Town hall meeting focuses on nuclear power issues


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The topics of nuclear energy and radiation are still making waves around the world more than a month after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Concerned citizens attended a nuclear town hall today to learn more about the threat of a similar situation close to home.

“I want to find out where we are and where we’re going with nuclear power,” Hank Keppel said.

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Keppel is not just a concerned citizen. He is also an engineer with lots of nuclear experience. Like many other people, he came to Thursday’s nuclear town hall to get some answers. Keppel is confident that nuclear power is safe and cleaner and less expensive than the alternatives.

“We have never lost a person in nuclear power in our country, and the industry is far more improved than it was when we built our first nuclear power plants,” he said.

Nuclear expert Margaret Harding explained the crisis in Japan and said there is practically no chance that a similar disaster could happen to the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport Harding said hurricanes are more of a threat, but we have more time to prepare for the big storms and shut the plant down before one hits.

Harding said the Brunswick Nuclear Plant and nuclear energy in general are safe. She said we can’t let what happened in Japan influence the way we feel about nuclear plants here.

“If global warming is a reality, and I know that’s a big debate, we could end up under water here, and if we choose to shut down all the nuclear power plants in this country like Germany did, what are you going to replace them with? The likely answer is natural gas or coal, which dump that much more carbon into the air,” Harding said.

She said we shouldn’t be scared of nuclear power or scared to consume products from Japan.

“They are being very very careful in Japan,” Harding said. “We should not be concerned about any imported food products from Japan, and in fact, I would say to support the Japanese people. If you’ve been eating it, keep eating it. Don’t walk away.”

Harding said although we can detect small amounts of radiation from Japan in the air here, it is not dangerous and only means we have advanced measuring instruments.