LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine.

Several weeks ago, the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant was likened to Chernobyl when it was upgraded to a 7 on the International Nuclear Events Scale – the most catastrophic rating indicating a major accident.

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Many Californians are now concerned about safety at both the San Onofre and Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plants in San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties.

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USC Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Najmedin Meshkati says there are valuable lessons to be learned from both nuclear disasters.

Meshkati says nuclear power can be a safe transition to other forms of renewable power,

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The biggest threat, he maintains, is complacency.