Panelists outline problems with U.S. nuclear plant safety

“When you hear ‘Entergy is safe,’ that means it meets minimal acceptable criteria set by a compliant regulator” – Arnie Gundersen

By CHRISTINE LEGERE
clegere@capecodonline.com
October 10, 2013

via Panelists outline problems with U.S. nuclear plant safety | CapeCodOnline.com.

BOSTON — A panel of nuclear experts says it’s time to retire the entire fleet of nuclear reactors in the United States because the consequences of an accident far outweigh the benefits of keeping them active.

Gregory Jaczko, formerly on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and chairman during the Fukushima-Dai-ichi accident in Japan; Peter Bradford, an NRC commissioner during the Three Mile Island accident; nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen; and former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan all gave convincing arguments to shutter the plants, periodically alluding to Plymouth’s 41-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station during a panel discussion at the Statehouse Wednesday. State Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, who represents communities on the Cape, joined the panel as a last-minute addition.

“The ultimate takeaway from Fukushima is accidents happen,” Gundersen said. “Nuclear power is a technology that had 40 great years to be wiped out in one day.”

Gundersen added the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may contend the odds of an accident are one in a million, but there have been five meltdowns: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and three reactors at Fukushima.

Panelists condemned the ongoing delay of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require stricter safety measures at the nation’s 104 reactors following Fukushima Dai-ichi. A “Lessons Learned” report was compiled by a task force at the direction of the NRC, but the commission has been slow to implement recommendations, panelists said.

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