Mar 31 2011
As we contemplate the dire situation and threat to the survival of our species regarding Japan’s damaged nuclear power reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, we should also keep in mind the larger – and terrifying – picture. Here are some sobering numbers:
As of January 2011 there were/are 442 nuclear power-generating stations in 30 countries (and 65 more under construction). I am not sure how many actual reactors this implies because many stations have multiple reactors (such as the Fukushima plant).
There were 373 research reactors in 55 countries in January 2009 (current data = ?). These are typically located at universities, where they are operated by graduate students (!).
There are approximately 200 naval vessels (currently on active duty) in the world’s navies that are nuclear powered. The exact number is difficult to determine as it seems to change rapidly and there are secrecy issues involved.
442 + 373 + 200 = 1015
As we witness the leaking of plutonium (the most toxic substance known) and radioactive cesium into the ocean and atmosphere from a single damaged facility, think about the fact that there are over 1000 nuclear reactors on land and floating around on our planet.
These are just the active reactors. Add to this number all of the hundreds and hundreds of sites (no one even knows how many) where the tons and tons of nuclear waste and spent fuel is “stored”… and must be contained (somehow and by who?) for thousands of years – because it remains deadly for thousands of years after losing its COMMERCIAL VALUE.
At least we know where the reactors are – but we don’t even know where the waste is. My bet: it’s closer than you think.
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