Markey: Distribute Potassium Iodide Near Nukes

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 07:57 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is calling for a moratorium on building new nuclear power plants along fault lines and urging the distribution of potassium iodide, a radiation-fighting compound, to residents living within a larger radius around current facilities than currently prescribed.

markey, radiation, pills, us, nukes“I think, number one, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should ensure that potassium iodide is distributed within a 20-mile radius — not a 10-mile radius — around nuclear power plants to protect against thyroid cancer, especially in children,” Markey said Tuesday on CNN.

“Number two, I would have a complete review of all nuclear power plants that are in earthquake zones to make sure that they have the proper safety protections, especially for cooling the plant in the event of an adverse event,” Markey said. “Number three, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission right now is in the process of approving a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, that one of the highest-ranking Nuclear Regulatory Commission scientists has said is, in fact, so vulnerable that it could crack like a — shatter like a glass cup under stress. They should review that process as well.”

CNN’s Eliot Spitzer asked about new nuclear plants in non-seismic areas. Markey repeated his assertion that Wall Street and the nuclear industry will determine whether to build those facilities.

“What’s happening right now is that Wall Street and the nuclear utility industry is saying that we will not build any new nuclear power plants unless there is a loan guarantee program from the American taxpayer. That is that the American taxpayer becomes liable in the event that something goes wrong,” Markey said. “As a result — natural gas, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal — other renewable energy resources, will be looked upon much more favorably in the future than they have been in the past because of this incident in Japan.

“Wind and solar is being now deployed in massive numbers,” Markey said. “And even if it moves at a relatively slow pace, there will be 100 times more renewables that come on line in 10 to 13 years than any nuclear power, which is added to the grid and used for electrical supply within our country. So it's basically a question of economics.

“Nuclear power may have met its maker in the marketplace over this past weekend.”

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