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Nuclear Power Plants Threaten Drinking Water for 49 Million Americans

January 27, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Public Interest Research Group
The drinking water for 49 million Americans could be at risk of radioactive contamination from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant, according to a new study released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center and the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.
The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan last year drew a spotlight on the many risks associated with nuclear power. After the disaster, airborne radiation left areas around the plant uninhabitable, and even contaminated drinking water sources near Tokyo, 130 miles from the plant.
According to the new report, “Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water,” the drinking water for 49 million Americans is within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant – the distance the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to measure risk to food and water supplies.  Major cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Cleveland and Detroit receive their drinking water from sources within 50 miles of a nuclear plant.
Radiation from a disaster like the one in Fukushima can contaminate drinking water and food supplies, as well as harm our health.  But disaster or no disaster, a common leak at a nuclear power plant can also threaten the drinking water for millions of people, and as our nuclear facilities get older, leaks are more common.  In fact, 75 percent of U.S. nuclear plants have leaked tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects.
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