The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a national public interest group, has for years been trying to tell the story of nuclear hazards to the American public with little success.

Last year, the UCS released a report titled “Scientists’ Group Judges Federal Nuclear Safety Inspection Effort” which received little coverage.

The report criticized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) failure to be a tough inspector of nuclear power pants. UCS spokesman Robert D. Pollard said “Nuclear power plants are inherently hazardous. Irrespective of how safe reactors are in theory, federal inspectors cannot be sure they are built and operated safely. This report shows the NRC’s inspection efforts are biased against enforcement, undermined by political considerations, weak and ineffective.”

Contrary to the common conception that the nuclear industry is closely regulated, UCS found: only one to five percent of safety related nuclear power plant activities are inspected; NRC inspectors spend most of their time inspecting utility records, not the power plants themselves; most regulatory standards are drafted by the nuclear industry itself.

As early as 1973, the Wall Street Journal, in a well-documented article, pointed out the economic liabilities of nuclear power plants and termed them “atomic lemons,” another story which did not receive widespread coverage.

Sources for these stories were the Union of Concerned Scientists Report, November 26, 1978, and The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1973.

(ED NOTE: Altogether, there were some 80 “censored” citations warning of nuclear problems since 1976, the year Project Censored started.)




The New York Times reported on March 16, 2011, that “Japan’s nuclear crisis intensified on Wednesday after the authorities announced that a second reactor at the stricken Fukushima Daichi plant in northeastern Japan may have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam.

“The break, at the No.3 reactor unit, worsened the already perilous conditions at the plant, a day after officials said the containment vessel in the No. 2 reactor had also cracked.

“But in one of a series of rapid and at time confusing pronouncements on the crisis, the authorities insisted that damage to the containment vessel at the No. 3 reactor — the main focus of concern earlier on Wednesday — was unlikely to be severe.”

Those who cannot remember the past

are condemned to repeat it!

-George Santayana