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Three Mile Island, Chernobyl among worst nuclear disasters

An explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan today raised fears of a nuclear meltdown.

Although nuclear disasters are rare, the few that have occurred echo in the public consciousness. Below are brief summaries of two of the most well-known, with supporting links to more information about the incidents.

Three Mile Island, March 1979

A partial reactor meltdown at this Pennsylvania power plant caused a release of radioactive material. Despite the leak, no deaths resulted in the incident, although the cleanup took years. A website created by Dickinson College offers a history of the Three Mile Island emergency at

Chernobyl, April 1986

Twenty five years ago, an explosion at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant caused possibly the worst disaster in the nuclear power industry’s history.

The accident destroyed a reactor at the plant, resulting in the deaths of about 30 people who worked at the facility or responded to the incident. More than a hundred others suffered from high levels of radiation.

The effects of Chernobyl lasted long after the initial explosion. Officials evacuated more than 220,000 residents from Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. More than 6,000 incidents of thyroid cancer were measured in children and adolescents exposed from those three areas, according to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

As bad as Chernobyl was, there are signs of slow healing at the site. The Ukrainian government announced it plans to reopen the 30-mile radius that was sealed around the Chernobyl plant to visitors this year.

Continue reading here: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl among worst nuclear disasters

Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts: School Run In NYC

1751FN Watts Schreiber INI 112513 51272169 500x705 Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts: School Run In NYC

Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts walked their boys Sasha, 6, and Kai, 4, to school in New York City on Monday (November 25).

Later on at night the couple attended the Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl’s Children At Heart Auction And Gala Dinner held at Chelsea Piers.

The Ray Donovan star has explained why he signed up to be in the series.

He told Vulture, “Theater is consistent. You ride your bike to work. You get most of the day off so you can see your kids. My problem is that after three months I go mad. One of the reasons I never thought I could do a TV show is that I hate doing the same thing over and over again. Part of me always feels like things should be hard.”

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p 89EKCgBk8MZdE Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts: School Run In NYC
Source: Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts: School Run In NYC

Areva Slumps as Japan Accident Raises Doubts on Nuclear Future – Bloomberg

France’s Areva SA, largest provider
of nuclear equipment and services, fell the most in more than
two years after an earthquake and explosions at Japanese atomic
power plants raised concerns about expansion in the industry.

French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet
backed the nation’s reliance on nuclear power. Lawmakers and
industry executives in nations including India, the U.S.,
Germany and the U.K. have called for reviews of atomic safety
procedures as Japan deals with the worst nuclear accident since
the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

France has 58 reactors, more than any country other than
the U.S. There are 442 reactors supplying about 15 percent of
the world’s electricity, according to the London-based World
Nuclear Association.
There are plans to build more than 155
reactors, mainly in Asia. Sixty five reactors are under
construction, the association said on its website. Japan
accounted for 7 percent of Areva’s revenue in 2010, and 4.7
percent of its backlog, Areva spokeswoman Patrica Marie said.

“The group could be severely impacted by a shift in
momentum in the nuclear industry,” Alex Barnett, an analyst at
Jefferies International Ltd., wrote in a research note today.
“The severe nuclear incident in Japan has put a global nuclear
renaissance into question.”

Investment certificates for Paris-based Areva, in which the
state holds 85.7 percent, fell as much as 10.4 percent, the
biggest drop since November 2008. The non-voting shares were
down 3.12 euros, or 9 percent, to 31.73 euros at 12:22 p.m. in
Paris trading. Electricite de France SA, the world’s largest
operator of reactors, slumped to its lowest in almost two years.

China Sales

Areva is trying to complete the sale of two reactors plus
nuclear fuel to India, and of two other reactors in China. The
Paris-based company is providing equipment for four reactors
being built in France, Finland and China, and is competing to
sell as many as 10 reactors in the U.K., which plans to start
replacing old plants in the next decade. The company is also
bidding for nuclear business in countries including Italy.

India, which had been planning to increase its nuclear
power generation, will reconsider its expansion in the wake of
the Japanese accident, Nuclear Power Corp. of India said.

“This event may be a big dampener for our program,”
Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman of India’s state-run monopoly
producer, said by phone from Mumbai yesterday.

In December Areva and NPCIL signed a preliminary agreement
for the construction of two reactors, the first of a series of
six at Jaitapur in western India.

Order Delays

“Areva could see some delays in orders” including
Jaitapur, Louis Boujard, an analyst at Aurel-BGC in Paris, wrote
in a note today.

China may also weigh the effects of the accident as it
completes its energy plans, Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the
National Development and Reform Commission, said in Beijing
yesterday. China plans to triple its number of reactors,
according to the World Nuclear Association.

The pace of the country’s nuclear development won’t be
affected by events in Japan, China National Nuclear Corp.
President Sun Qin said in an interview in Beijing today.

France will continue to rely on nuclear power, Kosciusko-
Morizet told Europe 1 radio today.

“We can’t switch to renewables overnight,” Kosciusko-
Morizet said. “For the foreseeable future, we will need
nuclear.” EDF is building its 59th reactor and plans a 60th in
coming years.

The U.S., where Areva is building a nuclear-fuel recycling
plant and has a joint venture to build reactor parts, should
slow construction of new plants until officials can assess
whether the Japan situation signals a need for more safety
measures, said Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, an
independent who heads the Homeland Security Committee.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Benedikt Kammel at

Continue reading here: Areva Slumps as Japan Accident Raises Doubts on Nuclear Future – Bloomberg

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A Time to Rethink Nuclear Power – New York Times

As events unfold in Japan, we are witnessing the extreme dangers of nuclear power plants. Every time there is a serious explosion at a nuclear power plant people within a large radius of the site have to be evacuated for long periods of time, or indefinitely, as was the case with Chernobyl. Nuclear power plants are a far greater danger than any prospect of another world war. The fewer that are built, the safer we will all be.

Nuclear power is an international concern and no government anywhere in the world has the right to take it for granted that accidents will not happen. No government has the right to deny that it has a responsibility outside its national borders.

We should now be asking ourselves a very important question: Are atomic power plants really worth it given the trouble they cause when things get out of control?

Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Ireland

Continue reading here: A Time to Rethink Nuclear Power – New York Times