Tag: NRC

NRC: Japan Plant Explosions Will Not Affect U.S. Operations

The earthquake-caused explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant caused terrible damage and posed real dangers, but it is worth noting that no one died from the events (11 workers were injured). Even as Japan continues to take control of the plant and the nation’s power grid, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) used a White House briefing today to announce that events in Japan will not affect its day-to-day operations, including permitting of nuclear power plants in the United States.

 The NRC briefing also reaffirmed a statement the commission released Sunday via Eliot Brenner, its spokesman, who said: “NRC’s rigorous safety regulations ensure that U.S. nuclear facilities are designed to withstand tsunamis, earthquakes and other hazards. In addition to those plants in recognized earthquake zones, the NRC has been working with several agencies to assess recent seismic research for the central and eastern part of the country. That work continues to indicate U.S. plants will remain safe.”

Nevertheless, some lawmakers in Washington are calling for a halt in nuclear energy developments.  Such a reaction would have an overwhelming negative impact on the many people who have dedicated their lives, time and energy in working on these nuclear energy reactors.  The nuclear energy industry remains a clean and safe source of energy.  We ask that those lawmakers whose first instinct is to call for the halt of all aspects of nuclear energy to hold off on their speculations and demands.  Policymaking requires facts and deliberation, not immediate impulses.

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From the New Head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog reports on the remarks Tuesday of Gregory Jackzo, the new chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Jaczko’s talk was encouraging for its discussion of the need to enhance agency decisiveness and regulatory preparedness for dealing with new challenges, such as waste management and other fuel-cycle related activities. Both will be key factors in any future nuclear renaissance. Jaczko explained:

“Decisiveness means the ability to come to resolution in a predictable manner after open and informed debate. To be decisive, we must understand the public interest and as much of a complicated issue as possible so we can make a policy decision that ensures public health and safety…The public demands that from a regulator. The licensees should expect that from a regulator.”

Heritage has posted an .mp3 file of the event.

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Nuclear Power, Resurgent

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Tennessee: Regulators gear up for nuclear revival“:

KNOXVILLE — For America’s power industry and its regulators, the long nuclear winter appears to be over.

With proposals for 26 new reactors from TVA and 16 other utilities, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday the agency is gearing up for its biggest workload in a generation.

The NRC has added nearly 1,000 more employees in the past six years to review plans for the next generation of nuclear reactors and the fuel enrichment plants that will supply the additional units.

“This is a very busy time for us,” NRC Chairman Dale Klein said Monday after touring the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. “It’s a challenge, but we believe we are ready and are committed to continuing to protect the public health and safety.”

Many good sidebars to this article, including a table of proposed new plants from the Nuclear Energy Institute. The South and Southeast are well represented.

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A Positive Reaction to Reactor Proposals

Notwithstanding the anti-energy activism mentioned below, seems like higher energy prices have made the public receptive not just to more OCS drilling, but to nuclear power as well. From today’s Washington Post, the lead story on the Metro section, “Little Outcry on Nuclear Reactor Proposal.”

As Maryland regulators begin hearings tonight on a proposed third nuclear reactor in Calvert County, one element in the historically raucous debate over nuclear power is notably absent: widespread opposition.

The passionate anti-nuclear protests of the 1970s and ’80s have largely yielded in Washington and its suburbs to alarm over rising fuel prices, global warming and a lack of quick, easy solutions to quench the thirst for power.

This region could be a testing ground for the so-called nuclear renaissance. As the Public Service Commission starts a month of hearings on Constellation Energy Group’s initial application to add a third nuclear plant at its Calvert Cliffs site 50 miles southeast of Washington, Dominion Virginia Power, which supplies all of Northern Virginia’s electricity, is pressing ahead with plans to expand its reactors southwest of Fredericksburg.

As Constellation Energy notes, in March 2000 the Calvert Cliffs plant was the first plant in the United States to earn 20-year extensions of its operating licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC has the application and related materials for the Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 proposal available here.

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