U.S. NRC Blog

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An Open Forum Now Available

The NRC welcomes comments on the topics we’re blogging about. But we realize there are other topics you might want to talk about. This post serves as the Open Forum section of the NRC Blog. You may post comments here on any topic relevant to the role and mission of the NRC. Comments here are still moderated and must adhere to the Comment Guidelines. If we determine a comment on another post is more appropriate here, we’ll move it over. This post will stay open for comments and not be subject to the 30-day comment period of other posts. You can always find this post by clicking on the Open Forum category on the side bar.

Holly Harrington
NRC Blog Moderator

226 responses to “An Open Forum Now Available

  1. Public Pit Bull June 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    NRC-identified Violations Just Aren’t a Big Deal Anymore

    As one would expect, the NRC is very good at citing self-revealing findings that nuclear power plants identify and report to them. Unfortunately, those are, for the most part, the only ones the NRC “finds”.

    When the NRC does find a problem on its own, it is now typically
    “swept under the rug”.

    In the old days anything the NRC found amiss by their inspection
    efforts was a big deal. Please keep in mind that when an NRC
    inspector identifies a problem it means that the plant licensee
    has failed to find it first. That means that many nuclear plant
    personnel have failed to identify it. Among those personnel are the
    workers themselves, their supervisors and managers, and safety
    groups such as QC, QA, and various independent safety review

    Instead of treating all these violations seriously, the NRC now assigns
    a safety-significance color code to them and “trends” them. Almost
    all color-coded violations are “Green”, the least significant from a
    safety standpoint. Green to a licensee means “Go”, I am doing just
    fine. Is it any wonder then, that when a plant has a very
    serious incident and the NRC finally pays attention, many more
    problems are discovered.

    The regulatory system is flawed and as a result NRC-identified
    problems are really no big deal anymore.

  2. Public Pit Bull June 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    The Evacuation Process Itself Kills People

    The owner of the Indian Point nuclear plants and the NRC claim that over 300,000 people within 10 miles of the plants can be safely evacuated in the event of serious accident at IP 1 &/or 2. (By the way over 21 million people live within 50 miles of these plants.)
    However there is no such thing as a safe evacuation.

    A survey in Japan has found that “more people have now died because of the Fukushima evacuation process than were killed in the region by the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami which caused the displacement.” Some 300,000 people evacuated their homes. The deaths relating to this displacement-around 1,600-have surpassed the number killed in the region in the original disaster.
    The causes of death have included fatigue due to conditions in evacuation centers, exhaustion from relocating, and illness from hospital closures. The survey also said a number of suicides had been attributed to the ordeal. A Red Cross representative said the conditions faced by those displaced is made worse by them not knowing when they can return. A lot of the people suffering are the older generation and they need a lot of support to make it through with as little ill effect as possible.

    Although a number of senior NRC people have visited Japan (at taxpayer expense) to see the damage first hand, they never have mentioned this horrible aspect of accident there.

    If an accident occurs at IP, evacuation should be considered as a last resort. It will, however, be difficult for those in harm’s way to be content with in-house shelter instead of evacuation.

    Also it is a travesty that the owner of IP would be asking for a license extension on these plants and that the NRC would even be seriously considering such a request. In addition to these plants being in the backyard of NYC, they have an atrocious track record. Radioactive tritium is currently leaking from the plants. The IP units are the most susceptible to earthquake damage of any nuclear plant in the US. IP is number one on any terrorist hit list since such an act would make 9/11 pale in significance.
    Time for the NRC to really put public safety first.

  3. Moderator May 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    > Public Pit Bull Off-Base
    > I have failed miserably in really getting the big picture. I have really been trying to put the bite on the NRC because I think I know something about nuclear power. If I really had the interests of the public at large in mind I would have recognized that the NRC has done far more to address the threat of terrorism than our government itself or any other of its federal agencies. Consider this excerpt from a 2006 US Department of State document on a National Strategy for Combating Terrorism? It says, ” Defend potential targets of attack. Our enemies are opportunistic, exploiting vulnerabilities and seeking alternatives to those targets with increased security measures. The targeting trend since at least September 11 has been away from hardened sites with formidable security (like nuclear power plants) and toward sites which are not always well secured. Specific targets vary, but they tend to be symbolic and are often selected because they will produce mass casualties, economic damage, or both.
    > Among our most important defensive efforts is the protection of critical infrastructures and key resources – sectors such as dams, energy, food and agriculture, water, telecommunications, public health, etc. These are systems and assets are so vital that their destruction or incapacitation would have a debilitating effect on the security of our Nation.”
    > The NRC has participated as they have noted on the Interagency Committee on Dam Safety. Other members include the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security (which I believe has the lead), FEMA, the Bureau of Land Management, and FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). The NRC has set the example for everyone else when it comes to protecting our vital infrastructure from terrorist attack. The NRC however cannot force other government agencies to take terrorism as seriously as they do. The NRC can make recommendations, which I am sure they have, but to make other agencies or our government’s administration do the right thing, well, that would be like trying to push on a rope!
    > Furthermore, the NRC has taken action to protect downstream nuclear plants from a major upstream dam failure. It would terribly ironic if our nuke plants survived while mass civilian casualties and property damage occur because these same dams are virtually unprotected.
    > Consider this…
    > If one of the earthen dams on the Missouri River were to fail under the pressure of heavy spring rains and the melting snowpack, (let alone from terrorist attack), it would cause a domino effect resulting in failure of the downstream earthen dams causing them to be overrun and cave under pressure.
    > “There would be a flood like you’ve never seen,” said a Corps spokesman. He warned of the possibility of “chest-high” flooding in cities that would be the most epic man-made disaster in the history of the United States.”

    > It is high time these vital parts of our infrastructure are properly maintained and protected.

    Posted by the Moderator on behalf of Rich

  4. pete lombardozzi May 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I need some exemption or licensing information on old dentistry equipment. Ritter Dental Company Tri Dent Model C. The spitoon and attached sinl are radioactive (matrixed in the material or glazing). i need any information validating the fact that these were manufatured rthis way ,bearing Uranium of Thorium in the manufacturing of this product.

  5. Garry Morgan May 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    The NRC seems to be moving to protect the negligent actions of corporations and government regulatory failures, not national security. We are seeing this problem unfold before our eyes as to unnecessary secrecy pertaining to the amount of highly radioactive spent fuel contained in defective fuel pools, particularly in the GE Mark 1 reactors. Now the unnecessary secrecy extends to decaying, defective dams.

    Rich, you ask: “How in the hell can we get this cat back in the bag?” I think, citizens have a responsibility to be educated. Educated citizens are supposed to elect public officials who are not self serving and who support the people, not multi-national corporations. Until the people of our great nation realize that it is us, the individual citizen, who are the owners of our Constitution and not the corporation, nothing will change and our nation will continue to slide into that which protects corporate interests before the health and welfare of the citizen.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Well said!

    • Public Pitt Bull May 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Garry you have inspired me! I was growing tired of knocking my head against a regulatory stone wall. The NRC is one of the best federal agencies I know at regulatory stonewalling. Stonewall Jackson would have been mighty proud of them! Trouble is that like Stonewall you run the risk of being accidentally “shot” by one of your own men. It is hard for any agency with thousands of conscientious professionals to abide inappropriate behavior for long on the part of their leadership. Foot dragging and stonewalling are characteristics of a very troubled organization. The NRC needs to be more like the EPA and not be beholden to and in the pocket of those they regulate. I have changed my blog name so I can help re-kindle a passion for trying to in some small way improve public safety by insisting on accountability in our government and it’s agencies. Thanks for your blog and keep up the good work!

  6. Rich May 2, 2014 at 6:08 am

    It’s a Dam Shame
    More on that declassified internal NRC memo on potential dam failures that can be found at Accession Number ML101900305.pdf in the NRC Adams System.
    There are established procedures for classifying and in turn, in rare cases, declassifying information. I am quite sure the NRC has a policy or procedure that provides guidance in this area.
    First of all a little on classifying information. It is good to put a seal on information that may aid and abet an enemy. However caution must be exercised as cloaking an issue in secrecy may result in an issue not getting the attention it really deserves. There are fewer folks asking the tough questions. Like when will this get resolved; is there anything that should be done in the way of compensatory measures or any interim action that should be taken; and is this resolution timely considering its potential impact on safety or security.
    Then there is the rare instance when something is declassified. We continue to hear about stuff that’s become automatically declassified after decades. Declassification is a serious matter and needs to be handled carefully. First and foremost all parties that could be impacted by such declassification must be consulted. Not just to concur but also to take measures they see fit in advance of such disclosure.
    I hope the NRC has documentation that demonstrates that all affected parties were contacted before this “damming” info was released. I am afraid the NRC unilaterally classified and then declassified this info without reaching out to those that could be impacted. I am thinking in particular of the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and the Department of Homeland Security.
    It is a “dam” shame the way the NRC has handled this entire matter. Enough said in a serious vein.

    Now I would like to do a little tongue in cheek.
    First of all the NRC’s new policy on declassification will be after 100 years and then only with the permission of the President and the Pope.
    Now, pretend that you are an NRC official that just learned of this declassified memo.
    What might they say or think?
    “Who in the hell declassified this memo?
    Who knew about this?
    Why wasn’t I consulted?
    What a stupid thing to do!
    How in the hell can we get this cat back in the bag?
    I know our superiors stress regulatory transparency but we all know that is just talk. They deal in a fantasy world while we have to function where the rubber meets the road! Now everyone will be on our case. I just do not need this crap!”

    I will not conclude with meaningless cliches like the only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead! Or with, be sure your sin will find you out.
    I will conclude by saying that the NRC has breached the public trust on this matter. That will be hard to restore.

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