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Top Managers to Lead Review Team

As promised, the NRC has put together a team to look at our regulations, programs and processes in light of the unfolding nuclear emergency in Japan. The team will produce a public report in about three months, which will include recommendations for ways to improve NRC’s regulatory system.

The task force is led by Dr. Charles Miller, the head of the NRC office that oversees radiological materials and environmental management. He is joined by Daniel Dorman, deputy director of the office that oversees nuclear material safety; Jack Grobe, deputy director of the office that oversee nuclear reactor regulation; and Gary Holahan, deputy director of the office overseeing new reactors. Nathan Sanfilippo, a technical assistant for the Executive Director for Operations, and Amy Cubbage, a team leader in new reactors, round out the team.

Together, they offer almost 150 years of experience at the NRC.

The team is tasked with conducting a “near-term” review while also identifying topics to be included in a longer-term review. The near term will look closely at U.S. nuclear reactors, including their spent fuel pools, station “blackout” scenarios, events that could lead to a long loss of cooling and emergency preparedness.

The task force expects to offer recommendations for Commission consideration on whether we should require immediate enhancements at U.S. reactors.

Important dates: On May 12 and June 16 the task force plans to brief the Commission in public meetings on the status of the review, and to offer final recommendations in a public Commission meeting on July 19. We’ll let you know more as we get closer to those dates.

The task force charter is available online. Just enter ML11089A045 under the “Simple Search” tab.

 Eliot Brenner

Public Affairs Director

2 responses to “Top Managers to Lead Review Team

  1. Aladár Stolmár April 6, 2011 at 7:31 am

    As I wrote in the comment to US NRC http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1033/ML103340250.pdf : „It is a much overdue duty of NRC and IAEA to evaluate the evidence provided by the TMI-2 accident, Chernobyl-4 accident, Paks-2 incident, and related experiments. Evaluating this evidence, one can see that the ignition of the zirconium fire in the steam occurs at a local temperature of the fuel cladding of around 1000-1200’C, [[and that a self-feeding with steam due to the precipitation of eroded fuel pellets and zirconia reaction product from the hydrogen stream into the water pool, causes intense evaporation.]]
    There are insignificant differences in the progression of the firestorms that occurred in the TMI-2 reactor severe accident, Paks washing vessel incident, and Chernobyl-4 reactor accident; the later defined only by the amount of zirconium available for the reaction. At the mean time, there are significant similarities in the processes leading to the ignition of the firestorm. In all three of the compared cases, it took several hours of ill-fated actions or in-actions of the operators to cause the ignition condition. Also, there are similarities in the end result of the firestorm; namely, that the extent of the fuel damage is much less than it was predicted from any other severe fuel damage causing scenarios, introduced for explanations. Therefore the fraction of released fission products is significantly less than was anticipated from the fuel melting or a so called “steam explosion” scenario. Also, the fiery steam-zirconium reaction results in a much higher than anticipated (from any other scenarios) rate of Hydrogen production, which in turn requires a review of containment designs.”

    I hope the gentlemen will recognize the same process in the Fukushima Daiichi 1-3 reactors as the leading, key process. I hope we will have a thorough investigation of the fiery steam-zirconium reaction and there will be issued a call for shutting down the 11 still operating Chernobyl type (RBMK) reactors in Russia.

  2. duxx April 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    SBO is very important. It should not be the exclusive focus. IMHO the emphasis should be on Common Mode failure,which I believe to be the most worrisome aspect of the Fukushima troubles. Will there be a review of SAR spent fuel common assumptions?

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