nuclear energy

Why The Nuclear Energy World Is Thinking Small

Mar 23, 2015
Jes Burns / Earthfix

In the world of nuclear power, one technology is generating debate: factory-produced reactors that are no bigger than a house. A bill to help bring smaller reactors to Washington is working its way through the state Legislature.  At the same time, work is underway in Oregon to bring these small-scale reactors to market.

There’s only one place in the country right now that is developing a new kind of nuclear power plant.

It’s happening in an office building on a sprawling corporate campus just outside Corvallis, Oregon.

Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University have found trace levels of radiation from Fukushima in albacore tuna caught off the Oregon coast. Results of the study are being published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. Radiation has made its way into the Pacific Ocean, raising concerns about exposure to Cesium-134 and 137.

Anna King

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is saying cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is like something out the movie “Groundhog Day.” In a boathouse on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon,  Saturday, he said the problems at the nuclear site repeat over and over.

Senator Wyden says key documents at Hanford were kept from him, the State of Washington and the public.

Ron Wyden: “We were told in 2012 that this double-shelled tank … was an isolated issue. Now we have obtained documents indicating some very serious questions about whether that was actually the case.”

U.S. Department of Energy

Fifty years ago Thursday, President John F. Kennedy stepped off a Marine helicopter into the dry heat of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He was there to see the massive new N Reactor. The reactor was the first to produce both plutonium and power in the U.S. As Correspondent Anna King reports, the visit also was part of Kennedy’s efforts to de-escalate the Cold War.

Hanford worker Bill McCullough remembers Sept. 26, 1963 clearly when President Kennedy came to visit.
Bill McCullough: “It was a very hot day, and we hit bumper to bumper traffic.”