AOH :: NUKACDNT.TXT|
Secret documents reveal danger of nuclear accidents
SECRET DOCUMENTS REVEAL DANGER OF NUCLEAR ACCIDENTS
Last March 11, NBC broadcast a documentary called "Nuclear
Power: In France It Works," which could have passed for a lengthy
nuclear power commercial. Missing from anchorman Tom Brokaw's
introduction was the fact that NBC's owner, General Electric, is
America's second largest nuclear power company and third largest
producer of nuclear weapons systems.
One month after the documentary, accidents occurred at two
French nuclear installations, injuring seven workers. THE
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR wrote of a "potentially explosive
debate" in France, with new polls showing a third of the French
public opposing nuclear power. That story was not reported on NBC
news. The NBC policy that produced the pro-nuclear power
documentary while censoring the news about two nuclear accidents
is typical of the international silence about reactor incidents,
which bolsters the industy's undeserved reputation for safety.
Nuclear safety did come under fire last year, however, when
the mainstream West German weekly DER SPIEGEL published 48 of the
more than 250 secret nuclear reactor accident reports compiled by
the International Atomic Energy Agency. These previously secret
documents were published in English for the first time in EARTH
Some of the underreported incidents: February 1983 --
Bulgaria's Kozluduj nuclear power plant lost pressure in the
primary cooling system; June 1983 -- three of four pumps fail in
Argentina's Embalse nuclear plant; August 1984 -- the primary
cooling system in West Germany's Bruno Leuschner plant in
Greifswald burst; January 1985 -- at Pakistan's Kanupp reactor,
radioactive heavy water leaks while being transferred through a
rubber hose; April 1985 -- radioactive water and sludge swamp two
rooms of an auxiliary building at Belgium's Tihange reactor.
In several of these previously unreported nuclear slipups, a
"meltdown was a real possibility," noted DER SPIEGEL.
A survey of official records since the Three Mile Island
reactor meltdown in 1979 shows there have been more that 23,000
mishaps at U.S. reactors -- and the number is increasing. In 1986,
there were more than 3,000 reported incidents -- up 24 percent
since 1984. DER SPIEGEL's chilling conclusion: "Humanity has been
sitting on a powderkeg as a result of reliance on the 'peaceful'
use of the atom."
Sources: EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL, Summer 1987, "Secret Documents
Reveal Nuclear Accidents Worldwide," by Gar Smith with Hans
Hollitscher; EXTRA!, June 1987, "Nuclear Broadcasting Company."
From: UTNE READER, September/October 1988, pp. 85-86.
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