Almost 25 General Electric-designed nuclear reactors in the United States are very similar to reactors in Japan threatened with a catastrophic meltdown.
The 23 American reactors in 13 states are GE boiling-water reactors with GE's Mark I systems for containing radioactivity, the same containment system used by the reactors in trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission database that MSNBC accessed.
In addition, 12 American reactors in seven states have the later Mark II or Mark III containment system from GE.
An explosion occurred Monday at a second reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi facility, following Saturday’s explosion at another reactor there, and engineers are desperately trying to stave off a meltdown of the reactor cores.
The six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are all GE-designed boiling-water reactors, according to the anti-nuclear advocacy group Nuclear Information and Resources Service (NIRS).
The group says that five have containment systems of GE's Mark I design, and the sixth is a Mark II design. They were placed in operation between 1971 and 1979.
The Mark I has design problems, the NIRS has said.
"Some modifications have been made to U.S. Mark I reactors since 1986, although the fundamental design deficiencies remain," the NIRS said.
The following 23 U.S. plants have GE boiling-water reactors (GE models 2, 3 or 4) with the same Mark I containment design used at Fukushima, according to the NRC online database:
- Browns Ferry 1, Athens, Ala., operating license since 1973, reactor type GE 4
- Browns Ferry 2, Athens, Ala., 1974, GE 4
- Browns Ferry 3, Athens, Ala., 1976, GE 4
- Brunswick 1, Southport, N.C, 1976, GE 4.
- Brunswick 2, Southport, N.C., 1974, GE 4.
- Cooper, Brownville, Neb., 1974, GE 4.
- Dresden 2, Morris, Ill., 1970, GE 3.
- Dresden 3, Morris, Ill., 1971, GE 3.
- Duane Arnold, Palo, Iowa, 1974, GE 4.
- Fermi 2, Monroe, Mich., 1985, GE 4.
- FitzPatrick, Scriba, N.Y., 1974, GE 4.
- Hatch 1, Baxley, Ga., 1974, GE 4.
- Hatch 2, Baxley, Ga., 1978, GE 4.
- Hope Creek, Hancock's Bridge, N.J. 1986, GE 4.
- Monticello, Monticello, Minn., 1970, GE 3.
- Nine Mile Point 1, Scriba, N.Y., 1969, GE 2.
- Oyster Creek, Forked River, N.J., 1969, GE 2.
- Peach Bottom 2, Delta, Pa., 1973, GE 4.
- Peach Bottom 3, Delta, Pa., 1974, GE 4.
- Pilgrim, Plymouth, Mass., 1972, GE 3.
- Quad Cities 1, Cordova, Ill., 1972, GE 3.
- Quad Cities 2, Moline, Ill., 1972, GE 3.
- Vermont Yankee, Vernon, Vt., 1972, GE 4.
These 12 newer GE boiling-water reactors have a Mark II or Mark III design:
- Clinton, Clinton, Ill., 1987, GE 6, Mark III.
- Columbia Generating Station, Richland, Wash., 1984, GE 5, Mark II.
- Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Miss., 1984, GE 6, Mark III.
- LaSalle 1, Marseilles, Ill., 1982, GE 5, Mark II.
- LaSalle 2, Marseilles, Ill., 1983, GE 5, Mark II.
- Limerick 1, Limerick, Pa., 1985, GE 4, Mark II.
- Limerick 2, Limerick, Pa., 1989, GE 4, Mark II.
- Nine Mile Point 2, Scriba, N.Y., 1987, GE 5, Mark II.
- Perry, Perry, Ohio, 1986, GE 6, Mark III.
- River Bend, St. Francisville, La., 1985, GE 6, Mark III.
- Susquehanna 1, Salem Township, Pa., 1982, GE 4, Mark II.
- Susquehanna 2, Salem Township, Pa., 1984, GE 4, Mark II.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Tokyo Electric tested the Fukushima plant to withstand an earthquake of a magnitude no greater than 7.9. The magnitude of the Japan quake on Friday is now thought to be 9.0.
The United States has 104 nuclear reactors, generating about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. The NRC has applications for 20 new reactors.
In January, President Barack Obama touted nuclear power, saying it could set “clean energy” standards for the country.
But the Los Angeles Times observes: “The nuclear crisis in Japan, even if authorities are able to bring damaged reactors under control, has cast doubts on the future of nuclear power as a clean-energy solution in the United States and around the globe.”
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