The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose four fellow commissioners complained about him to the White House, saying that he had been withholding information from them and wielding too much power, drew a spirited defense on Wednesday from a predecessor at the agency. Peter A. Bradford, who was a commission member from 1977 to 1982, was speaking with reporters in a conference call on another topic, whether the recent approval of a new reactor design by the commission represented a major step toward a “nuclear renaissance.” (It doesn’t, he said.) Mr. Bradford never led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission but can be considered an expert on multimember agencies; he later served as the chairman of the public utility commissions of New York State and Maine. In the course of the call, Mr. Bradford said that the four commissioners were trying to give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, “a push toward the door.”Read article
From the Union of Concerned Scientists:
History has shown—most recently with the Fukushima disaster in Japan—that accidents happen. But those responsible for U.S. nuclear power safety and security—Congress, the White House, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the nuclear industry—continue to offer overly optimistic assurances that everything is fine and everyone is safe.
In fact, they could and should be doing much more to protect Americans from a nuclear accident, and their failure to address known threats is a recipe for disaster. For example:
Radioactive fuel rods are stored in hazardous conditions at all 104 U.S. nuclear reactors
More than 40 of the 104 reactors fail to meet basic fire safety standards that have been in place for years
A dozen plants have not even fully implemented terrorism prevention requirements—10 years after 9/11
Nuclear reactors currently supply nearly 20 percent of America's electricity needs, and that won't change anytime soon. What has to change is the attitude of the people entrusted with keeping Americans safe.