Students speak out about nuclear power

By Samantha Price |

“One of the most devastating natural disasters in history is to blame for what’s going on in Fukushima, not the only plausible generator of electricity that’s available,” said Flagler College Junior Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

The USA Today gallop poll, released a few weeks ago, said Americans’ support in building new nuclear power plants has dropped significantly. A CBS news poll released in July 2008 showed more than half of U.S. citizens supported them.

This drop in support comes after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, with waves over 20 ft. high that pushed Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant close to a meltdown. Despite those polls, students feel there is still hope for nuclear power in St. John’s County.

“Nuclear power is a danger, but it’s a necessary one…we can’t stop earthquakes from happening, but what we can do is take all necessary precautions to ensure the public’s safety.” said Flagler senior Frank Lawton. ” More research of nuclear power and safety measures surrounding the generators is crucial, but there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have them.”

There are currently five nuclear power plants in Florida, three of which are within 200 miles of St. John’s County.

The nuclear plant in Crystal River was shut down in 2009 for repairs and does not plan to open again any time soon. The other plants in St. Lucie, however, are ranked sixth of 104 reactors nationwide for yearly risk of radiation caused by a worst-case scenario earthquake, like Japan’s.

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