Safety debate at NRC

Post-Fukushima, Arguments for Nuclear Safety Bog Down

New York Times,  February 26, 2013

Summary / our comment: Filters have been recommended by the staff of the NRC for US reactors which share the Fukushima design (like Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee), to prevent radioactive material from escaping (since these containments cannot contain). They’re required in Japan and much of Europe, but the American utilities say they are unnecessary. U.S. reactor operators are indemnified by the Price-Anderson Act, so they have little to gain by investing in safety – they will do so only if ordered by the NRC. NRC Commissioners are often more receptive to industry arguments than those of their own staff, and they are lobbied by trade groups such as the Nuclear Energy Institute as well as Congress. Seven Senators have sent the Commissioners a letter urging that they ignore their staff, and twelve – including Elizabeth Warren – signed this excellent letter.

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