Study Reveals Dangerous Amounts of Radioactivity in Unsafe Conditions at U.S. Nuclear Reactor Sites

WHAT: Press conference call with report author Robert Alvarez to discuss report findings, with full, two-way Q&A
WHEN: Tuesday, May 24, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
DIAL-IN: Call 1-877-270-2148 from the U.S.
Ask for the “Spent Nuclear Fuel Pool Risk” telenews event.

WASHINGTON DC – A new report entitled “Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage,” to be released Tuesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), with support from the Project on Government Oversight, indicates the nature and extent of radioactive contamination and nuclear chain reactions due to the unsafe storage of nuclear fuel.

The report, for the first time, provides data on the amount of radioactivity in spent power reactor spent fuel at all individual sites in the United States. Several sites are storing far more radioactive waste in vulnerable pools than the U.S. nuclear weapons program produced over the past 50 years. The pools store some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t require the same level of protection against catastrophic releases from spent-fuel pools as reactors. Further, most spent-fuel pools are housed in vulnerable structures. The report also details detail serious incidents that have occurred at U.S. reactor and storage sites storing these enormous amounts of radioactivity. At a press conference call at 1:30 PM on Tuesday May 24, report author Robert Alvarez will discuss these risks. An interactive map created by Physicians for Social Responsibility, with new data from the IPS report, makes it easy to determine the threat of nuclear catastrophe for specific U.S. regions.

Before joining the Institute for Policy Studies, Alvarez served at the Department of Energy (DOE) as Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment from 1993 to 1999, earning two secretarial gold medals. Prior to joining the DOE, he was a Senior Investigator for the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. Alvarez also helped to found the Environmental Policy Institute (EPI) in 1975.

The report provides recommendations to reduce these risks, which other nations have adopted.

TO PARTICIPATE: You can join this live, phone-based news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 1:30 PM EDT on May 24, 2011 by dialing 1-877-270-2148 in the U.S. Ask for the “Spent Nuclear Fuel Pool Risk” telenews event.

CAN’T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at www.ips-dc.org as of 6 PM EDT on May 24, 2011.

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Institute for Policy Studies (IPS-DC.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally.