The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Tuesday it would suspend the issuing of new reactor operating licenses, license renewals and construction licenses until the agency crafted a plan for dealing with the nation’s growing spent nuclear fuel crisis. The action comes in response to a June ruling by the US Court of Appeals that found the NRC’s “Waste Confidence Decision”–the methodology used to evaluate the dangers of nuclear waste storage–was wholly inadequate and posed a danger to public health and the environment.
|By: Gregg Levine Wednesday August 8, 2012 3:00 pm|
|By: Gregg Levine Saturday June 9, 2012 7:52 am|
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission acted improperly when it failed to consider all the risks of storing spent radioactive fuel onsite at the nation’s nuclear power facilities, so ruled a federal court on Friday.
In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel of the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia found that the NRC’s “Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision”–the methodology used for evaluating the dangers of long-term waste storage–was woefully inadequate.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday November 11, 2011 5:02 pm|
In what feels like a Friday news dump that goes to 11, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given its approval to restart Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear power facility. The decision came late in the day on a holiday–Veterans Day, 11/11/11.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday September 30, 2011 4:55 pm|
As September drew to a close, residents of southwest Michigan found themselves taking in a little extra tritium, thanks to their daily habit of breathing. The tritium was courtesy of the 40-year-old Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in Covert Township, which suffered its third “event” (as they are politely called) in less than two months, and was forced to vent an indeterminate amount of radioactive steam.
The reactor at Palisades was forced to scram after an accident caused an electrical arc in a transformer in the DC system that powers “indications and controls“–also known as monitoring devices, meters and safety valves.
While it is nice to see rectors shut themselves down when a vital system goes offline, remember that “turning off” a fission reactor is not like flicking a light switch. Shutting down a reactor is a process, and the faster it is done, the more strain it puts on the reactor and its safety and cooling systems. And even after fission is mitigated, a reactor core generates heat that requires a fully functional cooling system.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday September 2, 2011 3:22 pm|
Spent fuel storage casks move in an earthquake. Hurricane Irene scrams a Maryland reactor and floods a backup generator. Radioactive sludge is rapidly accumulating at Japanese sewage plants. And yet, US nuclear regulators still see no need for quick action to improve safety regimes.
|By: Gregg Levine Sunday August 28, 2011 7:40 am|
It is now believed that a meltdown in at least one of the reactors started before the tsunami that followed Japan’s March 11 earthquake. In other words, as I reported previously, the earthquake damaged the containment vessel or, more likely, the cooling system before the massive wave knocked out the backup generators and, thus, power to the cooling system. So, the loss of power did not lead to at least some of the meltdown—earthquake damage did.