After spending much of his career examining the vulnerability of nuclear powerplants to earthquakes, Greg Hardy, a senior principal at Los Angeles-based Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., is comfortable living between two facilities along California’s coast— even after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. But Hardy says that he can understand how other people—including his wife—might not be as comfortable after seeing images of the crippled and ominous nuclear units.
“They just think it could happen anywhere,” he says. “It’s going to be a difficult job to convey that and convince people” that the U.S. plants are safe. “It will be a challenge for the industry. How can they communicate that high level of safety here, and assure the public that it could not conceivably happen here?”