The NRC Commissioners today were briefed by the near-term task force that had been appointed to look at immediate lessons learned from the Japan nuclear emergency in March. Upfront, the task force told the Commissioners:
• A similar sequence of events in the U.S. is unlikely;
• Existing emergency measures could reduce the likelihood of core damage and release of radioactive materials; and
• There is no imminent risk from continued operation and licensing activities.
But the task force is recommending a variety of changes to NRC procedures, regulations and policies, including a review of the agency’s “defense-in-depth” philosophy, which refers to multiple layers of protection within and around a nuclear power facility. The task force specifically cited the need for a focus on preparing for natural disasters and long-term loss of all A/C electricity at a plant.
The task force also recommended strengthening emergency response capabilities.
The recommendations need Commission approval to move forward. Chairman Jaczko urged his fellow commissioners to review and act up on the report’s recommendations within the same 90-day time frame given the task force to generate the report.
The task force has scheduled a follow-up meeting on July 28th to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations with the public, the industry and other interested groups. More information will be available on that meeting here: http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm.
A video archive of today’s meeting is available here: http://video.nrc.gov// .
The slides from today’s meeting are here: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/tr/2011/ .
The entire task force report is available here: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1118/ML111861807.pdf.Eliot Brenner Public Affairs Director