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This morning, officials announced that New Jersey’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant is no longer on alert. The alert was brought on by quickly rising water levels, which posed a danger to the plant’s cooling equipment. Oyster Creek wasn’t the only nuclear plant to be affected by Hurricane Sandy; three other rectors in New Jersey and Upstate New York were also forced offline by the storm. Even though those facilities dodged the bullet this time, it brings to light just how vulnerable the nation’s nuclear energy facilities are to extreme weather events.
The Oyster Creek facility in Forked River, New Jersey, took precautions and went offline as Hurricane Sandy approached. The Salem plant in New Jersey and plants in parts of New York, including Nine Mile Point Unit 1 outside of Syracuse, and Indian Point Unit 3 in Upstate New York were also jostled by the hurricane, with related complications.
While the complications of Hurricane Sandy have been acknowledged as a possible factor of climate change by Mayor Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, attention should next be paid to climate change’s potential impact on our country’s nuclear reactors. Until the United States becomes entirely free of nuclear energy, extreme weather patterns caused by climate change pose a very real and dangerous threat to nuclear disaster, as seen last year with Japan’s Fukushima crisis.
The devestation caused across the United States and Caribbean by Hurricane Sandy has proven the increasing severity of tropical storms, and their threat to nuclear power plants, which has the potential to cause an even greater disaster.
Via Washington Post