Schnoor: Let’s learn from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo is Iowas lone source of nuclear power.

“Is nuclear power worth the risk?” That’s the broad question posed by Jerry Schnoor, CGRER co-director, in an editorial in Environmental and Science Technology.

In the piece, Schnoor describes seven lessons to me learned from the ongoing efforts to contain  radiation after a massive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami rocked the eastern coast of Japan in March, leading to a nuclear meltdown.

As Iowa continues to debate whether the state should add a second nuclear power plant, one of Schnoor’s suggestions would ring true to opponents of the plan: “Don’t finance a project if the government must underwrite the insurance or collateral the investment.” Continue reading

Nebraska nuclear workers exposed to high radiation levels

Photo by Petr Adamek, Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Petr Adamek, Wikimedia Commons

Three workers at a Nebraska nuclear plant were exposed to high levels of radiation on April 3 after failing to follow protocol when removing a highly radioactive steel rod from the plant’s reactor vessel.

Workers at the Brownville plant – just minutes from Iowa’s southwest border – were not exposed to levels that surpassed federal guidelines, according to a Nebraska Public Power District spokesman, but the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is now investigating the incident – a process that may take several days. Continue reading

Radiation from Japanese disaster has not hit Iowa, officials say

Though monitors in Iowa recently detected an increase in radiation, the elevated level cannot be linked to the nuclear disaster in Japan, nor is it dangerous, the Iowa Department of Health says.

The Des Moines Register reports:

Levels in Iowa are within the normal range coming from natural sources and from facilities such as coal-burning power plants. There is no way to tell if a Japanese plant damaged by tsunamis contributed.

Iowans are in no danger from the radiation at the levels monitored, the department said.

Trace levels of radiation in several Western states have been linked to Japan, but pose no danger to public health, according to officials.