DETROIT (WWJ) - Officials at DTE Energy are working to assure the public that Fermi Two is safe while concerns about nuclear power plants rise amid the crisis in Japan.
Detroit Edison nuclear Operations Senior Vice President Jack Davis says that, although both Fermi Two in Monroe and the nuclear power plant in Japan were both built by General Electric, there are many differences.
Davis said Fermi Two was built nearly 10 years after the plant in Japan and it includes many design improvements.
“If, in fact, (the Japan plant’s) backup emergency diesels were functioning, we would not be having this press conference. They would have the reactor shut down, and shut down safely,” Davis told reporters, Wednesday.
“At Fermi, our diesels are, in fact, in concrete bunkers above the design flood plain, and all the equipment necessary to provide power to the plant is protected against natural disaster,” Davis said.
Although DTE officials maintain that Femi Two will be able to withstand any natural disaster likely in Michigan, CEO Gerard Anderson admits that the disaster in northern Japan has hurt the nuclear power industry’s attempts to expand in the U.S.
“There’s an attempt to go a couple of things simultaneously — pull away from fossil fuels, and put our transportation sector on electricity. People have been looking to nuclear power to play a vital role in that,” he said.
“I do think though, if you’re saying will (the events in Japan) will produce some slowdown or some pause in the evaluation, I think that that’s true and inevitable,” Anderson said.
Get the latest from CBS News on the catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant at this link.
Earlier this week, WWJ spoke with Dr. Michael Kraut from the Providence Cancer Institute about health risks associated with exposure to nuclear radiation. Hear the interview at this link.