Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NRC hearing raises questions about safety at nuclear plants

From the Christian Science Monitor:

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing offered fresh findings in the runup to a final 90-day safety review report on the US nuclear fleet due next month. A safety task force staff told the five-member commission that America's nuclear plants were safe, but noted that: • In many cases, older "vintage" plants that undergo relicensing examinations to operate an added 20 years are not required to bring those plants fully up to current safety standards • NRC regulations have never formally recognized the possibility of an extreme event – like an earthquake or tornado – simultaneously knocking out both on-site and off-site power at a nuclear plant, as happened at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. • The nation's nuclear plants have "different licensing bases and associated safety margins," with variations among the plants depending upon their age.

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