Well. Disaster preparedness and environmental justice and nuclear energy. We meet again. I will not pretend expertise on the nuclear situation in Japan, but I will say that there are plenty of concerns that many people have about the effects of radiation on people who happen to live near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Perhaps here in the United States it would be wise to think very carefully about the short and long term impacts of nuclear plants--not just when they are operating, but when they are not operating properly--on the people and places that they are near.
Here's some information about what's going on from Beyond Nuclear, a group that wishes to rid the world of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
The Kindle Project also has some interesting posts about the environmental justice implications of the problems at Fukushima:
Arjun Makhijani writes about Fukushima
The end of his post reads:
The United States should move as much spent fuel out of the pools as possible into hardened and secure dry storage. The tragedy in Japan is also a reminder that making plutonium and fission products just to boil water (which is what a nuclear reactor does) is not a prudent approach to electricity generation. While existing reactors will be needed to maintain the stability of electricity supply for some time (as is also evident from the earthquake-tsunami catastrophe in Japan), new reactor projects should be halted and existing reactors should be phased out along with coal and oil. It is possible to do so economically in the next few decades, while maintaining the reliability of the electricity system and greatly improving its security, as I have shown in my book Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy published in 2007, and in subsequent work that can be found on the IEER website, www.ieer.org. Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free can be downloaded free at https://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/CarbonFreeNuclearFree.pdf.
Also useful is CNN's Nuclear Disaster Glossary
And, oh yes, this is a Michigan blog, right? In case you are wondering, according to the Department of Energy, "Michigan ranks tenth in nuclear power generation among the states. Its three power plants combine to provide over a quarter of the entire state's electricity."
Here's where the plants are, according to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
The above page also includes sites being "Decommissioned." They might not be operational, but as you may now know, that doesn't mean all the risk is gone yet.