Local Watchdog Group Warns About Nuclear Accidents

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The crisis in Japan has prompted a local watchdog group to issue its own warning.

Alex DeMetrick reports during the past two weeks, the Maryland Public Interest Group has been compiling information it says shows the nuclear accident in Japan could happen in the U.S. 

As radiation levels continue to climb at Japan’s crippled nuclear power plants, critics of nuclear power have been busy issuing their own warnings.

The latest comes in a report compiling incidents of problems at U.S. plants.

“The report Maryland PIRG is releasing today clearly shows nuclear power is too risky for our communities,” said Johanna Neumann, Maryland PIRG.

The report claims 17 significant incidents since the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. 

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has identified significant precursors to a meltdown,” said Neumann.

But the two closest nuclear plants are not mentioned in the report. 

Calvert Cliffs has repaired cracks in pipes and concrete in the past.

“I think that the people around Calvert Cliffs and those communities are completely safe.  I don’t think they should be concerned at all,” said Brew Barron, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

At the Peach Bottom Nuclear Plant, bridges had to be reinforced last summer in order to move in seven new massive transformers as part of an ongoing upgrade.

“Today, nuclear power is a lot safer because of that.  The training of our people is top-notch,” said Ralph DeSantos, TMI spokesman.

Locally, the report claims an incident developed eight years ago at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Maryland.

“In 2003, radioactive hydrogen was leaking from the plant and workers identified the source of that radioactive hydrogen as one of the original pipes that was laid into the ground more than 40 years ago,” said Neumann.   

But the incident did not lead to problems outside the plant, and the industry disputes what happened in Japan is likely to happen here.

“The actions taken by the industry since Three Mile Island have prepared us to deal with events just like Japan and maybe even worse,” said Marvin Fertel, Nuclear Energy Institute.

But those assurances are still coming with comprehensive safety reviews of plants by operators and federal regulators.

Constellation Energy, which owns Calvert Cliffs, has been trying to get a third reactor built at the plant.  Cost has been a major obstacle.  It’s not clear what impact Japan’s crisis will have on those plans.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Kurt

    “Local watchdog group warns about nuclear accidents” – really? Whatever could have given them the reason? Duh! But you know what? It is still the safest and cleanest form of energy to date. I hope they build another reactor at Calvert Cliffs especially if it could help lower our energy costs. Wind power is a joke! GE is just taking money from the feds and hedging their bets because they know they are the favored child.

    The U.S. needs to be entirely energy independent. I am all for new means of energy but in the meantime let’s do us all a favor and drill the ANWR. There is over 10 million acres and only 5,000 are needed to drill. Safety can be maintained and the country’s economy would be better for it.

  • Adam

    There should be a world wide ban on nuclear power.

    A little exposure today and a little more next week does not give you two “little bits’ It gives one larger amount. It keeps adding up.

    Oh!! It can be controled said the naked man as he led a hungry tiger by it’s tail.
    Oh! Well, now there is just a fat tiger.

    Any of your kids have thyroid problems, any have leukimiea yet???


    • Ronald G Miner Jr

      Replace it with what? You have no idea what you are speaking about;

  • Ronald G Miner Jr

    PIRG is nothing more than a liberal clearing house for environmental whackos and community organizers like our current Coward in Chief. These ACORN wanna-bes claim to be advocates for families in Maryland, but if you do a little checking, you will find they are pushing to have corporate tax loop holes close, which would cost millions of jobs lost..How’s that for family wellness?

  • Ronald G Miner Jr

    Adam, please tell me what you are going to replace the nuke power with before you start shutting it down. Wind? Solar? RIGHT…do a little checking Adam…You would have to to have solar cells cover thousands of square miles just to power the island of Manhattan…Wind? Sorry, not going to work…Before you start screaming how bad NUKE is for us maybe you should have a viable alternative so we all don’t have to live in the stone age again….

    • challenge

      Doesnt matter what you replace it with.
      We want them GONE!

      Nuclear power plants were a bad idea from Day One! We never knew what to do with the waste, what do in case of an emergency ( Japan’s a perfect example ), or what do with the aging plant when it is no longer functionable — but still has all that radioactivity within its walls.

      If we have come so far, we need to band together with the world and Help Japan get this immediate danger under control! The effects from this disaster will be worse than Chernobyl or TMI.

      And if we have to conserve or go back to the old days, so be it!

      Killing people and the world is not my idea of progress!

      • Andrew Stevens

        Theres nothing you can replace it with that will be as efficient at generating electricity as nuclear power. Replace it with coal burning plants all the environmental wackos will go nuts. Wind powered won’t work unless you set aside entire states to make enough power to be worth it.

      • amy ellen

        nuclear radiation, pollution, destroyed animals from gas carrying ships…….don’t foresee any government officia giving a damn cause they get their kickbacks from the big businesses in this country. anyone who thinks that there is a possibility of good changes, just look into the salaries the government officials get …….. greed is greatest in this country !!!

  • Voice of Reason

    ….you type from your computer powered from nuclear energy. Sure, let’s just shut the plants down. Do you realize that nuclear energy powers over 20% of the already struggling electric grid? So what do you suggest, burning more fossil fuels? I’m sure the EPA would love that. Thousands of windmills that can’t compete with one nuclear reactor? Then there would be protesters for wind noise and asthetics. People seem to forget that TMI was in 1979, 32 years ago. Do you really think we learned nothing from that incident? Our plants are in my opinion the safest in the world. So if you don’t support the nuclear energy your home is using this very minute, shut your electric off when you’re finished reading this. Or your power company can do that for you…once you can’t afford your bill without nuclear power.

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