Note — I have written previously about other aspects of this subject here, here, here, and here. I am not by nature an alarmist about nuclear power or even particularly anti-nuclear. But sometimes truth just has to be told.
Nobody died following the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. I should know because I was there. But this fact can’t be attributed to any wisdom of the U.S. nuclear industry, but simply to dumb luck. The two TMI reactors were (and still are) the only such devices ever built deliberately on the approach path to a U.S. Air Force base, now Harrisburg International Airport. An extra 18 inches of reinforced concrete was added to the TMI containment buildings to protect them if hit by a fully laden B-52. No other reactors in the USA had (or have) such thick containment vessels. Had Unit 2 been built to the standards of all its sister reactors like Rancho Seco in California, hydrogen explosions would have breached the containment just as they have in Japan and many people would have died just as they will in Japan.
Notice my emphasis in that last paragraph? Japanese people, probably hundreds and maybe thousands, will probably die as a result of the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear accidents following the tsunami earlier this year. This is according to old nuclear safety contacts of mine from TMI days currently working the accident in Japan. Those sources tell me there is a coverup.
Why there might be a coverup is pretty obvious. It will take years for people to die as a result of the accidents yet political parties want to remain in power right now and the Japanese nuclear industry wants to remain key to that nation’s energy plan. So men with gray hair who are nowhere near Fukishima and are not themselves in any physical danger are downplaying the accident still and apparently keeping the truth from reaching those who are endangered.
The public health situation at Fukishima Daiichi and beyond is apparently far worse than we have been told.