Nuclear Industry Not Having a Great Week

Yesterday — on the 59th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, marked by the city mayor’s plea to the U.S. to abolish nuclear weapons — Japan experienced its most deadly nuclear accident to date, with four workers killed by scalding steam (ouch) spewing from a ruptured pipe at a nuclear power plant. Officials from Kansai Electric Power Co. sheepishly admitted that the problem might have something to do with the fact that the pipe had not been properly inspected for some 28 years (!). It turns out several other of Japan’s 52 nuclear power plants — from which the nation gets a third of its electricity — are equally old and poorly inspected. Russian enviros popped up to say that, hey, their nuclear plants are also aged and poorly maintained. However, a reassuring note was struck by the head of the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy, who said this week that two stolen nuclear measuring devices probably don’t contain enough radioactive material to make a dirty bomb. So, put your mind at ease!