Portland's Fukushima

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Air date: 
Mon, 04/17/2023 - 10:00am to 11:00am
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This program aired originally on March 13, 2023

Last month marked the 12th anniversary of the 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami. The tsunami caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. There were meltdowns of three of the Fukushima reactors, discharge of radioactive water in Fukushima and associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents. But as we observe the anniversary of this disaster, we need to realize that Portland faces a potential disaster of equal proportion.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Jay Wilson, an emergency manager in the Portland area and the former Chair of the Oregon Seismic Commission, about what will happen to the hundreds of aging tanks in the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub along the North Reach of the Willamette River, when a powerful earthquake rattles the region. These tanks store hundreds of millions of gallons of volatile fuels and chemicals, including 90% of all the liquid fossil fuel for the state of Oregon. They are not in any way ready to withstand an earthquake or any other serious accident. We will talk about the lessons we can learn from Fukushima as we seriously address this impending catastrophe at our doorstep.

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