Safety rules loosened for nuke plants
Some experts worry about the safety of America's aging reactors
Agency staff, plant operators, and consultants give evidence of industrywide problems in little-known reports.
The AP reviewed 226 preliminary notifications — alerts on emerging safety problems — issued by the NRC since 2005. Wear and tear in the form of clogged lines, cracked parts, leaky seals, rust and other deterioration contributed to at least 26 alerts over the past six years. Other notifications lack detail, but aging was a probable factor in 113 additional alerts.
One 2008 NRC report blamed 70 percent of potentially serious safety problems on “degraded conditions.”
Confronted with worn parts that need maintenance, the industry has repeatedly requested — and regulators have allowed — inspections and repairs to be delayed for months until scheduled refueling outages.
Corroded piping that results in leaks is another concern. The country’s nuclear sites have suffered more than 400 accidental radioactive leaks
during their history, the activist Union of Concerned Scientists reported in September.
Plant operators have been drilling monitoring wells and patching buried piping for several years. Between 2000 and 2009, the annual number of leaks
from underground piping shot up fivefold
, according to an internal industry document the AP obtained.
[link to www.tennessean.com
- I really want to believe that Fukushima is a huge signal to these regulators to tighten this shit up...if not we'll be looking at major problems soon. That's if Calhoun and Cooper make it through the flooding intact and functioning correctly.