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Institute for Policy Studies
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  • March 31, 2012

    Dissident Voice

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    US nuclear expert Robert Alvarez notes that if water drains from the unit four "pool resulting from another quake [it] could trigger a catastrophic radiological fire involving about eight times more radioactive cesium than was released at Chernobyl."

  • March 29, 2012

    The New York Times Green Blog

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    The amount of plutonium in the waste tanks is uncertain. Savannah River was built to make plutonium, and the material in the tanks is what was left over after the material was produced in reactors and scavenged in chemical plants. But a fair amount ended up in the waste tanks, according to Robert Alvarez, an outside expert who formerly worked for the Department of Energy.

  • March 20, 2012

    Enformable

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    “On average, spent fuel ponds hold five to 10 times more long-lived radioactivity than a reactor core,” Alvarez wrote in his report.

    “Particularly worrisome is the large amount of cesium 137 in fuel ponds, which contain anywhere from 20 to 50 million curies of this dangerous isotope. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium 137 gives off highly penetrating radiation and is absorbed in the food chain as if it were potassium. According to the NRC, as much as 100 percent of a pool’s cesium 137 would be released into the environment in a fire,” Alvarez wrote.

  • March 11, 2012

    The Baltimore Sun

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    Unlike the reactor core, which sits in a steel vessel surrounded by a primary steel and concrete container, the spent fuel pool is surrounded only by the easily breached secondary structure, which nuclear expert Robert Alvarez describes as a building "no more secure than a car dealership."

  • March 10, 2012

    Common Dreams features article “No Nuclear Nirvana on the Horizon”

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  • March 10, 2012

    The Los Angeles Times

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    Robert Alvarez, who has served as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Energy Department, said he would have been surprised if researchers had not found evidence of plutonium contamination near the plant. "They were irradiating plutonium in Unit 3, which experienced the biggest explosion."

    In fact, the explosion was so massive that investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away, leading to speculation that a supercritical fission event may have also occurred, Alvarez said.


    But Alvarez said that much remains unknown one year after the disaster. Authorities can't say exactly where breaches occurred in the reactor vessels and spent fuel pools that caused contaminated water to flood the plant's lower levels, he said.

    The Japanese asserted that they had achieved a "cold shutdown" of the Fukushima site in December, but they will require a stable and permanent infrastructure to keep the situation under control. It is possible, and even likely, that radioactive cooling water is still leaking into the Pacific Ocean, Alvarez said. Cleanup of the immediate site could take four or five decades, he said.

  • March 7, 2012

    The Salt Lake Tribune

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    Robert Alvarez, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Energy Secretary who advocated for nuclear worker compensation, said the poll results pointed to a continuing trend of wariness about nuclear energy.

    "This survey shows why the industry has no future unless the U.S. government props it up and forces the public to bear the risks,"he said.

  • March 7, 2012

    Marketwatch

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    Robert Alvarez, senior scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, where he is currently focused on nuclear disarmament and environmental and energy policies, and former senior policy advisor, U.S. Secretary of Energy, where he coordinated the effort to enact nuclear worker compensation legislation, said: "Nuclear power remains expensive, dangerous, and too radioactive for Wall Street. This survey shows why the industry has no future unless the U.S. government props it up and forces the public to bear the risks."

  • March 6, 2012

    Counterpunch features article “No Nuclear Nirvana on the Horizon”

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  • January 6, 2012

    Chattanooga Times Free Press

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    Robert Alvarez, a nuclear waste storage expert from the Institute for Policy Studies, said the quake pointed out a need.

    "This indicates that reactors that have these dry casks in these earthquake-prone areas, they're going to have to do more to protect them from ground motion. One thing is to bolt them to the pads. And that's not a Home Depot-type job," Alvarez told the Washington Post.

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