Thirty-five years ago on Monday, April 26, the world’s worst nuclear meltdown and accident occurred. It happened in the Ukraine, near a town called Pripyat, at a powerplant named Chernobyl. But the untold story is that this proud Second World Nation has far higher safety standards than the United States of America.
April 26 is a day that lives in infamy, but is also a day that should be marked for the sacrifices made by the extraordinary people who gave their lives to keep the meltdown at Chernobyl contained.
This statue is called “To Those Who Saved the World.” When Chernobyl erupted, it killed two people immediately. In the following 30 days, another 28 died from radiation exposure incurred from fighting the meltdown. All of them are heroes to the World. All of them knew that by fighting the meltdown, they faced a certain death.
We wish we knew their names.
While the Ukrainians make the best of a bad situation, others are making money.
According to the Holtec Highlights Newsletter, released on the anniversary of Chernobyl, “The challenges at Chornobyl spurred our company to develop several innovative technologies such as the doublewalled (sic) canisters which renders any risk of leakage seven orders of magnitude more non-credible than that required by the regulations in the US as well as most regulatory regimes.”
Apparently, Second-World nations have higher safety standards than we do.
Public Watchdogs is pleased that the the residents of Pripyat are protected by a double-walled dry cask system that is “orders of magnitude” better than what U.S. regulators require, but it makes us question the effectiveness of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which has exclusive jurisdiction over the USA’s eternally deadly spent nuclear fuel.
Holtec’s beachfront San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump, located in San Diego County California, uses single walled 5/8″ thick canisters with a 25-year warranty. Apparently, the San Onofre canisters are “seven orders of magnitude” worse than what is being used at Chernobyl.
Which begs the question:
Why does San Onofre have nuclear waste canisters that are seven orders of magnitude worse than than a Second World nation? Do our regulators have to witness a Chernobyl-style accident on U.S.. soil before we raise our safety standards up to second-world levels?
It is noteworthy that each of the 73 Holtec canisters at San Onofre have more cesium-137 than was released during the entire Chernobyl accident. This may be why some people are calling the canisters “mobile Chernobyls.