The nuclear industry is trying to double down despite Fukushima. We learned today that the Turkey Point Power Plant has added 400 megawatts to its capacity. Turkey Point is located in one of the most dangerous places in the world to have a nuclear power plant, right in hurricane country. It is located 25 miles south of Miami, which sees its share of hurricanes every year.
Hurricane Katrina killed thousands of people, for those of us with short memories. This is just an accident waiting to happen -- what would have happened if there had been a nuclear plant in the vicinity and it had taken a direct hit from the storm? Note that Turkey Point is located in one of the most heavily populated areas in the country; therefore, a combination of Katrina and Fukushima could possibly unleash one of the worst disasters we have ever experienced here in this country.
Normally, I believe in free enterprise, but when you have disasters like Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island, then there is a compelling public interest in preventing future disasters of the magnitude of these three. The nuclear industry has failed to meet the burden of proof in demonstrating that Turkey Point would be safe in the event of a direct hit from a Katrina-style hurricane. Given that Florida is in the heart of hurricane country, it is not a matter of if, but when such a disaster will strike. And given the fact of scientific man-made global warming, this is a risk that will only grow over time.
It is unacceptable for a nuclear plant to be located in any part of the country where there is substantial risk of tornadoes, earthquakes, or hurricanes unless the utility that wishes to build it meets the burden of proof that such a plant would be safe and that such a plant would be an improvement on existing plants.
Advocates of the nuclear industry present the debate as a false choice between nuclear and coal. But there is a third alternative. Let's put a solar or wind farm in every community in this country and we'll see how much of a handle we can get on our energy needs. There is no danger from mass catastrophe like there is from nuclear plants. Then, we can talk about where we need to go from here.