The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, submitted his resignation Monday morning. Jaczko’s announcement is hard to separate from pressing questions about the safety of commercial nuclear power, the debate over the future of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, and the influence of wealthy and well-connected private industry on public policy.
|By: Gregg Levine Wednesday May 23, 2012 3:45 pm|
|By: Gregg Levine Saturday December 10, 2011 11:11 am|
Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made some comments to the press earlier this week. Jaczko, it seems, is worried. He believes, as noted in an Associated Press story, that “U.S. nuclear plant operators have become complacent, just nine months after the nuclear disaster in Japan.” The NRC head thinks that a slew of events at over a dozen domestic nuclear facilities reveal the safety of America’s reactors to be something less than optimal.
To be clear, safety concerns at any kind of plant, be it a soda bottler or a microchip manufacturer, are probably not trivial, but when the safe and secure operation of a nuclear facility comes into question–as the aftermath of Chernobyl or the ongoing crisis in Japan will tell you–it ratchets up concern to a whole different level. So, when the man who more or less serves as the chief safety officer for the entirety of the nation’s nuclear infrastructure says he’s worried, many, many other people should be worried, too.
|By: Gregg Levine Monday December 5, 2011 6:10 pm|
You Just Can’t Find Good Help These Days.
Not only were members of Greenpeace able to get past the security guarding at least one, and possibly three, nuclear facilities in France, they were able to plan and execute this operation less than a month after the plant operator, French energy giant EDF, was fined 1.5 million Euros ($2 million) for hacking into Greenpeace computers.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday September 16, 2011 3:26 pm|
On Monday, September 12, an incinerator explosion at a French nuclear waste processing center killed one, injured four, and created just enough nuclear news to edge this week’s other nuclear story right out of the headlines.
The explosion, which is reported not to have caused any leak of radiation, was at a facility that reprocesses used nuclear reactor fuel in order to create a more toxic, less stable form of fuel commonly known as “mixed oxide” or MOX. MOX, which is a tasty blend of uranium and plutonium, was in at least some of the rods in some of the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility when it suffered catastrophic failures after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami–and the presence of MOX fuel made the fallout from explosions at the Japanese plant more dangerous as a result. (More dangerous than already extremely dangerous might seem like a trivial addendum, but it is of note if for no other reason than the manufacture and use of MOX fuel is what nuclear power proponents think of when they call it a “renewable resource.”)
|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.