Japan Nuclear Accident Raises Fears in States
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
In the letter, dated February 24, the lawmakers questioned the safety of the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear sites, "given the uncertain seismicity of their respective locations," according to O.C. Watchdog , an investigative journalism website of The Orange County Register . The lawmakers urged the Energy Department's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future to hold hearings in California to discuss their concerns.
"It is our hope that the unique issues surrounding nuclear power and waste storage and disposal in seismically active California are considered," they wrote.
The issue in California has been dramatized by the crisis in Japan, where an 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami have crippled several nuclear reactors, resulting in what The New York Times has already called "the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl explosion in 1986."
Officials and residents in other states also are watching the events in Japan closely.
In Colorado, there are economic fears over what the disaster will mean for nuclear energy production in the United States and around the world. The state "historically has been a hotbed of uranium production dating back to World War II and the Cold War, and the state has slowly been ramping back up its uranium milling and mining operations to meet an anticipated spike in demand," the Colorado Independent reports , noting that nuclear power has enjoyed "renewed interest because it doesn't generate nearly the carbon emissions of conventional fossil fuels."
In Illinois, which has more nuclear sites than any state in the nation, those who live near nuclear power plants are split. Many have fears about a nuclear accident, but others "view Japan's experience as a purely foreign outcome contained in a foreign land," the Chicago Tribune reports .