Germany has shut down seven of its nuclear reactors that are the same design as the Japanese reactors that have failed. It has ordered a safety review at all 17 reactors in the country. And last month congress voted to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas by TEPCO, the Japanese company that built the reactors that have experienced meltdown.
The reactors that will be shut down in Germany are the oldest in the country. Another power plant, which was closed after a series of accidents, will remain closed indefinitely. Germany gets almost a quarter of its electricity from nuclear power. Nuclear plants all over the world must be certified for what is called "SQ" or "Seismic Qualification," meaning that all the components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, such as an earthquake. Clearly, when it came to Japan, this didn't work.
Meanwhile, In Truthout, Greg Palast says, "The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York. Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from 'failed' to 'passed.' The company that put in the false safety report? Stone & Webster, now the nuclear unit of Shaw Construction, which will work with TEPCO to build the Texas plant."
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