4231.0 In the Wake of Fukushima, Is Nuclear Energy Healthy for Communities?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM
The multiple explosions and meltdowns that occurred at the Fukushima Daiitchi Nuclear Complex in Japan in the wake of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 serves as a grim reminder of the public health consequences of nuclear power. As of August 2011, the catastrophe in Japan was still unfolding and incompletely assessed. Many workers responding to the disaster were directly exposed to high levels of radiation. There was widespread radioactive contamination of air, land, and water in Japan, with elevated levels of radioactive materials found in drinking water and food within and well beyond the region directly involved by the leaking reactors. In the United States, there are 104 licensed nuclear power reactors in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; one plant under construction; and 28 decommissioned plants (some of which still contain radioactive material). As of 2003, there were ~50,000 metric tons of spent fuel in the United States, with 2,000 more metric tons generated every year; 87% of spent fuel is stored in pools at 65 operating and 8 closed reactor sites. This session will explore the public health and related energy-policy implications of the Fukushima Daiitchi catastrophe for U.S. communities impacted by the nuclear power fuel cycle. The session will provide an overview of: (1) the public health impacts of nuclear power; (2); challenges of evacuating impacted populations in the event of nuclear reactor emergencies and (3) nuclear energy through the lens of environmental justice. Policy options for safer energy alternatives will be discussed.
Session Objectives: Explain the impacts of nuclear energy on worker and community health; Analyze the challenges of evacuating impacted populations in the wake of a nuclear reactor emergency; and Assess the disproportionate health impacts of policy choices related to energy production on communities of color and low income communities

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Organized by: Peace Caucus
Endorsed by: Environment, Socialist Caucus

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: Peace Caucus