Christine Whitman’s Nuclear Option

This letter was published in Business Week

“Whitman says: “Despite its controversial reputation, nuclear is efficient and reliable.” Yet since 1950 there have been 20 nuclear accidents. One was major (on Mar. 28, 1979, at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor) and one catastrophic (on Apr. 26, 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant). How can we say a major nuclear accident will not happen again?

Here’s the reality: Accidents occur because humans make errors. Those errors can be hidden at the design, maintenance, management, operation, and even the regulation level. In addition, there are conditions that increase the likelihood of human error such as fatigue, stress, attention and memory overload. The risk of another catastrophic nuclear accident exists. While the risk is low, the consequences could be disastrous.

You have to ask yourself: On what do you want to bet your future?”

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