Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nuclear Regulators Privately Had Doubts - And Lied About Their Doubts to the Public

While none of the specifics published in this report are specific to Diablo Canyon - the particular situation that I am personally interested in - I nevertheless have the temerity to suggest that if U.S. regulators and industry officials are willing to gloss over the truth about these particular locations, they are likely to have no qualms about doing the same vis a vis other locations:
U.S. regulators privately have expressed doubts that some of the nation's nuclear power plants are prepared for a Fukushima-scale disaster, undercutting their public confidence since Japan's nuclear crisis began...

Those concerns seem to contrast with the confidence U.S. regulators and industry officials have publicly expressed after the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl began to unfold on March 11, UCS officials said on Wednesday.

"While the NRC and the nuclear industry have been reassuring Americans that there is nothing to worry about -- that we can do a better job dealing with a nuclear disaster like the one that just happened in Japan -- it turns out that privately NRC senior analysts are not so sure," said Edwin Lyman, a UCS nuclear expert.

The e-mails in question are part of an NRC review of how the operators of nuclear plants in Delta, Pennsylvania, and Surry County, Virginia, would cope with a prolonged power outage that knocked cooling systems offline, as occurred at the Tokyo Electric Power Co-operated Fukushima plant.

In a July 28, 2010, e-mail, one NRC staffer said that contingency plans for Exelon Corp's Peach Bottom nuclear plant in Delta "have really not been reviewed to ensure that they will work to mitigate severe accidents."

Another document, undated, said backup plans included just having equipment on the plant grounds that could be useful "when used by knowledgeable operators if post-event conditions allow." - Reuters
Why lie? Why not tell the public the truth?  


Oh right. I forgot. FOLLOW THE MONEY.