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MSNBC.com’s Bill Dedman’s U.S. Nuclear Plant Article Superb

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[Updated 25 March 2011 to reflect Bill's association with MSNBC.com, not MSNBC.]

This is the first time I’ve identified an article about anything in the corporate media that I would rate as “superb”.

MSNBC.com’s Bill Dedman has written an article about the potential dangers of an earthquake-caused nuclear power plant catastrophe occurring in the U.S. (The most dangerous plants are east of the Mississippi River, not in California, in case you were wondering).  The article truly does reflect the bio under Dedman’s picture: investigative reporter.  Mr. Dedman did some serious investigating for this article.  It doesn’t engage in the too-typical he-said/she-said b.s. that normally pollutes corporate media articles.  Nope, this is a well thought out and presented article that is designed to inform a curious public about the actual threat that U.S.-based nuclear power plants face from earthquakes.

The article presents the same information in a couple of different ways, ensuring that readers with a variety of backgrounds can all grasp the same base information.  It also includes a substantial list of resources where the information came from and which are available to the public.  This is quite simply an example of what more so-called journalists, but in practice act only as stenographers, should produce.

For the curious, here are the top-10 threatened U.S. nuclear power plants:

Rank. Reactor, nearby city, state: Chance of event each year from 2008 data. Old estimate from 1989. Change in risk.
1. Indian Point 3, Buchanan, N.Y.: 1 in 10,000 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 17,241. Change in risk: 72 percent.

2. Pilgrim 1, Plymouth, Mass.: 1 in 14,493 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 125,000. Change in risk: 763 percent.

3. Limerick 1, Limerick, Pa.: 1 in 18,868 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 45,455. Change in risk: 141 percent.

3. Limerick 2, Limerick, Pa.: 1 in 18,868 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 45,455. Change in risk: 141 percent.

5. Sequoyah 1, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.: 1 in 19,608 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 102,041. Change in risk: 420 percent.

5. Sequoyah 2, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.: 1 in 19,608 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 102,041. Change in risk: 420 percent.

7. Beaver Valley 1, Shippingport, Pa.: 1 in 20,833 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 76,923. Change in risk: 269 percent.

8. Saint Lucie 1, Jensen Beach, Fla.: 1 in 21,739 chance each year. Old estimate: N/A. Change in risk: N/A.

8. Saint Lucie 2, Jensen Beach, Fla.: 1 in 21,739 chance each year. Old estimate: N/A. Change in risk: N/A.

10. North Anna 1, Louisa, Va.: 1 in 22,727 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 31,250. Change in risk: 38 percent.

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3 thoughts on “MSNBC.com’s Bill Dedman’s U.S. Nuclear Plant Article Superb

  1. Pingback: US Nuclear Power Plants With Highest Damage Risk | Cancer causes Blog

  2. Da Phault,

    Don’t be misled by NRC’s non-denial denial.

    NRC hasn’t said our numbers are wrong.

    After all, they’re NRC’s numbers.

    What NRC is saying is that it doesn’t do rankings. That’s right. We did, from NRC’s data. If the NRC were publishing the American League East standings, it would list them alphabetically. But that doesn’t make it wrong to rank them.

    You and your readers can see for yourself in the NRC report, just as we reported, that:

    – NRC says the risk of quakes in the central and eastern states is higher than previously thought.

    – It still thinks plants are safe.

    – but their margin of safety is reduced.

    – and some plants are now near the point where they should be re-examined, and perhaps retrofitted.

    – and the technical staff says this should now move from being a research issue to a regulatory issue.

    – and it has made its best estimates of the frequency (chance, odds) of an earthquake that would cause core damage to a plant, and those are in Appendix D, last column on the right. The links are at the bottom of the article.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

    Bill Dedman, msnbc.com (not MSNBC — different company)

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