Nuclear Power Timeline

Timeline created by Tha Don Cornelius
  • Regulatory Malpractice

    Regulatory Malpractice
    The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 created the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Congress gave the NRC the important, and exclusive, task of protecting the public from the radiological consequences of nuclear power. This problem afflicts 68 of the 103 nuclear reactors operating in the United States and makes it much more likely that one of these reactors will experience the ultimate disaster: meltdown with containment failure.
  • Research Reactors Fueled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

    Research Reactors Fueled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)
    HEU is attractive to terrorist groups because it can be used directly to make a simple nuclear weapon. Many countries possess small nuclear "research" reactors that are used for professional training, scientific research, and medical radioisotope production. More than 100 operating research reactors worldwide are fueled with HEU. Others, though shut down,
  • (part 2) Research Reactors Fueled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

     (part 2) Research Reactors Fueled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)
    These reactors and their fuel were largely supplied by either the United States or Soviet Union. For reactors that are or will soon be shut down, the solution is to remove the HEU and return it to the country of origin for secure storage and disposition. Reactors that continue to operate should convert to using alternative fuels made with low-enriched uranium (LEU), which cannot be used directly to make nuclear weapons.
  • (part 3) Research Reactors Fueled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

    (part 3) Research Reactors Fueled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)
    Provide adequate funding to ensure that HEU cleanout is implemented as quickly as practical. The FY05 budget requests $9.866 million for a Department of Energy (DOE) program to facilitate repatriation to Russia of HEU from Russian-supplied research reactors. This is not enough. Funding levels of at least $40 million in both FY05 and FY06 are needed to remove HEU from the two-dozen most vulnerable sites by the end of 2005, a goal set by both the United States and Russia.
  • Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

    Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
    Since 9/11, the specter of a terrorist attack at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, thirty-five miles upwind from midtown Manhattan, has caused great concern for residents of the New York metropolitan area. A 1982 study by Sandia National Laboratories found that a core meltdown and radiological release at one of the two operating Indian Point reactors could cause 50,000 near-term deaths from acute radiation syndrome and 14,000 long-term deaths from cancer.
  • Walking a Nuclear Tightrope

    Walking a Nuclear Tightrope
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) seems to be following the script of the movie Groundhog Day, reliving the same bad event again and again. This event—an outage at a nuclear power plant that lasts more than a year—has happened 51 times at 41 different reactors around the United States.
  • (part 2) Walking a Nuclear Tightrope

    (part 2) Walking a Nuclear Tightrope
    Since the nuclear power industry is unable to script Hollywood-style happy endings once events have begun to spin out of control, Congress must compel the NRC to be a more aggressive enforcer of federal safety regulations. Otherwise, declining safety performance could result in a nuclear disaster rather than a costly year-plus outage.
  • (part 3) Walking a Nuclear Tightrope

    (part 3) Walking a Nuclear Tightrope
    In the movie Walking a Nuclear Tightrope: Unlearned Lessons of Year-plus Reactor Outages, the Union of Concerned Scientists identifies common themes among extended outages and steps the NRC must take to end these costly and avoidable threats to public health and the U.S. economy.
  • Futility at the Utility: Two Decades of Missed Opportunities at Fermi Unit 2

    Futility at the Utility: Two Decades of Missed Opportunities at Fermi Unit 2
    For over two decades, workers at Detroit Edison's Fermi Unit 2 nuclear power reactor dutifully tested a key safety system—the one that reacts to interruptions in electricity and signals the onsite emergency diesel generators to start and power components that protect the reactor core from damage. The proper functioning of the emergency diesel generators is extremely important.
  • (par 2) Futility at the Utility: Two Decades of Missed Opportunities at Fermi Unit 2

    (par 2) Futility at the Utility: Two Decades of Missed Opportunities at Fermi Unit 2
    As a result, although the safety system was repeatedly given a passing grade, this did not indicate that it would actually have worked properly if needed. Twenty years of testing resulted in a safety system that may never have been adequate. More unbelievable is the fact that Detroit Edison and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of opportunities to discover this problem during those decades.
  • (par 3) Futility at the Utility: Two Decades of Missed Opportunities at Fermi Unit 2

    (par 3) Futility at the Utility: Two Decades of Missed Opportunities at Fermi Unit 2
    Lots of people had lots of chances to notice the problem. It wasn't that one person made many mistakes or many people made the same mistake. Many people made many mistakes for many years.Consequently, the process flaws that initially created the problem and then allowed them to remain undetected were not identified and fixed. Instead, the individual problems were remedied when they surfaced. And the uncorrected process flaws continued to create new problems and sustain old ones.
  • Nuclear Power in a Warming World

    Nuclear Power in a Warming World
    The life cycle of nuclear power results in relatively little global warming pollution, but building a new fleet of plants could increase threats to public safety and national security.Nuclear power is riskier than it should and could be. The United States has strong safety regulations on the books, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not enforce them consistently.
  • (part 2) Nuclear Power in a Warming World

    (part 2) Nuclear Power in a Warming World
    The NRC must require all new U.S. reactors to be significantly safer than ones currently in operation, otherwise safer reactors will not be economically competitive. Minimizing the risks of nuclear power is simply pragmatic. Nothing would undermine public acceptance of a new generation of nuclear power plants as much as a serious accident, a terrorist strike on a reactor or spent fuel pool, or the detonation of a nuclear weapon made from stolen reactor materials.
  • Fire When Not Ready

    Fire When Not Ready
    By law, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is the sole governmental agency responsible for protecting Americans from the risks posed by fire hazards at nuclear power plats. By chronic malpractice, the NRC is the sole governmental agency exposing Americans to unnecessarily high risks from fire hazards at nuclear power plans.
  • (part 2) Fire When Not Ready

    (part 2) Fire When Not Ready
    The NRC knows the fire hazard is very real, estimating that the reactor meltdown risk from fire hazards is about 50%, or roughly equal to the meltdown risk from ALL other hazards, combined.The risks Americans face from fire hazards at nuclear power plants increased dramatically on 9/11. While adequate fire protection has never been more important, the NRC allows nuclear plants like Shearon Harris to continue operating in known violation of fire protection regulations.
  • Nuclear Loan Guarantees

    Nuclear Loan Guarantees
    Originally conceived as providing power that would be “too cheap to meter,” nuclear energy was seen as the future of the electric industry. Reality quickly overtook this utopian vision in what has been called “the largest managerial disaster in business history,” leading to two bailouts of the industry in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • (part 2) Nuclear Loan Guarantees

    (part 2) Nuclear Loan Guarantees
    The industry has proposed building almost 30 new nuclear reactors, with some calling for 300 new plants by mid-century. The rapidly escalating and still highly uncertain costs of new nuclear plants—along with the stated unwillingness of Wall Street to finance them—has sent the industry back to the federal government for financial assistance.
  • (part 3) Nuclear Loan Guarantees

    (part 3) Nuclear Loan Guarantees
    The Union of Concerned Scientists urges Congress to be cautious about committing taxpayer dollars to promote plants that both industry and Wall Street consider too risky to finance on their own.
  • Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can't Afford

    Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can't Afford
    Nuclear power could play a role in reducing global warming emissions because reactors emit almost no carbon while they operate and can have low life-cycle emissions. Partly for that reason, advocates are calling for a nationwide investment in at least 100 new nuclear reactors, backed by greatly expanded federal loan guarantees.major economic, safety, security, and waste disposal challenges before new nuclear reactors could make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions.
  • (part 2) Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can't Afford

    (part 2) Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can't Afford
    The economics of nuclear power alone could be the most difficult hurdle to surmount. A new UCS analysis, Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy, finds that the United States does not need to significantly expand its reliance on nuclear power to make dramatic cuts in power plant carbon emissions through 2030
  • (part 3) Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can't Afford

    (part 3) Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can't Afford
    significantly expanding the use of energy efficiency and low-cost and declining-cost renewable energy sources, consumers and businesses could reduce carbon emissions from power plants as much as 84 percent by 2030 while saving $1.6 trillion on their energy bills. And, under the Blueprint scenario,because of their high cost, the nation would not build more than four new nuclear reactors already spurred by existing loan guarantees from the Department of Energy (DOE) and other incentives.
  • Control rods at Peach Bottom

    Control rods at Peach Bottom
    In January 2010, workers reduced the power level of the Unit 2 reactor at the Peach Bottom nuclear plant in Pennsylvania to time how long it took control rods to fully insert into the reactor core. Safety studies assume the control rods will insert within a short time period to stop the nuclear chain reaction to mitigate the consequences of an accident. The tests revealed that three of the 19 control rods tested took longer than assumed.
  • (part 2) Control rods at Peach Bottom

    (part 2) Control rods at Peach Bottom
    The operating license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for Peach Bottom Unit 2 was very clear on what to do in this situation: test additional control rods until the percentage of slow ones dropped below 7 percent. But as additional contol rods were tested, more slow control rods were found.
  • (part 3)Control rods at Peach Bottom

    (part 3)Control rods at Peach Bottom
    The cause of the slow control rods was soon traced to a flawed component its vendor offered to replace for free back in 1997. The company did not take advantage of that offer and the faulty components adversely affected several control rods.The operating license required that the reactor be shut down promptly if more than 13 control rods were slow. By the time workers finished testing all 185 control rods.
  • Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers

    Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers
    The nuclear power industry is seeking tens of billions in new subsidies and other incentives in federal climate and energy legislation that would shift massive construction, financing, operating and regulatory costs and risks from the industry and its financial backers to U.S. taxpayers.
  • (part 2) Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers

    (part 2) Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers
    Congress should reject these overly generous subsidies to this mature industry whose history of skyrocketing costs and construction overruns already has resulted in two costly bailouts by taxpayers and captive ratepayers—once in the 1970s and 1980s when utilities cancelled or abandoned more than 100 plants, and again in the 1990s when plant owners offloaded their stranded costs.
  • (part 3) Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers

    (part 3) Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers
    Massive new subsidies will only further mask nuclear power's considerable costs and risks while disadvantaging more cost-effective and less risky carbon reduction measures that can be implemented much more quickly. The nuclear industry already will benefit from considerable subsidies provided by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and from a price on carbon emissions.
  • Regulatory Roulette: The NRC's Inconsistent Oversight of Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

    Regulatory Roulette: The NRC's Inconsistent Oversight of Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants
    Protecting People and the Environment is the tagline used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). NRC is not living up to its self-stated mission when it comes to accidental releases of radioactive liquids and gases from nuclear power plants.
  • (part 2) Regulatory Roulette: The NRC's Inconsistent Oversight of Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

    (part 2) Regulatory Roulette: The NRC's Inconsistent Oversight of Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants
    While it is not possible to eliminate the risks of radioactive releases, the NRC has regulations in place to reduce this risk. All releases must be monitored, controlled and not exceed specific limits. These regulatory requirements constitute three-way social contracts between the NRC, plant owners, and the public.
  • (part 3) Regulatory Roulette: The NRC's Inconsistent Oversight of Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

    (part 3) Regulatory Roulette: The NRC's Inconsistent Oversight of Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants
    The NRC has breached its contract with the public by repeatedly tolerating unmonitored and uncontrolled leaks of radioactively contaminated water into the ground and nearby waterways. For years, the NRC sporadically sanctioned plant owners for violations of regulations. There was little correlation between the severity of the violation and whether a sanction was issued. But in all 27 cases in which plants accidentally released radioactive materials over the past four years.
  • Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies

    Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies
    Government subsidies to the nuclear power industry over the past fifty years have been so large in proportion to the value of the energy produced that in some cases it would have cost taxpayers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and give them away.
  • (part 2) Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies

    (part 2) Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies
    While the exact value of these subsidies can be difficult to pin down, even conservative estimates add up to a substantial percentage of the value of the power nuclear plants produce. Nuclear subsidies effectively separate risk from reward, shifting the burden of possible losses onto the public and encouraging speculative investment.
  • The NRC's Reactor Oversight Process: An Assessment of the First Decade

    The NRC's Reactor Oversight Process: An Assessment of the First Decade
    The Reactor Oversight Process (ROP), which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) instituted to
    evaluate the safety and security performance of the
    nation’s 104 nuclear power reactors, recently passed
    the ten year mark. This issue brief documents UC
    S’s review of the ROP’s first decade.
  • (part 2) The NRC's Reactor Oversight Process: An Assessment of the First Decade

    (part 2) The NRC's Reactor Oversight Process: An Assessment of the First Decade
    The ROP uses seven “cornerstones” to describe the essential features of reactor safety, radiation protection, and security. The link between the assessment component of th
    e ROP and mandated NRC responses is called the
    Action Matrix. The Action Matrix, shown in Table
    3 below, features five columns.
  • The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami is a stark reminder of the risks inherent in nuclear power. One of its consequences has been heightened concern about the safety of nuclear power facilities in the United States.
  • (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency responsible for ensuring that U.S. nuclear plants are operated as safely as possible, gets mixed reviews in a March 2011 UCS report. Authored by UCS nuclear engineer David Lochbaum, the report examines 14 “near-misses” at U.S. nuclear plants during 2010 and evaluates the NRC response in each case.
  • (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    The chances of a disaster at a nuclear power plant are low and current events remind us how important it is to keep them that way. The new report shows that the NRC is capable of functioning as a highly effective watchdog, but also makes clear that much work remains to be done before the agency can fulfill that role as consistently as the public has a right to expect.
  • Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly

    Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly
    According to a new study, they probably won't be happy with the answer because what's in it for them is primarily higher costs and greater risks. And in both states, safer, more cost-efficient energy choices are available. Both projects intend to use the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, a new design approved by the NRC in December 2011, which has not been completed and brought on line anywhere in the world to date.
  • (part 2) Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly

    (part 2) Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly
    Nuclear power construction has always been subject to major cost increases and regulatory delays; adding a new reactor technology to the process is unlikely to make it go more smoothly or cheaply. Cost projections for the Levy plant have risen from $3.5 billion to $22.5 billion just in the five years since. cost will probably be between $22.5 billion and $29.3 billion.
  • (part 3)Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly

    (part 3)Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly
    An omission that ought to make ratepayers nervous, given that the first two reactors built at the site exceeded their original cost projection by a whopping 1,200 percent. In both Georgia and Florida, state law allows the utility companies to pass on construction and pre-construction costs for nuclear power plants to ratepayers, thus effectively providing the utility with an interest-free loan from its customers.
  • U.S. Nuclear Power After Fukushima

    U.S. Nuclear Power After Fukushima
    The recent events in Japan remind us that while the likelihood of a nuclear power plant accident is low, its potential consequences are grave. An equipment malfunction, fire, human error, natural disaster or terrorist attack could separately or in combination lead to a nuclear crisis.
  • (part 2) U.S. Nuclear Power After Fukushima

    (part 2) U.S. Nuclear Power After Fukushima
    The NRC should treat generic and unique safety issues alike. Until a generic issue is resolved, the NRC should account for it as a potential risk factor in its safety analyses and decisionmaking related to all affected reactors. The NRC should revise its regulations for the licensing of "high burn-up" fuel to ensure public safety, and restrict how this fuel is used until the revisions are complete.
  • Emergency Planning for Nuclear Disasters

    Emergency Planning for Nuclear Disasters
    One hundred and twenty million Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. Fortunately, a serious accident at one of these plants is highly unlikely. But as we saw at Fukushima, sometimes the unlikely is what happens, and we must be prepared to respond when it does.
  • (part 2) Emergency Planning for Nuclear Disasters

    (part 2) Emergency Planning for Nuclear Disasters
    Emergency planning responsibilities for nuclear power plants fall into two categories: onsite responding to the accident within the nuclear facility itself and offsite dealing with the consequences to the surrounding area and population. In 1979, power plant owners are responsible for onsite emergency planning.
  • (part 3) Emergency Planning for Nuclear Disasters

    (part 3) Emergency Planning for Nuclear Disasters
    In the event of a nuclear power plant accident, plant personnel are required to immediately notify state and local authorities and the NRC. State and local emergency management agencies then decide what measures are needed to protect the public. They may order an evacuation of the area surrounding the plant, or advise residents to shelter in place to minimize radiation exposure.
  • The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency responsible for ensuring that U.S. nuclear plants are operated as safely as possible, gets mixed reviews again in our second annual assessment of NRC response to safety problems. NRC inspectors' insistence that the plant comply with flood protection requirements came in handy when a Missouri River flood inundated the plant site in June.
  • (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    A 1995 decision had allowed plant operators to substitute warning indicators for an automated shutoff system designed to protect pump motors from voltage dips. Inspectors noticed that a tank was left partly filled with water between system tests a condition that put the tank at risk of collapse during an earthquake, possibly damaging pumps and other equipment.
  • (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    Each plant periodically undergoes component design basis inspections (CDBIs) to ensure that plant systems and procedures conform to design requirements. The NRC's insistence that 47 reactors are safe enough to continue operating despite their continued failure to comply with fire protection regulations does not stand up to legal or ethical scrutiny.
  • U.S. Nuclear Power Safety One Year After Fukushima

    U.S. Nuclear Power Safety One Year After Fukushima
    Disaster struck Japan in the form of a monster earthquake and tsunami. In their wake came news of a third calamity: a "station blackout" at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant had disabled the plant's emergency cooling systems. The Fukushima disaster did not directly affect the United States, but it has cast a long shadow over U.S. nuclear energy policy.
  • (part 2) U.S. Nuclear Power Safety One Year After Fukushima

    (part 2) U.S. Nuclear Power Safety One Year After Fukushima
    The designs of the Fukushima reactors closely resemble those of many U.S. reactors. And while most U.S. reactors are not subject to the one-two punch of earthquake and tsunami that struck at Fukushima, they are vulnerable to other severe natural disasters—or to a terrorist attack, which could create similarly serious conditions.
  • (part 3) U.S. Nuclear Power Safety One Year After Fukushima

    (part 3) U.S. Nuclear Power Safety One Year After Fukushima
    While the NRC has been deliberating on how to implement the task force recommendations, the nuclear power industry has jumped into the breach, proposing what it calls the "Diverse and Flexible Coping Capability" program, or FLEX, as the foundation of its Fukushima response.
  • The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    NRC to task for its failure to consistently enforce its own regulations, effectively leaving long-term holes in the safety net that is supposed to protect the public from the inherent hazards of nuclear power. NRC's lax oversight "reflects a poor safety culture," including a disconnect between the agency's workforce and its senior management, with managers tending to downplay safety problems and react negatively when workers point them out.
  • (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    Every year nuclear plant owners must replace or refurbish component parts to prevent aging degradation from affecting reliability and safety. These efforts are undermined when counterfeit, fradulent and suspect items (CFSI) are used. In December 2012, the NRC hosted the inaugural International Regulators Conference on Nuclear Security, featuring keynote speeches by high-ranking U.S. and international security officials.
  • (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    Sessions on security topics with panels consisting of regulators from around the world. The NRC deserves credit for this sustained focus more than a decade after 9/11, as well as for conducting the conference in public. In 2011, the NRC issued a statement outlining its expectation that the nuclear industry would take steps to "promote a positive safety culture." However, as a 2012 survey of NRC staff shows, the safety culture within the agency itself is deeply flawed.
  • Small Modular Reactors: Safety, Security and Cost Concerns

    Small Modular Reactors: Safety, Security and Cost Concerns
    According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and some members of the nuclear industry, the next big thing in nuclear energy will be a small thing: the “small modular reactor” (SMR). SMRs—“small” because they generate a maximum of about 30 percent as much power as typical current reactors.
  • (part 2) Small Modular Reactors: Safety, Security and Cost Concerns

    (part 2) Small Modular Reactors: Safety, Security and Cost Concerns
    modular they can be assembled in factories and shipped to power plant sites have been getting a lot of positive attention recently, as the nuclear power industry has struggled to remain economically viable in an era of flat demand and increasing competition from natural gas and other energy alternatives.
  • (part 3) Small Modular Reactors: Safety, Security and Cost Concerns

    (part 3) Small Modular Reactors: Safety, Security and Cost Concerns
    SMRs have been touted as both safer and more cost-effective than older, larger nuclear reactor designs. SMR-based power plants can be built with a smaller capital investment than plants based on larger reactors. SMRs could eventually be more cost-effective than larger reactors due to mass production, this advantage will only come into play when many SMRs are in operation. But utilities are unlikely to invest in SMRs until they can produce competitively priced electric power.
  • Diablo Canyon and Earthquake Risk

    Diablo Canyon and Earthquake Risk
    California's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant sits near several earthquake fault lines. One of these discovered in late 2008 is a mere 2,000 feet from Diablo Canyon's two reactors, and could cause more ground motion during an earthquake than the reactors were designed to withstand. (NRC) hasn't enforced them at Diablo Canyon exposing Americans to undue risk.
  • (part 2) Diablo Canyon and Earthquake Risk

    (part 2) Diablo Canyon and Earthquake Risk
    The risk of an earthquake at Diablo Canyon is due to the site's location near a number of fault lines, both offshore and inland from the plant. In fact, dozens of earthquakes have already occurred at or near Diablo Canyon. Past earthquakes do not mean that Diablo Canyon will experience an equal number of earthquakes in the future.The NRC has not used the methods and assumptions legally required to determine if the Diablo Canyon reactors can withstand large eathquakes.
  • (part 3) Diablo Canyon and Earthquake Risk

    (part 3)  Diablo Canyon and Earthquake Risk
    This failure of the NRC was brought to light in 2008, when a new fault line was discovered 2,000 feet from the reactors and only 985 feet from the plant's intake structure. Questions about the plant's ability to withstand earthquakes have been around since the reactors began operating in the 1980s. The NRC should enforce its seismic regulations at Diablo Canyon. The potential consequences of inaction are severe.
  • The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is meant to protect public safety by enforcing regulations at U.S. nuclear power plants. 2013 was a mixed year for the NRC. Several incidents showed the NRC can be an effective regulator, but inconsistent enforcement and several near-misses means there’s more to be done. The NRC has, at times, proven itself an effective regulator.
  • (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 2) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun reactor was not allowed to operate until known safety issues were corrected. Enforcing safety regulations consistently and prioritizing public safety should be a major goal for the NRC in 2014. U.S. nuclear power plants experienced 10 near-misses in 2013, Stronger oversight would help decrease the number and severity of future near-misses even further.
  • (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety

    (part 3) The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety
    Many of the near-misses in 2013 involved design and operational problems that existed for years, sometimes decades. Reactor owners are supposed to test for and prevent these issues—but clearly they’re not. Fixing testing and inspection processes will help reactor owners prevent future near-misses—and reduce risk to the U.S. public.
  • Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster

    Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster
    This book takes a moment-by-moment look at what went wrong at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. The book draws on firsthand accounts, as well as detailed technical records and media coverage, to recreate the events preceding, during, and after the meltdowns of three of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors.