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January 19, 2012 07:16 PM UTC

At what point does "reasonably well" become "horribly catastrophic?"

  • 7 Comments
  • by: Jason Salzman

(As long as nobody’s actually glowing… – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Scott Tipton said in a radio interview last week that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors “held up reasonably well” after being struck by an earthquake and Tsunami.

So they could have been flattened, yes. But did they really hold up reasonably well?

It’s widely agreed now that the disaster caused a meltdown in three Fukushima reactors. Over ten thousand people were evacuated, and the fate of dozens of plant workers who experienced serious radiation exposure is unknown but of serious concern (at least three died, but not due to radiation exposure). Elevated levels of radiation have been found in rice, beef, milk, spinach, and tea. Leaks of radioactive material to the ocean and land still threaten fish and wildlife. The reactors remain vulnerable to earthquakes, and cleanup is estimated to take 40 years.

In his Jan. 12 KVNF interview, Tipton wasn’t asked how bad the Fukushima disaster needed to be in order for the reactors to move, in his view, from the “held-up-reasonably-well” category to the “collapsed-horribly-badly” category.

I called Tipton’s office to find out, but I didn’t get a call back.

Tipton made his comments about the world’s second-worst nuclear accident in a discussion of a proposed uranium mill for western Colorado. Tipton supports the mill.

He argued that nuclear power shouldn’t be held back due to the “big fear factor” caused by the Japanese disaster, which, he said, could be avoided if proper attention were paid to geography and safety.

“You know, as you go over into Europe, France is an example, there’s an abundance of nuclear power plants that are providing reliable energy,” Tipton told the KVNF audience. “The big fear factor, which we all understand, was after the tsunami in Japan. Those plants, for the most part, given multiple tragedies, earthquakes and Tsunami coming in, held up reasonably well. We can’t afford to have any sort of uranium leak, obviously. But we can design those plants with due consideration to where they’re going to be put, in terms of the geography that’s there, and to be able to provide reliable energy. I signed the letter in the State Legislature being supportive of the development of the [uranium] mill. When you get on the west end of Montrose County, these are good jobs. And again, we’re taking advantage of new technology, new protective measures, that are able to be put in place to be able to do it in a proper fashion to be able protect all of our varied interests. So it’s something I will be supportive of.”

Comments

7 thoughts on “At what point does “reasonably well” become “horribly catastrophic?”

  1. Last time I checked, Jason, uranium mills don’t have meltdowns. I believe in this case, Tipton was correctly differentiating between the risks of a nuclear power plant and a uranium mill.

    Whereas you would rather the people be equally and baselessly afraid.

    1. No one is claiming that uranium mills melt down, nor that western Colorado is exposed to tsunami risk.

      But to suggest that Fukushima “held up pretty well” is just plain silly. And to say it as a way to support an entirely different kind of radiation hazard…well, that’s just dumb.

      Uranium mills are toxic.  No serious person disputes that. the only question is whether and how that toxicity is managed or contained.  Or not. And who pays for it.

    2. You’re effort to spin an obviously inane comment by Rep. Tipton just show how much of a party hack you are.  

      Tipton should just shut up and keep his mouth shut on matters that he knows nothing about.  

      However, Jason, I question why you felt that it was necessary to allude that workers have died due to radiation exposure at Fukushima.  This is categorically false and only serves to provide fodder for your opponents by stating falsehoods.  

    3. Fukishima uranium mine that “held up reasonably well” and not that disaster at the nuclear power plant?

      Ok . . . I guess my advice would be that you should probably dedicate more time towards your condo sales job, and leave the news analysis and commentary to the professionals — like Palin and Perry.

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