Inadequate Nuclear Reactor Safety in the U.S.

Posted by By at 12 May, at 14 : 50 PM Print

What is the fallout in the United States from Fukushima? Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass), a senior member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wanted to know.

Markey had his staff take a hard look at regulatory loopholes and to see if how it’s impairing decisions made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

What Markey’s staff found comes as no surprise; still many will find it startling.

Among the findings:

1) Emergency diesel generators malfunction too frequently and, or are inoperable.

2) Some facilities have spent fuel pools that don’t have back-up emergency power.

3) Limited or nonexistent ways to prevent hydrogen explosions.

4) Outdated seismic safety requirements.

Markey found that many of the same missteps in Japan can be found in the U.S. “This is unacceptable, and I believe that the NRC must halt its processing of all pending nuclear reactor licensing applications until the vulnerabilities are fully remedied,” said Markey in a news release.

His report found NRC policies based on flawed assumptions and in part Markey says the NRC has “acquiesced to industry requests for a weakening of safety standards.”

Markey has penned legislation to overhaul Nuclear Power Plant Safety that would go so far as place a moratorium on all new reactor licenses or extensions until new standards are in place.

(You can read more about Markey’s proposed Nuclear Safety Act of 2011 and his full report by clicking on Rock The Capital.)

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