Fuel Pool 35 Miles from Major American City – which Is Highly Vulnerable to Earthquakes – Contains More Radioactive Cesium than Released By Fukushima, Chernobyl and All Nuclear Bomb Tests COMBINED
The spent fuel pools at Fukushima are currently the top short-term threat to humanity. But fuel pools in the United States store an average of ten times more radioactive fuel than stored at Fukushima, have virtually no safety features, and are vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attacks.
If the water drains out for any reason, it will cause a fire in the fuel rods, as the zirconium metal jacket on the outside of the fuel rods could very well catch fire within hours or days after being exposed to air.
(Even a large solar flare could knock out the water-circulation systems for the pools.) The pools are also filling up fast, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
For nearly 30 years, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) waste-storage requirements have remained contingent on the opening of a permanent waste repository that has yet to materialize. Now that the Obama administration has cancelled plans to build a permanent, deep disposal site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, spent fuel at the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors will continue to accumulate and are likely remain onsite for decades to come.
According to Energy Department data:
The spent fuel stored at 28 reactor sites have between 200-450 million curies of long-lived radioactivity;
19 reactor sites have generated between 100-200 million curies in spent fuel;
24 reactor sites have generated about 10-100 million curies.
Over the past 30 years, there have been at least 66 incidents at U.S. reactors in which there was a significant loss of spent fuel water. Ten have occurred since the September 11 terrorist attacks, after which the government pledged that it would reinforce nuclear safety measures.