If you read this blog, or newspapers, or magazines, you are fed a panoply of interesting and current topics. Things come and go. Yet, many of these things fester in the background, out of sight from even the most avid news reader.
Today, you’re reading about the problems at Rutgers, even though similar problems are pervasive across many educational institutions. The reason Rutgers is in the news is that videos were released. Several months ago, you read about Hurricane Sandy. Yet, that one widespread incident is only part of a festering story about global climate change.
There’s another big story festering, but it didn’t make the headlines today. Instead, it was relegated to page 16 of today’s New York Times. It’s the story about the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who said that every one of this nation’s 104 nuclear reactors is inherently unsafe, including the four in the Garden State – one in Ocean County and three in Salem County.
If you live in Edison or Cape May or the Philly suburbs, you’re probably thinking, “Why worry? Those nukes are in pretty remote areas.” But keep in mind that when the Fukushima disaster happened, the same Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended a 50 mile evacuation zone. (Shown below the fold are the recommended evacuation areas for New Jersey’s nukes.) If you live in Newark, you’re within the recommended evacuation zone of a disaster at the Indian Point reactor on the Hudson River.
The Oyster Creek reactor in Lacey Township is of the same design as Fukushima and is the oldest operating reactor in the U.S. The owners have said they will close it down in 2019, but there’s no guarantee that they will keep their promise, and no guarantee that they’ll remediate the site if they do.
Despite the promises of that great nuclear scientist, Walt Disney, nuclear power has never been the cheap, reliable source of energy that was promised. Those 104 power plants represent a foul legacy that our descendants will have to clean up for generations to come. But we need to start now. Germany has taken the lead in steps to abandon dirty nuclear power in 11 years. We need to do the same. Before one of our unsafe reactors dominates the front page of the New York Times and “Glowing” Blue Jersey.