February 17th, 2012
06:22 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Taking another look at nuclear power plant safety

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors Thursday, the first authorized in over 30 years. CNN looked into safety at U.S. plants. There are 23 nuclear reactors in the United States that use the General Electric-designed Mark 1 containment housing, which is similar to the design at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. Readers talked about the safety of U.S. plants.

U.S. nuclear plants similar to Fukushima spark concerns

Some readers thought the concerns were overblown. This was the most-liked comment:

Jack Baker: "We have been using nuclear power for over 50 years, and there have been very few serious incidents, and only a couple of incidents with injuries or radiation release. And considering that the quantity of waste by-product is significantly less than any other type of power generation, including natural gas, how can people be so adamant against nuclear power?"

There were many who responded in turn to Jack Baker's coment.

MK54: "I believe that rendering a portion of the Earth uninhabitable for centuries, maybe more is a tremendous and unacceptable disaster, because of the persistence, even if no person is directly killed. The scale of a disaster is not always just in people killed. Earth is a beautiful and hospitable place, but it is up to us to keep it that way."

pwrphoto: "Many people would say that it's because of ignorance but I think it is mostly due to the subjective nature of how we, humans, perceive risk. Risk has two components: likelihood and impact. Your comment focuses on both risk and likelihood but most people only look at the impact. That is, they don't care if having a nuclear accident is very unlikely. They just care that if there is an accident the consequences are extreme. It is for the same reason that airplane accidents attract more attention than each individual road accident."

PatriotEagle: "Also, unlike Japan we don't get tsunamis. And France is completely energy because they run the whole country on nuclear energy and there's not been one nuclear problem to my knowledge in France."

One reader replied to the "Why?" and wondered why other kinds of energy aren't being explored.

LPLove: "Because when you have a technology that has been buried by the nuclear industry for 50 years, thorium reactors, you realize you cant trust them at all. The commoditization of uranium was the sole goal back in the '50s and the guiding principal that pointed us to use nuclear, even though thorium is a far superior, cleaner, more efficient technology. Welcome to America, where you wont even be offered the best solution, only the most profitable one."

Can the U.S. and Japan be compared fairly?

HeyDummy1: "This is like living in San Diego and worrying about your pool freezing because you saw someone's pool freeze in Canada."

Some commenters thought there are bigger things to worry about.

Patrick N. Smith: "Hmmm. A worst-case disaster, and nobody was killed ... in fact, no one was even injured. I would think we'd find something more realistic to worry about ... like maybe the 2012 end of the world, or impact from a massive asteroid, as it's completely obvious even these older plants are incredibly safe. But you know how the Luddites are. Any excuse to try to trash anything really productive and helpful. Nothing new there."

But others wondered about the safety of nuclear power.

kinderlove: "When did they ever have to permanently evacuate 100,000 people from their homes because of coal or natural gas?"

What about the nuclear waste?

Giantsfan17: "Keep in mind we have no idea what to do with the waste it creates (which has a half life of over 1,000 years), but lets ignore that."

This commenter said they aren't all that worried about living near a site.

Danams42: "I do live near the Brown's Ferry site, and it really doesn't worry me. The track record on safety of the industry is very good over all. Even after a record tornado outbreak less than a year ago, including damage to that area, the worst that happened was that the reactors were shutdown for a time to prevent to possibility of a meltdown if damage was sustained. Of course, we are not near a fault line and far enough inland that things like tsunamis are not an issue. If I was near a reactor that was close to a fault line or in an area that has to worry about tsunamis then I might think differently."

But another person said perhaps research energies should be diverted elsewhere.

chuckhoffman: "They should be more concerned about the 60-year nuclear power plant that is built on a fault line in Mineral, VA. Especially since there was a massive earthquake there last year in which they had to shut down the plant."

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Energy • Japan • Nuclear • Overheard on CNN.com • World
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. hamsta

    @chrissy i to am sorry i offended you.i should have worded things a little differently.im not the mean person you think i am.i too have had a person without a job on my couch.i know its no fun to deal with but badmouthing him to the world is wrong regardless of whether its your house or not.

    February 19, 2012 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. hamsta

    @everyone since you think im so mean and hate women i just thought i would let you know when i work my crane job i drive 18 miles out of the way to pick up a woman who works with me FOR FREE just so she can get to work without doing any special favors if you know what i mean.i live 2 miles from that job.you only think im mean because i tell it how it is and dont sugarcoat everything.

    February 19, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    @banasy if youre smart you will flush that xanax down the toilet.if you need a sleep aid there are lots of natural ways.take it from someone who has seen the problems drugs can cause.have you tried warm milk?how about a potato?i have a huge fish tank next to my bed.very soothing,the black lights provide just enough light to see in the dark.it even lowers your blood pressure.i havent turned my tv on in almost a week because there is always a beautifal peaceful picture to watch in my fish tank.tv is to full of stressfull noise and drama.

    February 19, 2012 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @hamsta, well good for you not turning on the TV. While you are reading your comic books, eat a plate of tasty poison.

      February 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hamsta

    oops i meant to address chrissy with that one sorry banasy

    February 19, 2012 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    @ hamsta, i dont need your advice, thats why i have a dr.

    February 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    lmao, good morning dazzle! Youve adapted very quick to blogging lingo i see!

    February 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @chrissy, good morning to you. Yes, sometimes the lingo is so necessary. How are you?

      February 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      @ dazzle

      Oh No. You've become one of us.

      February 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @bobcat(iah) and the pleasure is all mine! It is funny to sit back and laugh at some of the mindless cr ap that spews forth. I guess in the mind of @hamsta that would make me mean. LOL

      February 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      @ dazzle

      I'm sure I speak for the rest of us when I say the pleasure is ours. And as far as hamsta, Phhhfffftttt.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    lol yup dazzle, its official, youre now one of us since your comment on the big dose of you know what didnt pass inspection and got deleted. lmao! Its ok i saw it and loved it!

    February 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @chrissy and @bobcat, thank you. Tori has created a monster. I saw that my dosage comment disappeared. Glad you saw it. I am leaving for the airport shortly to pick up Patrick. He is meeting up with one of his Iron Chef buds that has a restaurant near me. I'm sure he will pop in on the blogs.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    Ya know amongst all hamstas various work qualifications he mustve acquired one of those on line doctorate degrees in zoology or something. Because they dont prescribe zoloft to children with adhd. And im sure they dont give it to ADULTS for it either!

    February 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @chrissy, I believe Dr. F-wad is a high school drop out. Zoloft in not prescribed for ADHD.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    Lmao, im still trying to figure out HOW a freakin POTATO woulda helped me last nite??? Anyone got a clue on that?

    February 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I wasn't going to go there, chrissy.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @chrissy, a potato would not help. Potatoes have a chemical in it that helps boost Serotonin (the feel good chemical) in the body. Hamsta must have read the book, Potatoes Not Prozac.Clinical trials showed it made depressed patients worse because they got fat.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Perhaps one has confused Serotonin with Melatonin.
      And eating a pototato right before bed would be brutal on the hips, one would think, lol.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      @chrissy, you are a funny girl in cahoots with @dazzle over a drive by room. Yes the beautiful angel Daz has banished me to another room. Don't let her kid you, this complex is like Fort Knox and you need a key to go to the gym, golf course, and shopping plaza. We are taking an early morning hike tomorrow but there will be no cafe creme or orange press for her.She'll have to settle for Starbucks, because she has to have her AM coffee or else I will be in the doghouse. Have a good night!

      February 20, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    lmao @ dazzle, well i guess IF the potato was big enough i coulda threw it at foolios head! It mighta made him shut up anyway! And if you want some amusement reading go to the iraq police academy thread girl, b4 its deleted. Lmao!

    February 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @patrick, go to sleep. At least you have the cats to keep you company. You promised to make my faves. I will be happy to take you to the real drive by area on McDowell or worse. You be nice and you get a massage.

      February 20, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Peters

    That NRC wouldn't grant you an interview is understandable given the very poor dress of the reporter, looking more like a street urchin than a professional reporter. Her interview technique was aggressive and questioning which indicated she had a point of view. This is journalism at its worst. Let's put professionals on the job, not just kids who want to make some political point.

    February 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    Roflmao @ Dazzle and Patrick! For the life of me i cant figure out why the two of you arent together permanantly? You seem to fit perfectly. And Patrick, i wasnt in cahoots with Dazzle on the drive by target room really. She can fill you in on its origin!

    February 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      GM to @Chrissy! I heard how the drive by room originated you poor dear. Hope things are better on that front for you. I better keep my mouth shut on the togetherness thing with you know who. She's teaching a class now at the University and I have to pick her up. Hope you'll be around today.

      February 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
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