Japanese nuclear woes raise concerns over GE designs

The Gravelines nuclear power plant in Gravelines, northern France.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: There are now questions being raised about the 40-year-old reactors at Fukushima -- which were made by American energy powerhouse General Electric.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


MITCHELL HARTMAN: Soon after General Electric rolled out its Mark 1 model 'boiling-water' reactor back in the 1960s, critics questioned whether the small containment structure could withstand a serious accident.

Edwin Lyman is with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

EDWIN LYMAN: Containment structures are typically large reinforced concrete buildings that are very expensive. And so any way to reduce the cost of containment was appealing to the industry.

Now, concerns are being raised about the two dozen GE Mark 1 reactors still operating in the U.S. -- from Alabama to Minnesota to New Jersey. GE says the reactors are safe, and were retrofitted back in the 1980s to guard against overheating. Nonetheless, the company's efforts to boost reactor sales -- especially to developing countries like India -- may suffer from a global pullback from nuclear technology.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...