Opinion Blog: Are United States Power Plants Prepared for Disaster?

May 6, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

Posted by Lesley Isaacs
lisaacs@smu.edu

The nuclear power plants in the United States are not prepared for a disaster like the one that recently hit Japan.

The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan dramatically affected the nuclear power plants in the immediate area. While Japan is struggling to contain the damage and prevent further exposure of the radiation, many are left wondering if the United States is prepared for such a crisis.

There are currently over 100 nuclear power plants generating electrical energy throughout the United States. They are regulated by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission based in Washington D.C. The commission also regulates about 36 research and test reactors that are primarily located at universities where they are used for research, testing, and training.

In Japan, one of the main problems is the continuing evacuation of residents around power plants. The evacuation zones are growing as the destruction of nuclear reactors in power plants increases. This puts their residents in serious danger of radiation exposure.

The United States also has numerous power plants that are active in highly populated areas. If there is an incident where a radiation leak exceeds the federal government protective action guides, the power plant representatives are required to give recommendations to the state or local government within 15 minutes. They must also inform the NRC within one hour of a radiation release that could affect the public health and safety.

Although action guides require quick notification, citizens could be exposed to radiation from these nuclear power plants for an hour before they are informed there is a danger. Japan has taken precautions to decrease the exposure the nuclear power plant employees are getting but what about the citizens who might be exposed?

Would the United States be able to evacuate quickly enough so that residents wouldn’t be exposed? If not, there could be longterm effects. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said many survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs in the 1940s and many of the firefighters who first responded after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1986 became ill with ARS (Acute Radiation Syndrome).

The fact that the United States has active power plants and is conducting research in such populated areas only strengthens the case that we would not be prepared for a disaster to happen. The surrounding areas would be damaged from a disaster that destroyed the power plants, which have the capability of leaking radiation into the air.

President Obama and Congress need to step up and make sure that the nuclear power plants in the United States are up to date on regulations and emergency preparedness. We certainly don’t need another situation the like the Gulf oil spill.

VIDEO: Dallas Non-Profits Support Japan

April 18, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Video and editing by Sydney Giesey
sschmidt@smu.edu

Japan is still facing difficulties more than a month after an earthquake and tsunami wrecked the northeast coast. Experts say the situation will most likely get worse before it gets better.

From hosting concerts to selling t-shirts, Dallas non-profits are finding ways to help.

The Daily Update: Friday, April 15

April 15, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Why are people in Japan receiving compensations? What damages were caused by the storm last night? And see how SMU is celebrating its 100 anniversary! All this and more on your Daily Update!

The Daily Update: Monday, April 11

April 11, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Monday, April 11 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Japan is suffering after another earthquake and the unrest in the Middle East is shaking up gas prices in the United States. The demand for used cars is also increasing, find out how you can make a profit from this trend. All this and more on your Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Thursday, April 7

April 7, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The government might shut down tomorrow, leaving 800,000 people without a job. Dish Network’s agreement to buy Blockbuster could keep the company alive, and an april fools joke in Maryland left a man glued to a toilet seat in Walmart. All this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Thursday, April 7 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The Daily Update: Wednesday, April 6

April 6, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Find out what Southwest is doing with their fleet. What are Dallas nonprofits doing in Japan? And find out how a man was saved from a gator attack in a very unusual matter. All this and more on your Daily Update!

Daily Update: Wednesday, April 6 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The Daily Update: Friday, April 1

April 2, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Texas roadways didn’t do well on their report card, Ranger’s ticket prices have sky rocketed and Kate Middleton won’t be putting a ring on it. All this and more on your Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Friday, April 1 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Japanese Earthquake Rattles American Car Industry

March 31, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Bridget Bennett
brekow@smu.edu

VIDEO: Japan Impact from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The effects of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan are being felt throughout the American auto industry.

Toyota announced that it’s U.S. manufacturing plants are preparing for a possible shutdown. More than 70 percent of their vehicles are produced in the U.S.; however, small component parts made in Japan are needed to continue production.

Foreign-based auto companies are not alone in this crunch.

American auto producers Ford and General Motors depend on small component parts like paint pigments and computer chips that are manufactured in Japan.

Daily Update: Wednesday, March 30

March 31, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Why did a U.S. Navy ship fired 22 Tomahawk cruise missiles? What is the latest update on the Japan nuclear reactor? And who will give SMU’s commencement speech? Find out all this and more on your Daily Update! Anchored by SMU-TV’s Bridget Bennett and Sydney Geisey.

Daily Update, Update March 30, 2011 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, March 29

March 29, 2011 by · Comments Off 

President Obama explains why he feels U.S. involvement in Libya is necessary. At least 120 people are dead after an ammunition factory exploded in Yemen, and religious leaders in Washington are going on a hunger strike. Here on the hilltop, candidates for SMU Student Senate will debate tonight at five p.m. All this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, March 29 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

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