Locals meltdown in response to leaking nuclear reactor

By Molly Roberson and Darrah Blackwater – 

Tarleton students say the leaking nuclear reactor half a world away in Japan is raising concerns about the safety of the nuclear power plant just a half hour’s drive from campus.

In interviews following the tsunami damage to the nuclear reactors, students said they were concerned about the possibility of radiation entering the food chain in the United States, how the damage to the nuclear reactors might impact the United States economically or whether Comanche Peak outside of Glen Rose could withstand a natural disaster.

“It’s a concern to me because of the radiation hitting the ocean and travelling here to the United States and concern of contaminating people as well as the crops and food we eat,” said 19-year-old Katy Dodd, a freshman from Krun, Texas.

Dodd isn’t the only one who is concerned with the disaster in Japan and the effect it will have on the United States. The United States has a history of being the world’s police and being responsible for providing funds to help other countries in a crisis. This leads some to be disturbed by how much the crisis in Japan may impact our economy, with the nation’s debt currently being at $9 trillion.

“What worries me is the burden this might have on the United States,” said sophomore Julia Rose from Fort Worth. “How much money and time are we going to invest if all nuclear reactors melt down?”

The cost of building nuclear power plants have tripled toward $10 billion per reactor, which would cost the United States more than citizens think it’s worth.

Tarleton students are also gaining a heightened sense of awareness of Comanche Peak and the concerns of what would happen if something should go amiss at the power plant.

“If there were something to go wrong there, we would have to worry about the same problems Japan is facing right now: power outages, radiation getting into our food,” said Stephenville-native Marcus Parks, a freshman at Tarleton. “Plus we have a lot of people who work there, last time I checked.”

“Parks was not the only one that expressed general concern for the safety of those living in the area surrounding Comanche Peak.

“Knowing [about Comanche Peak] is a little scary, since we are in an area that is more inland and not close to the ocean the radius that radiation can hit there will be a lot of people getting hurt dying,” said Dodd.

Though many were aware of a nuclear power plant being close to Stephenville, no one expressed much concern about any possible catastrophes affecting Comanche Peak.

“I’m aware of the nuclear power plant near Tarleton, but it’s in the middle of Texas,” said 20-year-old Lacy Osterman, a junior from Prosper, Texas. “I have no concerns about Comanche Peak, but if it blows up, I guess it’s my time to go.”

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