Friday, July 06, 2007

Plant Vogtle

Georgia Power plans to add two new reactors at Plant Vogtle, a nuclear power plant near Waynesboro, Georgia. Studies completed in mid-June by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) found evidence for a much higher rate of cancer deaths in children after the plant went online in the late 1980s.

Georgia Power has now struck back with press releases to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and other news outlets which cast aspersions on the reputation of the scientists responsible for the BREDL studies. As evidence for the safety of Plant Vogtle, Georgia Power cites a six-year study of cancer rates within a 50-mile radius of the Savannah River Site (SRS), conducted by University of South Carolina/Emory University and financed by the United States Department of Energy. While the SRS study does have some bearing on the cancer risks associated with nuclear power plants located elsewhere in Georgia and throughout the southeastern United States, it would seem that Georgia Power should specifically address the findings reported by BREDL for Plant Vogtle. This strikes me as trying to dodge a bullet.

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At 9:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Don. I see many reports documenting higher cancer rates among children living near nuclear facilities in different nations,however much less research has examined U.S. rates. Why do you think that is? Are we afraid of what we might find?

At 7:43 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

There may be several factors at work here. The nuclear industry has lain dormant for at least ten years here in the United States. So there have not been new plant proposals coming to the attention of activists and environmental scientists. I also believe that we may have fewer observable health issues because we have had more land area available to us. So our power plants are more distant from population centers and our nuclear reactors are built with a less compact design than most of those in Europe. Many scientists are paid by the Department of Energy here as well. The favorable studies such as the SRS one get prominent billing in promoting the construction of new plants. There are quite a few climate scientists and "green" politicians who are strong advocates for rapid construction of new nuclear power plants in order to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and combat global warming.

At 12:24 PM , Blogger Shinade said...

I saw this post the other day while I was viewing my favorites at Technorati. This is an excellent post as all of yours are. And, as I am firm believer that we should leve Nuclear power completely alone until we are capable of safe waste disposal....I am saddened to hear this.

At 3:39 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

I knew that this was not going to be one of my "bestseller" posts, but I am glad to see that someone is reading and appreciating it nonetheless. Technorati is a great resource, although it has been a bit inconsistent of late.

At 9:57 PM , Blogger catwalq said...

And with all this awareness of the effects of toxic waste on the lives of people, we have traditional leaders that will accept payments to store waste beneath the soil

At 7:29 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

Catwalq: I think that you must be referrring here to the Goshiute reservation in Nevada. I do not know the details, but it does sound like a bad deal was made there.

At 10:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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