CREATORDavis, Mary Byrd / Fritsch, Albert J.
TITLECritical Hour: Update 2004 - May 2006

This 2006 update to the 2003 report Critical Hour: Three Mile Island, the Nuclear Legacy, and National Security compiles evidence from government and industry reports to make the case that the nuclear industry poses significant threats to the welfare of the U.S. and other nations. The report begins by summarizing Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings regarding safety problems at particular nuclear power plants. It then discusses the NRC's and other data regarding the dangers of aging nuclear plants and reactors; considers the impact of license extensions and increases in output and capacity in U.S. nuclear plants; and questions potential new roles for reactors, such as fabrication of Mox (mixed oxide) fuel and "safer" reactor technology. It also summarizes the 2005 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VII) report as well as studies from Chernobyl; considers environmental contamination in the U.S. in the areas of radioactive waste – related to uranium mill tailings, high and low level nuclear waste, and depleted uranium – and plant security; and assesses U.S. energy policy as it relates to the ongoing U.S. "nuclear resurgence." The report concludes with a revision of the original report's ninth chapter, asserting that a rapid conversion to a national nuclear-free economy is not possible within the time frame determined by the dangers of climate change, so the U.S. must instead adopt means currently available to reduce fossil fuel use.

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