Newspaper: The Evening Sentinel
Date: April 2, 1979
Title: ‘Beginning of End of Atomic Power’-Nader
Author: Patricia Koza, United Press International
WASHINGTON-For Ralph Nader, the accident at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is “the beginning of the end of atomic power in this country.”
Nader made the comment Sunday in urging the government to immediately begin evacuating cities within a 30-mile radius of the plant site.
“The accident at Three Mile Island and the subsequent disclosures spell the beginning of the end for atomic power in this country,” said Nader, a longtime foe of nuclear power.
“The American people are receiving at last, in a compelling way, the truth about the dangers, the high costs and the lack of reliability of atomic energy,” he told a news conference.
THE CONSUMER advocate said he and his researchers “believe there should be stage-by-stage evacuation of the 700,000 residents living within a 30-mile radius of the disabled Three Mile Island unit” because of three factors:
-The possibility, suggested by the Nuclear Regulator Commission, of a hydrogen explosion in the reactor.
-The “significant” release of radioactivity by the plant in the last few days.
-what he called the lack of federal and state emergency preparedness plans for nuclear accidents.
Nader said in 1975 his Public Interest Research Group and 30 other citizen groups petitioned the commission to require that persons living near nuclear plants be notified of emergency evacuation plans and that all states hold drills to see if the plans work.
HE SAID the petition was rejected, but his group now plans to resubmit it.
He said he will urge Congress to repeal the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the amount of damages victims may collect in the event of a nuclear accident.
Nader said that for years he has opposed the construction of nuclear plants.
“Unless we are willing to tolerate the real risk of one or more major atomic power disasters in this country, disasters which could inflict radioactive death and disease on present and future generations on hundreds of thousands of people…we must shut down the nuclear power industry in this country,” he said.
Nader called on President Carter to make good on recommendations he made while on the campaign trail in 1976. He said Carter, a nuclear engineer while in the Navy, had called for underground nuclear reactors, location of plants in sparsely populated areas and federal inspectors on constant duty at plant sites.