Skip to comments.AP IMPACT: US nuke regulators weaken safety rules
Posted on 06/20/2011 10:55:40 AM PDT by Hunton Peck
LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.
***[Snip 12 paras]***
Commercial nuclear reactors in the United States were designed and licensed for 40 years. When the first ones were being built in the 1960s and 1970s, it was expected that they would be replaced with improved models long before those licenses expired.
But that never happened. The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, massive cost overruns, crushing debt and high interest rates ended new construction proposals for several decades.
Instead, 66 of the 104 operating units have been relicensed for 20 more years, mostly with scant public attention. Renewal applications are under review for 16 other reactors.
By the standards in place when they were built, these reactors are old and getting older. As of today, 82 reactors are more than 25 years old.The AP found proof that aging reactors have been allowed to run less safely to prolong operations. As equipment has approached or violated safety limits, regulators and reactor operators have loosened or bent the rules.
Last year, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to reactor vessels for a second time. The standard is based on a measurement known as a reactor vessel's "reference temperature," which predicts when it will become dangerously brittle and vulnerable to failure. Over the years, many plants have violated or come close to violating the standard.
As a result, the minimum standard was relaxed first by raising the reference temperature 50 percent, and then 78 percent above the original even though a broken vessel could spill its radioactive contents...
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
And another thing: old reactor sites have become de facto permanent nuclear waste storage facilities.
Absolute BS, stopped reading right there. The current Administration is intent on shutting down all current production, they just don't have the authority to do so but they are trying.
The list-serve propaganda arm of the Democrats is not qualified to do any "investigation" on anything. Certainly nothing technical.
You can thank the Democrats for that.
This is just about the greatest collection of journalistic irresponsibility that I’ve ever had to read.
I’m so furious I could spit!!!
The only thing (and I mean THE only thing) in this article that has any merit is the mention of the incident at Davis-Besse.
It’s what the AP tries to, but can’t completely, gloss over that makes this story interesting (at least to me): that the real reason for problems with nuclear and other energy sources is environmentalist obstructionism. The Greenies are making the world a more dangerous place for people and other living things.
Nuke power is on the decline. Has been for over 20 years (Iowa State shut down their program about that time).
I have an extensive database of plant component aging and I see no show-stoppers that would prevent these facilities from running for at least another 20 years beyond the original 40 year license, and probably another 20 years after that. The MSM has no idea what the original 40-year license timeline was based on. Does anyone here know (I do)?
Only in nations that are also on the decline.
Meanwhile, among our global competitors --- Over 60 power reactors are currently being constructed in 15 countries plus Taiwan notably China, South Korea and Russia.
I don’t. Maybe after giving folks a while to chime in with their guesses, you could give us the answer....
“AP hit piece”
No mention that nearly all of the steam generator have been replaced with material that has no experience of cracking AT ALL in operation (under extreme laboratory conditions it can crack). No mention that the inspection techniques are way better. No mention that we developed 50 years of experience. No mention that plant safety is radically improved.
And to suggest that the NRC and nuclear plant operators have developed a friendly relationship is akin to saying that the Department of Fish&Wildlife have developed a close relationship with hunters.
The 40-year license life was based on similar regulations for hydroelectric dams. Because in the mid-1950s, no one had any idea of what to expect. We’ve had 50 years to learn, and we are applying our knowledge to IMPROVE safety, not to skirt around it.
Here’s an analogy to go with this horrible article:
Back in 1909, the state of Washington introduced an automobile speed limit of one mile in five minutes (12mph) in “thickly settled areas and business districts”, and at one mile in two-and-a-half minutes (24mph) for rural areas.
By the 1950s, it had risen to 50 mph.
The speed limit is now 70 mph on certain Washington interstate highways.
Has the government recklessly conspired with operators of motor vehicles? Have regulations been relaxed at the whim of drivers?
Or have the roads improved? Or have the cars improved? Do we now have a better idea of what is dangerous and what can be safely driven at a higher speed?
The AP would have you believe that we should all keep our speed below 24 mph.
Good analogy. Thanks.
I should of stated “In the US”.
If sandbags are required to keep nuclear reactors safe, there might be some design problems.
So they designed the use of sand bags into their emergency planning ?
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