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Intro: "Companies that operate US nuclear power plants are not telling the government about some equipment defects that could create safety risks, according to a report released Thursday."

A young girl is screened for radiation at a shelter for those evacuated from areas around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, 03/24/11. (photo: Wally Santana/AP)
A young girl is screened for radiation at a shelter for those evacuated from areas around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, 03/24/11. (photo: Wally Santana/AP)



Investigation Finds Defects at US Nuclear Plants Unreported

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

24 March 11


RSN Special Coverage: Disaster in Japan

 

ompanies that operate US nuclear power plants are not telling the government about some equipment defects that could create safety risks, according to a report released Thursday.

The inquiry by the inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission also raised questions about the agency's oversight, saying reporting guidelines for the nuclear industry are "contradictory and unclear."

The study comes as questions are raised about the safety of US nuclear facilities in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan. The NRC voted Wednesday to conduct two safety reviews of the 104 nuclear reactors operating in the US.

Unless the NRC takes steps to improve its reporting guidelines, "the margin of safety for operating reactors could be reduced," the report said.

NRC inspectors found at least 24 instances where possible equipment defects were identified but not reported to the agency from December 2009 through September 2010, according to the study.

NRC staff reviewed a draft of the report but opted not to provide formal comments. An NRC spokesman declined to comment.

 

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+7 # banichi 2011-03-24 22:31
This is hardly surprising; either the equipment defects, or the lack of reporting. It should be clear now that just because a nuclear plant has no apparent problems, does not mean that circumstances that allow it to function will not change, drastically and quickly.

And will the NRC take responsibility for any which fail?
 
 
+8 # Maisch 2011-03-24 22:46
When I worked on nuclear power plant design in the early 1970s for a company in Boston I was involved in a case where our section found that a major steam line was routed next to the control room which could potentially kill those in the room if a break occurred that that point. Management said not to worry about it as the design had been locked in. An
engineer then anonymously wrote to the NRC about it who then ordered the company to change the design.
The company then mounted an investigation to find the whistleblower. This was but one of a number of examples illustrating that cutting costs was of a higher priority than ensuring maximum safety.

Don Maisch
 
 
0 # AndreM5 2011-03-25 07:33
The entire design of a boiled water reactor is an illustration of cost cutting over safety.

The overall travesty when assessing nuc pwr as a power source is not including the total cost to the economy, the environment, the nation of the nuclear power industry. We ignore minimg, we ignore water consumption, we ignore heat load on the water source and atmosphere, we ignore monetary risk, we ignore govt subsidies, we ignore radiation burden on the gene pool, we ignore lobbying costs and corruption paid by govt tax breaks, we ignore the complete absence of waste disposal, and on and on.

Despite all of that and the knowledge Nuc PWR is a scam, it is a small one compared to the oily industry.
 
 
+5 # rf 2011-03-25 03:24
What's new...just another government agency that has been decimated in our drives to bomb the hell out of the middle east and our efforts to give the wealthiest amoung us a badly needed break from taxation on all fronts.
 
 
+2 # LeeBlack 2011-03-25 12:11
Greenpeace has a list of 'events'

http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/nukes/chernob/rep02.html
 
 
+1 # Parhelion 2011-03-26 12:26
We're not going to get anything resembling a back-off from nuclear power from Obama as long as Jeffery Immelt (ironic name), Chief Executive Officer of General Electric is on his panel of Economic Advisors. And who built Fukushima? Come on. Say it with me, "General Electric." I rest my case.
 

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