…Regulation has failed to ensure safety. When a Japanese whistleblower revealed in 2000 that Tokyo Electric had falsified inspection records and hidden cracks at Daiichi, two years passed before then-prefectural governor Eisaku Sato was informed. He recently told the New York Times: “An organization that is inherently untrustworthy is charged with ensuring the safety of Japan’s nuclear plants. So the problem is not limited to Tokyo Electric, which has a long history of cover-ups, but it’s the whole system that is flawed. That’s frightening.”
The same frightening flaws and cracks exist not only in U.S. nuclear power plants, but in our own corrupted, pro-industry regulatory system.
In both democracies, citizens cannot vote to shut down a dangerous plant. Except, quite possibly, in Vermont, where Vermont Yankee (VY), an aging, accident-prone plant owned by Entergy, is nearing the end of its 40-year license. The General Electric Mark 1 boiling water model was discontinued in 1972, the year it was built in Vermont and one year after Fukushima began operating.
By 2002, Vermont Yankee’s poor safety record prompted the state to require Entergy to obtain a certificate of public good before it could extend its license past 2012. Last year the legislature denied that certificate…
The nuclear industry and the feds will likely fight back. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission just rubberstamped Entergy’s renewal request, as it did with all 64 other re-licensing requests. Entergy will likely sue Vermont all the way to the Supreme Court.