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Wednesday
May112011

NRC's lackadaisical oversight of long standing fire hazards at reactors

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has known for decades that the nuclear  industry is in violation of federal fire code for the protection of electrical cables vital to the shutdown of nuclear power plants. It was first demonstrated with the Browns Ferry fire in March 1975 that control room electrical circuits to shut down and cool the reactor cores are vulnerable and again in 1992 as the result of the discovery of industrywide installations of bogus fire barriers that failed fire tests in less than half the required times legally certified as required for public safety.

In spite of the efforts of public interest groups, like Beyond Nuclear, the NRC and the nuclear industry continue to ignore long standing violations of fire code and are looking to shift away from compliance with "prescriptive fire code" for inspectable physical fire protection features like fire proof  barriers and penetration seals or minimum separation distances between redundant backup electrical cables. The NRC and industry instead plan to base  safety compliance upon "risk informing" fire protection with assumptions on how serious a fire might be; not unlike basing nuclear safety on assumptions about earthquake magnitudes or the height of tsunamis. 

Beyond Nuclear's persistent efforts to expose the fire hazard in nuclear power plants are cited in two provocative revelations by Susan Stranahan and John Sullivan in yet another finding of the NRC standing for "No Regulatory Control." 

Wednesday
May112011

"Chernobyl Forever:" A film that will not let us forget

Tuesday
May102011

US/Japan release radiological readings around Fukushima: Hot zones higher than those prompting 1986 Chernobyl evacuations

With the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident now approaching the ninth week and still out of control, the situation remains grave as the Japanese government and industry desparately struggle to bring the severely damaged multi-unit reactor complex into cold shutdown in order to prevent more hydrogen gas explosions and even greater radioactive releases.  

New radiological monitoring data jointly collected and published on May 6, 2011 by Japanese and US authorities reveal ground level radioactive cesium contamination beyond Japan's declared twelve (12) mile “no entry zone” higher than radiation levels that prompted the mandatory evacuation of populations from around the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. Radiation readings taken by helicopter and plane found levels of radioactive cesium137 (30 year half-life) registering between 3 million and 30 million Becquerel per square meter (Bq/m2). Following the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine, populations in Ukraine were ordered out of areas contaminated at 550,000 Bq/m2. Those areas are still officially declared to be an uninhabitable zone now more than twenty five years later.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Company submitted a request to the Japanese government for compensation from taxpayers to address the astronomical and still mounting cost of the nuclear accident and future decommissioning if the multi-unit reactor accident can yet be brought under control.

Tuesday
May102011

Is Fukushima Unit 3 spent fuel pool gone? Some experts think so

Video shows level of destruction of fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 3.

Tuesday
May102011

Is Fukushima Unit 4 about to collapse?