The Hill, Sept. 29, 2014 (emphasis added): Outgoing Energy Department Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman said Monday that climate change, and nuclear energy are the two “existential threats” facing the U.S. In his last speech as the No. 2 [official] at the Department of Energy, Poneman [said Monday] “By my count there are exactly two issues that I think could be characterized as existential threats, meaning threats that actually relate to existence of our planet, and one’s nuclear and one’s climate”… Poneman played up the role of nuclear in dealing with climate change and replacing carbon-intensive fossil fuels, touting its benefits more than its potential dangers. While citing environmental concerns surrounding nuclear, and radiation dangers posed by meltdowns like the devastating Fukushima Diiachi plant in Japan in 2011, Poneman said, the “world is in fact returning to nuclear.” He admitted that the scale of damages from the Fukushima plant disaster were “extraordinary”… When asked if he was behind nuclear a main source of dealing with climate change, Poneman said he’s a “realist.” “We need to be safe, we need to address proliferation issues,” he said. “But it has a role to play in our low carbon future.”… Still, concerns from environmentalists remain as recent reports have highlighted weaknesses in nuclear facilities ability to handle natural disasters…
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2014: U.S Science Fellows Support to the Government of Japan:Observation and Commentary on the Remediation of the Areas Off-site from the Fukashimi [Yes, that's how the EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center spelled 'Fukushima'] Reactors — Japan’s Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered damages resulting in… only the second disaster (along with Chernobyl) to be rated Level 7 (the highest level) for safety significance… Japan was profoundly impacted… The contamination level was high enough to require decontamination of the surrounding areas to protect human health and the environment. Fourteen nearby cities were evacuated and more than 100 cities beyond those will require remediation. The Government of Japan (GOJ) has been facing the enormous challenge to remediate areas affected by the nuclear incident… The Ministry [of the Environment (MOE)] has been pursuing various programs to assess the radiation exposure of the population… At the request of the MOE, the U.S. Department of State, through its Embassy Science Fellow (ESF) Program, provided assistance to the GOJ through subject matter experts in radiological decontamination… They observed that the MOE was adapting to the unprecedented wide-area nuclear incident… The team, through collaboration and coordination with other US government employees developed a framework for remediation of a cesium-contaminated populated region.
Published: September 30th, 2014 at 1:17 pm ET
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