Nuclear power safety one year after Fukushima disaster

Damaged nuclear plant
The damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Okuma, Japan, on Monday, March 14, 2011. This was taken at 11:04 a.m. local time, 3 minutes after an explosion.

This month marked the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power disaster that devastated Japan. In Minnesota, one of the state's two nuclear power facilities, Prairie Island, recently had a chemical leak, which stirred up concern about the safety of plants here in the states.

With hundreds of nuclear power plants in the US, we look at how regulations have changed since Fukushima and whether Americans should be concerned about nuclear power plants across the country.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, will join The Daily Circuit Tuesday.

"I believe that we're going to have nuclear reactors around for some time and although I don't think a Fukushima will happen in the US, ensuring nuclear safety is absolutely critical," he said. "Maintaining competence for personnel is important. The people who will suffer first are the workers; that's what we've seen in Fukushima."

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Adrian Heymer, senior director of strategic programs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, will also join the discussion. He said there were a lot of lessons from the Fukuskima disaster.

"We have learned some things from Fukushima in terms of emergency planning and improved communications," he said. "Right now we're looking to move toward satellite communications for plants...We're reevaluating the hazards from natural phenomenon so that we can handle changes in the environment."


Many more people live by reactors than I thought and that number is increasing.