As Japan attempts to bury its head in the sand over the full scale of the Fukushima nuclear power meltdown there is growing concerns across the world that the United States is not taking the problem seriously enough. United States nuclear officials say that exhaustive review of safety standards and procedures have been conducted across American nuclear power plants and rectors since the March earthquake and tsunami that caused 1, 2 and three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to go into meltdown.
There are 104 nuclear reactors that operate in the United States which supply twenty per cent of the nation's electricity. There is now refocused attention on nuclear safety in the United States following reports those one hundred days after the disaster at Fukushima, the radiation crisis could be twenty times worse than anything that was experienced during the Chernobyl disaster.
Senator Frank Zautenberg has spoken of the need for a full review of the United States' nuclear power plan. He said: "Since Japan's nuclear disaster began unfolding, Americans have asked, with a good deal of trepidation: could it happen here? Nothing can be taken for granted where nuclear power is concerned," said Lautenberg. "Japan, a world leader in technology, believed the Fukushima plant was strong enough to withstand a worst-case scenario. And now we know it was not."
The NRC (The Nuclear Regulatory Commission) has published findings that will cause great alarm across the United States. There have been potential safety defections at twelve of the one hundred and four nuclear facilities in the US and although such issues are in the process of being corrected, lessons needed to be taken from Fukushima - it appears they have not been.
Furthermore there is a lack of American political will power to enforce tougher safety regulations in regards to nuclear power. The United States led an operation to prevent reference to an action plan set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Amano. With Germany abandoning nuclear power by 2022 there is pressure on the United States to become a world leader on the issue but it appears across Government there is little will to actually do this. The United States have been accused, along with China and India, of attempting to water down the document.
Lessons need to be learned from the nuclear meltdown that will devastate the Japanese economy for decades to come. The US is said to have been in serious trouble before Fukushima and have done very little to alleviate fears after. Nuclear power can't be taken for granted and if the United States can't guarantee the safety of their plants, they should be shut down without a moment's hesitation.
Although most diplomats showed little optimism about the Vienna conference, some said it could be the starting point of a process that has already been started by recent meetings of the G8 group of economic powers and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on learning lessons from Fukushima.
But they warned that the IAEA should make sure to retain the leading role in the process that includes a planned UN conference in New York in September.