NEW YORK (Reuters) – The massive earthquake that forced the closure of four nuclear power plants in Japan has highlighted the grave risk of inadequate back-up generators at U.S. facilities, a leading U.S. scientist group said on Friday.
While the U.S. regulator made clear that the national nuclear fleet is built to withstand the biggest earthquakes in history, scientists said they needed to do more to ensure that future quakes don’t risk the kind of reactor impact that Japan is now grappling with.
“We do not believe the safety standards for U.S. nuclear reactors are enough to protect the public today,” Edwin Lyman, senior scientist, global security programs, at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Reuters. The group supports nuclear power as a means to combat global warming, but wants tougher safety measures.
The magnitude 8.9 earthquake that rocked Japan on Friday knocked out power to the backup cooling systems of a reactor in Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents.
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