

  8. No one has responded to my statement of 4 Sv radiation with .1 microSv/h, thought someone would have, I know your calculation is right 9 milSv using .1 microSv but I am stressing that meters are not accurate (manufactures state + or – 50% and more if not used properly) and published lower then actual and how high are radiation that meters cannot read or show the mix. How many types of radiation are not known about. Again the assumption of the mix based on past accidents maybe all wrong especially comparing it to bomb tests as the radiation particles were smashed into fine particles and would mix well but nuke plants was not as violent and larger variety of partial sizes floated a round getting into lungs and stomachs, especially plutonium particles (very small partial in one’s body with moisture is not good). Please respond as I believe nuclear power is needed but I need it to be safer then what has been done so far or is less destructive to the world, how will it look when our descendents 1000 year from now come into this world after 50 melt downs (many plants may not survive a sun burst like a 100 years ago that melted large transformers).

  9. Dear Pauline,

    I can feel your anger and fear in your post and I feel for you. But the remarks about Airforce pilots navigating by the radiation that would come from Indian Point, does tell me something. I think you’ve been had by someone’s joke (or that someone else had, and was retelling it completely serious) and you took it for truth because it ties in with your ideas about the danger of radiation and nuclear power. Similar with the idea that millions of deaths would happen if a serious nuclear accident would take place.
    Please (for your peace of mind) don’t concentrate only on info that tells you how bad anything nuclear is but find info too that tells you otherwise. I came from a position similar but less fervent than yours, mildly anti-nuclear to my current pro one by reading on the subject a lot since Fukushima. I was dissatisfied with the quality of the news I saw and wanted to know more. It was the start of a journey that gave me much to think about and led me to revice many of my earlier ideas.

  10. Several comments to add to the discussion.

    I have several issues with the following statement:

    “This striking land is now empty and may be unusable for a considerable period; 160,000 people are displaced because of the radiation that escaped these reactors.”

    I agree that the effect of the tsunami on the Fukushima complex was the initiating event that required people to leave their homes where, (key point here), the tsunami had not already destroyed the local infrastructure. However I disagree that the radiation cleanup efforts are entirely the cause for keeping people from their homes at this time.

    Current policies regulating the access to the Fukushima district were developed during a period of understandable fear within the moment partly caused by lack of good communications due to the enormity of the tsunami itself, partly due to the lack of good data about the status of F-D complex at that time, and partly due to the lack of an effective emergency oriented organizational structure within the Japanese nuclear industry. The development of the current set of policies regulating access to the Fukushima area were also influenced by various anti-nuclear groups that were poised to take advantage of a nuclear crisis to further their own political aims. Additionally, the current policies were affected by the effects of the tsunami itself which caused far greater damage and loss of life then the loss of the F-D reactors. I also submit that the current Japanese policies regarding access were affected by the extremely ill-advised, ill-timed and suspect technically accurate proclamations of the previous NRC chairman.

    One of the major benefits of having a strong regulatory system is that we have so few accidents to investigate unlike natural gas pipelines, oil refineries, natural gas power generation facilities where accidents happen far too frequently. The entire nuclear industry should take advantage of this situation to ensure that all policies relative to the low level radiation issues are not developed to address politically expedient concerns but are developed based on sound engineering and scientific assessments.

    My point is that we have a perfect opportunity for reasonable engineering assessments and scientifically based reviews of the Fukushima data juxtapositioned with the current Chernobyl and TMI data. As an industry, we should now be in a position to effectively evaluate that data from our current level of knowledge as well as a historical perspective due the decades of safe nuclear power plant operation which includes decades of safe use of medical radioactive equipment. This review is needed as the current updating the cancer research being conducted with the NAS starts Phase 2. This review ultimately could lead to a change in mindset and to the governmental policies that were developed post-WWII and were more based on nuclear weapons data not data from operations of commercially viable nuclear power plants if the scope of the study does not become unwieldy.

    This review of the Fukushima and Chernobyl radiation data should also be used to educate the populace that shares the area around the many nuclear power plants in the United States with the goal of explaining the risks relative to other risks that are surrounding us at all times. People want facts not fear induced diatribes about how the plant will kill them, and future generations, if the slightest level of radiation or contamination is released.

    The other comment I would like to make concerns the following statement:

    “I stressed that national nuclear regulatory bodies must be independent and buffered from political winds and whims”

    I would expect that the NRC continues works to maintain its neutrality on the issue of regulating commercial nuclear power plants. This does not just mean regulating nuclear power for the public safety concerns but it also means regulating nuclear power taking into consideration that both sides, pro-nuclear AND anti-nuclear have agendas they would like to have met. The NRC must maintain its neutrality and independence from both sides while ensuring public safety and maintaining commercially viable power plants.

  11. Yes that’s the point, if we keep increasing the back ground radiation soon we will need lead suits to go outdoors as each hour that we are exposed to it increases our health problems. I do not see why we need this product that is turning out to be very costly monetarily and health wise. Hear in central Canada rain had up to 1.4 microSv/h from Fukushima and Regina Saskatchewan was hit hardest in Canada, these readings were from civilians driving across Canada when US and Canada turned off the national monitoring sites because the counts were going over 50. Before they turned it off Vancouver was over 50 pulses. We thought Chernobyl was bad and what is to happen may make 3/11 look like a firecracker. They are finding that workers have sabotaged the plants in the past. Where does it end. What havent the nuclear industry made public that may concern us all, these plants pushing into 50 and 60 years when built to last 20 to 40 years, how can inspections catch deep faults when stressed like berried pipe etc. If Fukushima would have been in central America it would have been twice as bad as the ocean to the east of Japan toke the brunt. I just cannot trust anyone in the nuke industry.

  12. Their still a huge number with thyroid problems, it is not common, I or anyone I know have never heard of anyone under 20 years old having thyroid problems and I am 65 years old, It may change some of the numbers.
    See: http://enenews.com/now-35-8-of-fukushima-children-have-thyroid-cysts-or-nodules
    breakdown by size of cysts […]
    • Of 38,114 examined, 24,730 (12,890 boys and 11,840 girls) had no cysts..
    • 12,414 had cysts smaller than 5.0 mm.
    • 969 had cysts graded A2, smaller than 20.0 mm.
    • 1 had cysts graded B, larger than 20.0 mm.
    Surely any scanning equipment will show up cysts larger than 5.0 mm, you can feel them their so big, would be sizes from a pee to a man’s nuts. Ha Ha. So would be about 0 to 969 after Fukushima 3/11.

  13. You may have missed the blogs in May, 2011 when a American ship went near Fukushima and were told by Japan officials that radiation was not very high and the US naval commander sent several men by chopper to visit the Japanese vassal and when they returned they scanned the men and found very high readings on their boots and pant legs which caused friction between the two. They scouted around the plant at sea and found out that the winds carried radiation their direction. For a naval personnel to sue a company in another country is serious and I am sure that if they go forward their careers are ended and the US gov. will put an end to it soon. They must be sure that they can win or are stupid.

  14. Well now .1 microSv/h living in an area for 5 years is over 4 Sv and 10 years is almost 9 Sv.
    They have other problems with the Alpha, Bata, Gama mix because of the plutonium in the mix, it is not near the same as studies in the past assumed they had, this must worry everyone when there is new radiation of low amounts, most hand held meters do not show Gama radiation. I cannot blame the people of Japan from being paranoid and with animals and plants dyeing and hospitals filling up, the doctors in Japan ask for doctors around the world to help, I haven’t read any blogs saying doctors have come to their aid. They are on their own good luck cleaning when radiation is still spewing into the air past plant dropping to the ground several miles away and into ocean and other countries and radiation moving from mountains to major cities. It will take 5o years or more, how many times will they have to clean areas as radiation moves around.

  15. Richard, how does 8 sailors trying to scam money off TEPCO support anything you say? There is no evidence of the alleged “lifetime of radiation poising”. I always thought nuclear powered vessels monitored radiation levels.

    Do you have any data of the dose they received?

  16. Wow Richard. Please, just please stop commenting if you are so ignorant to how radiation works.

    EVERYTHING is radioactive to an extent. There is no difference between “natural” radiation and “man-made” radiation. It is the same process. Plant life etc. becomes more radioactive after radiation releases from a nuclear plant because it adds a small amount more to that area of the environment than there was before (through spreading of radioactive particles). If you drink a large amount of water quickly your body will be more radioactive for a short amount of time (water has a natural concentration of radioactive tritium).

    Dose counts. You don’t seem to grasp hat concept.

  17. Germany didn’t get 50% of its power from solar last year. Where did you hear that? Please check things before you rush into commenting. According to Wikipedia

    Germany got 3.2 % of energy from Solar last year … 19 terawatts. And for that the German Government will pay 100 Billion Euros over the next 20 years … locked in feed in tariff.

    Please, I’d suggest you check everything you have written. You might be able to stop worrying about things that are really much safer than you think.

  18. richard: Firstly radiation levels found around Fukushima are typically 1-3 MICRO Sieverts per hour, that’s uSv/hr not Sv/hr. There’s a huge difference. A micro Sievert is one millionth of a Sievert. There are some hotter spots that need cleaning up, but cleaning up 1 uSv/hr, is just silly. That’s like decontaminating a street after a bus goes along it. Yes, there are diesel fumes, yes they are carcinogenic, but the effects are way to small to waste resources on. There are plenty of homeless people in Japan as a result of the tsunami and quake, spending precious dollars on decontaminating 1 uSv/hr areas is very insulting to the people who badly need help.

    So your numbers are out by a factor of a million. 1 uSv/hr over a year of continuous exposure is 1*24*365 … about 9 milli Sieverts. Even if delivered all at once, it would do near enough to nothing not to worry about.

    Secondly, you probably got your 61% from my post below. Did you read it? Do you eat red meat or feed it to your children regularly? Do you care about their health? Please compare the risk of regular red or processed meat eating with tiny amounts of radiation, the former fills bowel cancer wards, the latter does half of bugger all.

  19. Re: “I’ve been told by Airforce pilots that they navigate by the radioactivity it gives off”

    My nephew is a pilot in the New York Air National Guard, served in Iraq, and he laughed his socks off when I mentioned this. This calls into question ANYTHING you say.

  20. Statement made: And I’m not just talking about low level radiation. Consider the atomic bomb survivors. How much did the solid cancer rate rise in people getting more than 2 Sv? About 61%
    But most did not live on radiated land for long, the area radiated highest was flattened and they received a short period of radiation and did not eat food and water and breath air particles that are radiated. Most studies do not include the intake of radiation, only exposure and a one dose not low dose over years. Most studies are for grownups and not many for less than 9 years old, they will use a group of 18 and under using more older kids to skew the study, do not give results per age and numbers of results. Most studies only look at cancers or cancers in thyroids only. Remember this if you have a reading of 1 Sv/h at 3 feet the children playing on the ground are exposed to over 64 Sv/h or over 64 times the radiation at 3 feet.

  21. Chairman Macfarlane, the lesson of Fukushima is that a severe nuclear accident at a nuclear power plant that, just hours earlier, was operating in seemingly sound condition, plunged an entire country into economic chaos and uncertainty. The accident bankrupted the fourth largest power utility in the world, contaminated tens of thousands of square kilometers of land in Japan, and spread radioactive contamination as far as the Western United States in just six days.

    Ironically, it is the public that is the main stakeholder and financial support of the civil nuclear power industry yet the public is afforded no voice in decisions that involve nuclear power’s risk to the public’s safety. Where were the key stakeholders and independent experts from fields outside of the nuclear industry, on your visit to Fukushima? Did you venture off of the official path and schedule ordained by the nuclear industry in order to engage the real Japanese public that is bearing the full impact of that accident? Did you speak to the families who have lost their homes and businesses and now anguish about the health of their children who continue to inhale, ingest, and urinate radioactive contamination?

    The main stakeholder in nuclear power is the public, and as such it is a moral impearative that the public be included in ALL key NRC decisions regarding the public risks of nuclear power. Due to the immense size, timeframe, and danger of nuclear disasters, anything less is tyranny. Your responsibility as the head of the only U.S. regulatory agency with jurisdiction over nuclear safety, is to the public you serve, the ones who will have their lives, families, and communities uprooted, and who will face financial ruin as a result of a severe nuclear accident in the U.S.

    As a Harvard trained urban planner I have found that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in North County San Diego, California has uncanny similarities in seismic and tsunami conditions to Fukushima Daiichi, but the NRC’s response to these well documented dangers is unconscionable. Edison, and the NRC, are planning to restart the most damaged nuclear reactor unit, by far in the U.S., without fixing it first. The damaged reactor unit sits upwind of the eighth largest economy in the world, and 8.4 million people within 50 miles who have been criminally misinformed by the Inter-jurisdictional Planning Committee on the immense and unavoidable dangers of severe nuclear accidents. As a result, the public and emergency responders are ill prepared for a severe nuclear accident at San Onofre.

    By allowing restart of San Onofre’s damaged reactor Unit 2, the NRC has effectively shut out all meaningful public input into this restart decision, with the exception of pitifully token public meetings. Shame on the NRC for allowing Edison to willfully endanger millions of its loyal customers downwind of San Onofre. Numerous cities surrounding the power plant oppose the restart and their city councils have written to you directly. Did you receive their letters?

    Chairman Macfarlane, please do the right thing and demand that the reactor Unit 2 restart decision be brought before a fully transparent adjudicatory hearing and full license amendment process with independent expert testimony and cross-examination under oath. The decision to restart damaged reactor Unit 2 is far too important for Southern California to be left to an opaque decision making process in the hands of an NRC Region IV staff member and Edison management.

  22. Dear RNC, it is abundantly clear that your concern for safety is simply words. I live 15 miles from Indian Point in NY on the Hudson river that over the years has had repeated problems, leaks, shutdowns, (I’ve been told by Airforce pilots that they navigate by the radioactivity it gives off), is about to reach its age limit capacity and only provides 5% of energy for the region. The fact that there is a “mere” risk that could affect tens of millions of lives (by killing them-there is no escape route) and the loss of billions of dollars in lost property that would leave urban and agricultural land uninhabitable for centuries seems not to bother you. The word on the street is that you plan to renew the license for this bomb waiting to go off. Even though the citizens pay for it in every way, without getting any benefit from it. We take all the risk, while Entergy laughs all the way to the bank…
    The insanity of the fact that there is no effective evacuation plan, doesn’t even play a part in your decision making. Astounding. Insane! Like something out of a Batman movie…

    We citizens have subsidized this insane energy experiment for 3 decades, an energy source that is expensive to mine, transport and develop, wholly unnecessary (Germany got 50% of its power from solar last year), dirty beyond belief and exponentially dangerous (you admit it needs a high degree of safety oversight!), uninsurable by any insurance company, and darling, 3 decades is long enough of this madness.

    It astounds me that even the slight risk of death and destruction to so many and so much cannot put reason in your heads. Meanwhile I live in a little town in Westchester that is gravely concerned that my four little chickens I have on my 1/3 acre will cause health issues, lower property values and an entire panel must be formed to review the situation and decide on my appeal for a variance. It’s highly likely that they will prevent me from being able to keep my four little “girls”… But Entergy, thanks to nuclear lobbyists and powerful interests, will get to keep on boiling water with its time bomb that threatens tens of millions of lives…
    Too bad Indian Point doesn’t look like a chicken, there might be more concern about safety issues then…

    How have we come so far from common sense that we cannot see the forest for the trees?
    Chairman/woman Macfarlane, as you walk through the fallout of Fukushima spouting about their regulatory “independence” and offering your so called “assistance”, I hope you realize the insanity you perpetuate on the world and on New Yorkers and that if and when the time comes, we will remember who put the nail in our children’s coffins with your lies…
    Parents never forget who murdered their children and destroyed their land…. And when the day comes that Indian Point becomes our Fukushima or Chernobyl, we will have nothing left to lose… But you folks at the NRC will have everything to lose and we will make sure you do. I swear this as a mother and a land owner.

  23. have no idea how you think that the radiation from nuke plants are no worse than the same amount of back ground, the background radiation has to be different or distributed deferent other wise how come the plants, animals and humans become more radioactive after a plant blows up. How stupid do you think we are to believe this. I have never seen anyone else making this statement.

  24. They say the people should go back that radiation is not harmful, tell that to the over 100,000 parents that have growths on their thyroids, the radiation is either much higher than stated by pro-nukes or the reported amount has adverse health effects, no matter the radiation they have been exposed to is harming humans and all life.

  25. Would you care to provide the source for these statics? I have searched through DoL and could not find anything like those stats

  26. I come from Australia … we know a thing or two about cancer here being world leaders in a few!

    Compare us with Chernobyl contaminated Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Over the past 25 years, those countries have had about 14 million cases of cancer (based roughly on current Globocan rates), including some 6000 from radiation resulting from the Chernobyl accident. Sure. Bad accident. Solution? Change reactor design … check … done. If Russia, Ukraine and Belarus had had Australian cancer levels for the past 25 years, they’d have had 20 million cases of cancer. Not 6,000 extra cases but SIX MILLION extra. Similarly, Helen Caldicott is fond of telling people not to eat Turkish apricots, because of the contamination. Really? Clean, green, non-nuclear Australia has about double the age standardised rate of cancer as Turkey. Consider bowel cancer. Japan used to have about 20,000 cases of colorectal cancer annually. That’s about the normal rate in countries with mainly plant based diets. When she westernised her diet, that rose to over 100,000 cases per annum. That’s 80,000 extra bowel cancers EVERY SINGLE YEAR. So tell me, which is more dangerous: Chernobyl sized accidents or red meat?


    And I’m not just talking about low level radiation. Consider the atomic bomb survivors. How much did the solid cancer rate rise in people getting more than 2 Sv? About 61% …


    Is 5 times more bowel cancer bigger than 61% rise in solid cancers caused by a whopping 2 Sv dose?

    Nuclear power is way safer than red meat and I haven’t even bothered with all the other red meat cancer risks, just bowel cancer, for which the causal relation is rock solid (World Cancer Research Fund position). You could have a Chernobyl style accident every year in Japan and not come even close to causing the kind of additional cancers that adding red meat to the diet has caused.

    The evacuation caused both deaths and suffering … including many animals left to starve. This suffering and death is clearly the doing of those advocating an evacuation which clearly did way more harm than good. It’s time the anti-nuclear movement paid for the immense harm and damage it did with forcing this evacuation in Japan. It’s time the anti-nuclear movement paid for delaying effective action on climate change by 2 decades. If the nuclear roll out of the 1970s/80s had continued we’d all be producing electricity for 90 grams-co2/kwh like the French instead of 450 grams-co2/kwh like the Germans (after 12 years of rolling out their little renewable toys) or 860 g-co2/kwh like clean green non-nuclear Australia!

    Ignorance kills and the debt from anti-nuclear irrationality just keeps rising.

  27. You say the people should go back that radiation is not harmful, tell that to the over 100,000 parents that have growths on their thyroids, the radiation is either much higher than stated by pro-nukes or the reported amount has adverse health effects, no matter the radiation they have been exposed to is harming humans and all life.

  28. Please stop the deceit originating from the NRC about how nuclear power is safe and has never taken a life in our nation.

    Just last month one of your administrators deceived the public during a NRC inspection event regarding Browns Ferry Alabama. He stated incorrectly, “there have been no adverse health effects as a result of the Fukushima accident.” How are members of the public supposed to trust a regulator whose officials intentionally deceive the public with propaganda via intentional deceit or ignorance..

    Every nuclear reactor utilizes nuclear fuel and there have been thousands of deaths and sickness from the nuclear fuel cycle according to Department of Labor statistics. Those statistics do not include all fuel facilities or nuclear power production plants.

  29. The land that the Chairman saw is beautiful and fit for human habitation. The reason it is empty is that people with various motives, some of which include enormous sums of money, have worked really hard for many decades to spread irrational fear of low level radiation and its health effects.

    There are several places in the world where people have been living for millennia that have naturally occurring background radiation levels that are higher than those in the most “contaminated” regions of Fukushima outside of the power plant gates. There is no evidence that those populations have experienced any negative health effects, in fact, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that there are health benefits associated with radiation levels below about 100 mSv (10 REM) per year.

    That level is five times the level at which Japan’s antinuclear government ordered forced evacuations and 100 times the level that they are trying to achieve through an incredibly wasteful clean up effort that is removing valuable soil and calling it radioactive waste.

    Regulators may need to be “buffered” from political winds, but they need to be fully subjected to the pressure of scientific and engineering truth and cannot be allowed to make decisions or order actions that are “independent” of facts. They cannot be allowed to push rules that are aimed at addressing emotional feelings and reinforcing irrational fears.

    The reactors that we built and licensed 40 years ago might be vulnerable to being destroyed by severe natural disasters but the scientists and engineers who licensed them were not short-sighted or lacking in imagination. Instead, they understood that human designed equipment can fail no matter what the designers do. Their response to that fundamental knowledge was to require multiple, resilient barriers that allowed them to be comfortable with the probability of failing equipment, knowing that the public health would still be protected.

    The Chairman needs to curl up this holiday season with a copy of a report that her own agency released in final draft form soon after Fukushima – The State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequences Analysis. Here is a brief summary of the effort that supports that report:

    “NRC initiated the State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses (SOARCA) project to develop best estimates of the offsite radiological health consequences for potential severe reactor accidents. SOARCA analyzed the potential consequences of severe accidents at the Surry Power Station near Surry, Va. and the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station near Delta, Pa. The project, which began in 2007, combined up-to-date information about the plants’ layout and operations with local population data and emergency preparedness plans. This information was then analyzed using state-of-the-art computer codes that incorporate decades of research into severe reactor accidents.”

    Here is the (somewhat buried) bottom line from that report:

    “The individual early fatality risk from SOARCA scenarios is essentially zero. Individual LCF risk from the selected specific, important scenarios is thousands of times lower than the NRC Safety Goal and millions of times lower than the general cancer fatality risk in the United States from all causes, even assuming the LNT dose-response model.”

  30. I don’t know it just sounds like “keep up the momentum” is a promotion of nuclear, as opposed to talking about safety. That don’t smell right.

  31. NRC should urgently convene with appropriate DoE and other bodies (DHS?) to consider how to avoid the unnecessary evacuation undertaken in Japan. Clearly this should not be an NRC decision, although some NRC inputs and advice would be needed for decision making, and should definitely not be left to the politicians.

    The Japanese evacuation was characteristic of an imposed risk scheme, completely failing to allow the local people to make their own judgments and evaluations of the relative dangers of abandoning their homes, communities and economies compared to whatever health risk can be assessed from radioactive material. And that health outcome should include both worst case and most-likely estimate, the latter of which has been startlingly absent from discussion.

    A large proportion of the evacuated area has been reopened – much too slowly. Recent monitoring figures from Japan’s new NRA show the most heavily contaminated area, Iitate, at only 35 mSv/yr (worst case), and most other areas well below 10mSv/yr – all of which figures are well within world-wide variations in natural background, and have no evidence of health impact.

  32. Yes, nuclear power takes lands of milk and honey, and turns them into lands of radioactive milk, and radioactive honey. You know, the NRC itself speculated the core of reactor 3 was ejected. The video showing the dirty brown mushroom cloud with debris falling back out of it advertised the fact it was not merely a hydrogen explosion, but here we see talk about the hydrogen explosion damage, nothing about spent fuel blasted into the air and spread for a mile or more. Nothing about how many people are headed toward cancer. Nothing about how many people might have nuclear fleas in their lungs now, around the northern hemisphere. Nothing about young people in Japan who have died of cesium heart attacks.

  33. The term “Pent-up” is an unusual choice of wording but I understand what you mean. It means to store up as gas is in a gas cylinder. Pent-up usually applies to ones emotions which are pent-up, or held in check.

    Mine are… Reflecting on the fact that if NRC would accept the real process producing that Hydrogen it could be prevented quite easily. Once the NRC allows the consideration of the real process, the zirconium firestorm in the core, reducing the steam and generating large amount of hydrogen, it
    will become pressing that the steam bubble covering of the fuel has to be avoided at any cost. Which is possible by venting and depressurizing the reactor and providing sufficient water reserves for
    gravity injection.

    Worldwide – including Japan. And the nuclear power plants could operate safely. At the present?

  34. There is no amount of safety practices that will stop future meltdowns, too many types of accidents to allow for and some cannot be prevented like the surges from the sun, employees sabotage, objects falling out of the sky (meters, planes, bomb and missals). The more likely event is what happened to the buildings at the twin towers. It seems that the waste fuel is not very well protected from damage. For anyone to say they can prevent another plant from melting down are out of their minds.

  35. The Chairman of the NRC has now seen first hand how administrative decisions that favor the Industry over scientific LOGIC can lead to a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima! Most of the NRC decision makers are in nuclear denial* and that in itself is something that must change before any meaningful changes in how the NRC governs the Big Utilities can be made!

    Good Luck to US…

    * http://is.gd/XPjMd0

    The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

  36. Prevent and mitigate, prevent and mitigate. These two words are forever linked together now. That’s a new phenomenon post-Fukushima (it should have been post-Chernobyl, or sooner). But mitigation is a lie! 160,000 people who can’t go home for generations to come is not mitigation, it’s utter failure! San Onofre needs to be closed, not “fixed” and restarted! NRC helping Japan’s nuclear regulators is like the pot calling the kettle black. The management / worker problems at San Onofre are as much NRC’s fault as anyone’s. NRC does not know how to mitigate a nuclear disaster, nor how to prevent one. Human nature being what it is, and nature being what IT is, these old reactors don’t stand a chance. New designs are marginally better in some ways — perhaps — but have at least one fatal flaw: They generate more waste. Give it up, NRC. Nuclear power is a failure everywhere. We’ve come close to disaster many times in America, and the inevitable meltdown, which could be 100 times worse than Fukushima was, is coming. It doesn’t take a Mayan calendar maker to set the date, just a rational person looking at the history of nuclear power around the world and at their local power plant. The more you look, the worse nuclear power looks. After we (“the activists”) warned the world for years of the dangers of tsunamis and coastal nuclear power plants, it happened. What’s next?

    Here’s my own report on your visit to Japan: http://goo.gl/QWzxB

  37. Very insightful report. Let’s hope they get those residents back in there ASAP and hang with the fanatically conservative minimum rad readings which other places on Earth happily prosper in.

    Seasons Greetings

    James Greenidge

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