January 26, 2014

23 US Nuclear Plants use same GE Fukushima reactors

By Mark Wachtler

January 26, 2014. (ONN) With residents of western North America in a near panic over reports of ever-increasing radiation from Fukushima, critics have shifted their complaints to something even more feared. Some are accusing the Obama administration of downplaying the dangers from Japan in order to avoid the fact that 23 reactors in the US are the same allegedly faulty General Electric model that failed in Fukushima.

Locations of the 23 GE Mark I nuclear reactors in the US, the same model that failed in Fukushima. Image courtesy of EmeraldEcocity.com.

Until now, it’s been somewhat of a secret that General Electric designed the six nuclear reactors that were damaged and melted down in Fukushima in 2011. In fact, GE actually manufactured three of the six, while Toshiba built two and Hitachi produced one. The design that five of the six reactors were manufactured to were the GE Mark I model, while the sixth was the later GE Mark II version. Both models have been criticized since their inception in the 1960’s as having a faulty design.



Obama, General Electric and nuclear catastrophe

Journalist and Editor of The Daily Sheeple, Chris Carrington, published a story recently that revealed quite a bit of information connecting the nuclear meltdowns in Japan to radiation denials by President Obama, and onto GE CEO Jeff Immelt. GE and Immelt have been longtime donors to and supporters of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. It seems every time GE needs a $139 billion bailout like it did in 2008, a regulatory law change, exemption or other government favor, Democratic elected officials get a generous contribution and then return the favor.

President Obama and fellow Democrats have been so appreciative of Jeff Immelt’s financial help, Obama named the General Electric CEO as the country’s Jobs Czar after his first election in 2008. At the same time, Immelt and GE were accepting an emergency $139 billion taxpayer-backed bailout to save its GE Capital financial division. Critics like us here at Whiteout Press were incensed at that appointment. Historically speaking, GE and Jeff Immelt are one of, if not thee, worst outsourcer of American jobs in US history.

Almost immediately after President Obama announced Immelt’s appointment to government Czar, the powerful CEO announced GE was closing its entire X-Ray technology headquarters and moving the jobs to China, where Immelt commonly brags is the corporation’s, “other home.” GE’s X-Ray headquarters had proudly operated in Waukesha, Wisconsin for 115 years. Read the 2011 Whiteout Press article, ‘White House Jobs Czar sends Jobs to China’ for more information.

So when The Daily Sheeple featured an article by Chris Carrington suggesting a cover-up of the dangers posed to Americans over their own GE-designed nuclear reactors, many took notice. The author also laid quite a bit of blame on Japanese, American and GE officials spanning the past 40 years for their own cover-up of the dangers posed by the General Electric reactors – dangers that came to fruition in 2011.

“We all know that the radiation from the stricken Fukushima plant has spread around the globe and is poisoning people worldwide,” Carrington writes, “We all know that the West Coast of the United States is being polluted with radioactive debris and that the oceans, the beaches that border them, and even the air is becoming more polluted by radioactivity as time goes on. You have to ask yourself why the government won’t admit this. It’s not like a disaster half a world away is their fault, is it?”

All the warnings were ignored

Researcher and reporter Chris Carrington goes back to 1972 to begin exposing the cover-up that led to the 2011 catastrophe in Fukushima. It was in that year that Stephen H. Hanauer of the Atomic Energy Commission called on GE to discontinue its Mark I nuclear reactor design because it, “presented unacceptable safety risks.”

Immediately after, Joseph Hendrie who would later become the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, agreed that the Mark I should be stopped. But instead of warning the world about the dangers of the GE design, he warned the nuclear industry that the design was so popular and already in place around the world, a warning of its danger, “could well be the end of nuclear power.”

Since then, other experts have warned about the dangers of the GE Mark I design. Their usual concerns are two-fold. First, the reactors were criticized for not being equipped to handle the pressure that would ensue if cooling power suddenly shut off. The second warning was over the design’s spent fuel rod cooling ponds. They are 100 feet in the air near the top of each reactor. In Fukushima’s case, one of the six reactors was installed in 1971, prior to the warnings. But the other five were put online between 1973 and 1979, long after the dangers were well known.



General Electric

The article author cites a number of critics who reportedly believe General Electric should be held partially liable for the disaster in Japan. They insist that GE not only designed the faulty reactors, but built them and has been on-site to run them for the Japanese utility TEPCO all this time. In fact, they suggest that GE is actually profiting from the disaster by outsourcing its knowledge and expertise to the Japanese government in a multi-billion-dollar effort to contain the still-leaking radiation.

The report goes on to explain that even if negligence is discovered, on either TEPCO or GE’s part, both corporations are exempt from liability. Apparently, all nuclear reactor operators pay into a general liability fund, just like US banks, in case of large-scale accidents. It’s estimated that each nuclear plant pays roughly $100 million into the fund, which reportedly exceeds $10 billion. For that insurance payment, the reactor manufacturers and operators are exempt from liability.

Critics argue that $100 million per site is nowhere near enough money to cover the clean-up of a Fukushima-style disaster. Japanese authorities have already set aside $80 billion to clean-up Fukushima, and there are still 10,000 more years to babysit the contaminated nuclear site. That’s 800-times the amount US authorities have allowed the nuclear corporations to pay for the insurance policy on what could potentially be a $1 trillion-dollar-disaster after all is said and done.

White House silence

Carrington and The Daily Sheeple suggest that President Obama’s silence on the topic is due to his fear that someone might mention the fact that there are currently 23 GE Mark I nuclear power reactors operating in the United States.

“Any admission that radiation has spread across the Pacific Ocean and contaminated American soil is an admission that the technology was flawed, and that same flawed technology is being used in the United States,” Carrington says, “The government does not want anyone looking closer at the situation. They don’t want people poking around asking questions about why the radiation got out in the first place - it’s too close to home.”



The article goes on to ask, ‘Nothing has been published regarding the increased rates of miscarriage and childhood thyroid cancers. Why is that?’ The author has a point. Hypothyroid disease is a mandatory test in babies here in the US. Test results since the Fukushima disaster show an increase in newborns testing positive for the radiation-induced disease throughout America’s western states. But the scientific community has been eerily silent on the anomaly for three years now while the US President publicly insists it’s untrue.

The point the author was trying to make wasn’t so much that the GE-designed reactors are faulty or that the governments and scientific communities in America and Japan are covering up the world’s exposure to the radiation emanating from Fukushima. The point is that there are 23 nuclear reactors of the same design operating in the US. 23 reactors with spent fuel rod cooling ponds suspended 100 feet in the air. 23 reactors located in states susceptible to earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or all three. 23 Fukushima’s waiting to happen in the United States. That’s what nobody wants to talk about.

For more information, read the report from The Daily Sheeple.

 

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