Are Nuclear Power Plants Safe?

I have had a number of very interesting and challenging conversations with students about environmental issues this year. My podcast with one of the Leadership Jumpstart teams, P.A.W.S. focused on their environmental efforts and we plan to show “Who Killed the Electric Car” and host a discussion with faculty later this spring. So what is the most effecient, cleanest, and safest source of power? Could it be nuclear?

Penn State Live

Burning fossil fuels to make electricity releases many tons of carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Today, as the United States and other nations search for “greener” ways of generating energy, nuclear power is getting a fresh look. The process yields huge quantities of electricity with essentially zero emissions of greenhouse gases. But are nuclear power plants safe?”Nuclear plants are very safe,” asserted Forrest J. Remick, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering, adding, “It helps to compare their safety record with that of other major industries.” In 2005, the industrial accident rate for nuclear power plant workers was 0.24 per 200,000 worker hours, compared with 3.5 accidents per 200,000 worker hours for all manufacturing industries (14.6 times greater). But what about those of us who live near nuclear plants? Said Remick, “No member of the public has been killed or injured from radiation during the nearly 50 years that commercial nuclear power plants have been operating in the U.S.”

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